Allen to pursue doctorate in English history
Canyon Crest Academy Assistant Principal Elloise Allen, 33, is leaving after six years in the San Dieguito Union High School District to continue her education.
Allen will depart in June to live in the Netherlands and pursue her Ph.D. in English history and how it compares to Dutch history in the 15th century.
"Europe is in many ways a place I feel very much at home, I feel like I belong there," Allen said. "I have always wanted to live there."
Allen said that she would miss "everything" about being at Canyon Crest Academy.
"The district (staff members) have been incredible in helping me figure out who I am as an educator. And they're my friends," Allen said.
She will also miss the students, whom she said always make her laugh and teach her something new every day.
Canyon Crest Principal Brian Köhn says Allen is "one of those superstars," a woman who became an assistant principal at age 27. Köhn — in one of those small world coincidences — was Allen's music teacher some 15 years ago at Coronado High School.
"I can't say enough nice things about Elloise. She knows the education profession in an incredibly detailed and thorough way," Köhn said. "That, combined with her people skills, make her a phenomenal administrator.
"From the perspective of the school, we're sad to see her go," Köhn said. "But as an individual, she needs to keep going, she has a lot of offer. It's time for her to move on and do great things, which I know she will."
Though young, Allen has crammed a lot of living into her 33 years.
She was born in South Africa, her family dating back to the early settlers of the country — she's even related to the country's fifth president, Paul Kruger.
Her native language is Afrikaans and she is also fluent in Dutch.
With the crumbling of apartheid in the early 1990s, her mother and stepfather weren't sure what the future would hold for the country so they moved to Coronado when Allen was 13.
Allen went on to the University of San Diego where she earned her degree in British women's history in the Middle Ages — "really highly marketable," she quipped — as well as her master's degree in teaching.
Allen went back to Coronado to begin her career as an English teacher, working under then-principal Rick Schmitt, now the San Dieguito Union High School District associate superintendent of educational services.
Allen took time off from teaching to spend a year in London, earning another master's degree in art history.
She taught history at San Diego Jewish Academy's old La Jolla campus before coming to Torrey Pines High School, where she taught history and became assistant principal. She joined the staff at Canyon Crest Academy in 2008.
While in Europe, Allen also hopes to finish her first novel. Tentatively titled "My Father's Husband," it is a fictionalized account of reconnecting with her stepfather, who, after divorcing her mother, came out as a gay man.
She is looking forward to having the time to finish writing the book.
"The hours you have [as an assistant principal] are intense, you have to really give yourself to this job," Allen said.
But Allen hasn't minded those long hours.
"The best part of this job is seeing how you can help people," Allen said.