September 2016 - Becky Allen

Life Changer September 2016 - Becky Allen


In her 25th year with Hopkins Public Schools, District staff development coordinator and peer coach Becky Allen has spent her career dedicated to lifting up both students and staff. Learning alongside her parents — who were also teachers — Allen assumed the role of mentor early in life. Teaching, she says, is in her blood. And creating an environment where both teachers and students are supported is what she strives for.

“Becky not only pushes and challenges us to continue growing professionally, but she also models what it means to be a life-long learner,” said Natalie Sawatzky, assistant principal at Meadowbrook Elementary. “After a conversation with Becky, I often find myself reading a new book, using a new protocol in my work, or looking at an issue with a new lens.”

Her nurturing manner in the classroom and innovative ideas for staff development have made Allen an important asset in Hopkins. In her position as coordinator of staff development, she works diligently to bring opportunities to educators that will “deepen their skills and knowledge leading to increased student learning,” she said. Because of her efforts, Hopkins teachers are introducing more robust lesson plans, engaging with students on a deeper level, and learning how to educate today’s learners.

“Becky recognizes that while we are fortunate to have a wide range of high quality programs and initiatives in our District, teachers also need time and opportunities to thoughtfully knit these experiences together,” said Carleen Matts, secondary peer coach and Hopkins educator. “She is also keenly aware of the talent of our staff and seeks to develop strong teachers into a network of strong teacher leaders.”

Background: Becky Allen started her career with Hopkins in 1992, as an eighth-grade Earth science teacher at North Junior High, and became a mentor to many throughout her career.

What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? I love being around people who like to learn. Having observed over 300 different teachers throughout the years, I feel really qualified to state that Hopkins has an exceptional group of teachers, administrators, and support staff working with students, families, and community members. You know why they are so good? It’s because the staff in Hopkins is continually learning, innovating, and supporting one another.

Proudest moment? Our professional development programming has grown significantly, and it’s because I am surrounded by great people. I have made an effort to broaden our professional learning opportunities and seek out and support the teacher leaders in our schools. Nurturing our own talent blends history with innovation.

Teaching philosophy? The learning is in the conversation.

Stats:  • B.S. in Earth science education and a math minor, Winona State University; M.A. in curriculum and instruction, St. Thomas University; Administrative license, University of Minnesota; Staff development certificate, University of Minnesota