Grayling educator ready to take on new challenges as GHS assistant principal
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A Grayling educator is taking a step up on the career ladder when the 2019-2020 school year gets underway.
Sarah Allen will serve as the assistant principal at the Grayling High School. She replaces Jeff Branch, a long time school administrator, who retired from his position with the school district. He served as the assistant principal at the high school for one year.
Allen graduated from Hale High School, which is located in Iosco County, in 2002. She attended Central Michigan University for a bachelor’s of science degree in secondary education with a major in mathematics and minor in physical education.
Allen married her husband, Caleb, who is also from Hale, in June of 2006.
Allen graduated from Central Michigan University in the spring of 2007, when not many teaching jobs were available. The couple decided to leave Michigan in order for Sarah to gain some teaching experience. They ended up moving to Federal Way, Washington, where Sarah landed a job as a math teacher at Decatur High School.
“I taught there for one year and loved it,” she said. “However, my husband was ready to come back to Michigan and be closer to family.”
Allen interviewed for several jobs around Michigan and was offered the job at Grayling High School in August of 2008.
Sarah and Caleb, who is an employee at Camp Grayling, have two children, Corbin and Kendra. Corbin, age 12, is going into seventh grade, is very active in sports and enjoys the outdoors. Kendra, age 10, is going into fifth grade and enjoys time with her friends, sports, and dance. She is excited to be heading into the middle school this year.
Allen and her family moved to Grayling in January of 2009, after she had been driving back and forth from Hale for the first half of that school year.
“My family and I love northern Michigan and the outdoors, so this was the perfect place for us to call home,” she said.
Allen went back Central Michigan University in 2011 to obtain a master’s of arts in educational technology.
After eight years of teaching math at Grayling High School, Allen had the opportunity to teach math for half the day and be the at-risk coordinator the other half of the day.
“I was nervous about leaving the classroom because I never wanted to leave the classroom. I always wanted to be a teacher and stay a teacher,” she said. “However, after doing my at-risk job for just a little bit I could see that it was the right decision. I was able to work with students and help them differently than I was able to as a classroom teacher.”
Then, in April of 2018, Allen decided to get her administrative certificate through the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
Prior to working as an at-risk coordinator, Allen did not have aspirations to take on the role as a school administrator.
“I wanted to stay in the classroom helping kids learn math. Math does not come easy for some kids and I always wanted to help make it easier,” she said. “The more I helped in the office, the more I realized I could help students with all aspects of school and not just math. My goal is to make a bigger impact on more students.”
Allen said the biggest attributes she brings to her position as assistant principal are her life experiences, the relationships she has formed with students, and how involved she has always been with the school and the community.
“I have experienced some things in my life that most administrators have not. I lost my mom when I was young, was in foster care, moved to a new state for one year and back and was then adopted,” she said. “These experiences will allow me to relate to students on a different level.”
Allen, who signed her contract in March, is looking forward to taking on her new position at the high school.
“I am very excited to start this new chapter of my educational career as assistant principal,” she said. “I have been helping with different aspects of this position for a few years now and I am excited to devote my time to this position and work with more kids in a different capacity.”
Allen attends a lot of sporting events, and has been a class advisor several times and plans to do it again in the future. Sarah and Caleb are volunteer coaches for the Grayling Little League, and she is on the Grayling Youth Booster Club board.