This Former Park Ranger Has Sung Competitively in Four Languages

Meet Your Principal: Carlye Allen

A young Carlye Allen (center) in a fourth grade school musical

School: Wealthy Elementary

What and where was your previous job? Special education teacher at Wealthy Elementary

Degrees: Bachelor’s degree in special education from Michigan State University, master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Valley State University

Other positions you have held in education (title, school, district, state): I’ve taught in every building in EGR! This is the only district in which I’ve worked, as I was hired directly out of college.

How about jobs outside education (even the unexpected is welcome!)? My favorite job as a young adult was working as a park ranger for four summers at PJ Hoffmaster State Park. I trimmed the branches on trails, cleaned bathrooms and patrolled the campground and beaches.

Carlye Allen
Carlye Allen

Besides getting to know the staff and families, what are you most looking forward to as principal here? The best part about being a principal is that, in many ways, I get to be a kid again.  I am looking forward to taking part in carnivals, movie nights and spirit weeks with the students. I love that I have a job where I can have fun and use my imagination daily.

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school (your personality, interests, hobbies, activities)? As an elementary student, I spent a lot of my spare time reading books. My favorite genres were science fiction and biographies. I was also highly involved in the arts, including ballet, tap and jazz lessons, as well as leading roles in our elementary school musicals.

Spouse/children: Husband Brett, son Easton, 3, and daughter Josalynn, 9 months

Hobbies/Interests: I continue to be an avid reader and especially love the Harry Potter series, which I’ve read four times. My family and I spend a lot of time outdoors and like to go boating up north. We also have a creek in our backyard where we go on expeditions searching for frogs and crayfish.

What inspires you, both in your educational role and in your own life? Children, both my own and my students. My highest purpose is to educate and inspire a generation of kind and thoughtful children, so that they may leave the world a better place than when they found it. Their eagerness for learning is the greatest inspiration out there!

What makes you laugh (we bet you’ll say kids – what else?) I think it is impossible to read Roald Dahl or Shel Silverstein without laughing out loud. A good book never ceases to put a smile on my face!

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I think people would be most surprised to learn about my musical background.  I’ve sung competitively in four different languages: English, Latin, German and Italian.

Tell us about a non-professional book you recommend and why: How can I choose just one! Currently, my favorite picture book to read with my own children is “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.” It’s a great story about friendship and kindness. A few of my favorite authors are Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry and J.K. Rowling.

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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