Campus Connections: Kris Allen

Many new staff members are on campus for the 2023-24 school year, and in Campus Connections, Wingspan introduces you to the newest Redhawks.
Campus Connections takes a look at some of the newest staff members on campus.
Campus Connections takes a look at some of the newest staff members on campus.
Maddie Owens

The theater department is under new leadership this year and leading the way is theater teacher Kris Allen. Knowing he has always wanted to pursue a career in fine arts, he graduated from Texas Tech University and has been participating in and teaching theater ever since. He has worked for 20 years in several schools, most recently at Denison High School and Frisco High School. This year he has begun to work with students on our campus, and aims to support and encourage those who participate in his classes. Wingspan sat down to find out more about Allen and his thoughts starting this school year. 

 Wingspan: How did you figure out you wanted to pursue a career in teaching theater?

Allen: “I actually started acting when I was in middle school, and since then I have never wanted to do anything else!”

Wingspan: What led you to teach theater?

Allen: “I went into it right after college. My parents were teachers, so it’s kind of like a family business.”

New to The Nest this school year is theater teacher Kris Allen. Wingspan sat down to find out more about Allen and his thoughts starting this school year. (Sanvi Subbaraj )

Wingspan: Are there noticeable differences between the previous high schools you have taught, and this campus? What are they?

Allen: “Yeah, for sure. Some differences are socio-economic, and some arise from the fact that Denison is a small town with one high school, while Frisco is a big town with around 12. That definitely makes a difference in how things work.”

Wingspan: What’s your favorite part about being a theater teacher on campus?

Allen: “I like the students! They are amazing. They’ve been very welcoming and everybody in class works hard every day, so I’ve been having a great time with them.”

Wingspan: What’s your least favorite part about being a theater teacher?

Allen: “Well, we spend long hours. There’s honestly nothing else I have issue with! I mean, sometimes a student has a bad day and there can be an issue, but that’s part of the job. For the most part, you don’t do something for 20 years if you don’t like it.”

Wingspan: How do you prevent challenges in your classroom?

Allen: “I try to use humor to keep things light. We also do a lot of swift changes rather than focusing on one activity the whole period, and keep people up and moving. I don’t have many challenges because theater is very fun, and people want to be in the class. It’s not like you’re sitting in a math class.”

Wingspan: Throughout your career, have you had a particular moment that’s been significant to you?

Allen: ”Oh, I have had many. What I always enjoy is the moment when a student surprises themselves, in that, they didn’t know they could do what they were doing that well. For example, I’ve had a lot of instances, often in class, where students are performing a scene or monologue and they freak themselves out, because they didn’t know they could do it that well.”

Wingspan: If you had to teach another subject, what would you choose and why?

Allen:”I would not be a teacher at all because, number one, there’s no other subject that intrigues me this much. Secondly, I taught freshman English my first two years of teaching, and I was so bad at it! After that I swore to myself to never teach anything else but theater.”

Wingspan: What activities and hobbies do you participate in outside of school?

Allen:”Theater, for sure. I also direct and act out of high school. My wife also does theater. It’s my job and my hobby!”

Wingspan: If your students were asked to describe you, what do you think they would say?

Allen: “I have no idea! They probably just think that I’m weird at this point. I’ve just been told that I’m loved and so cool, which is so great.”

Wingspan: What type of person were you in high school?

Allen: “Oh my, I was bullied. I was this nerdy, kind of awkward kid who was sheltered by his parents so I knew nothing about life or anything. Kids made fun of me a lot and I had to fight my way through high school just to not get bullied all the time. When I work in high school now, I actively try to provide my students with a bully-free experience.”

Wingspan: If Theater was your favorite subject in high school , what was your least favorite subject?

Allen: “Definitely math. I’m terrible at math. I never took any statistics-type classes because I knew I would be bad at it. Basic geometry was awful for me, I absolutely hated it.”

If you were stranded and forced to live with only two things, what would you choose?

Allen: “I would love to have an undying phone so I could listen to music, and something to create fire with.”

Wingspan: What are you planning on accomplishing this year?

Allen: :”Well, we are trying to establish a new way of doing things here, and we have added several shows to the seasons so that more people can be involved in things. Mostly what we are trying to do is create a safe place where people can come and be involved without worrying about whether or not they’re gonna be ridiculed or made fun of. The goal is that students have a place where they can do work and be proud of themselves, while other people are also proud of them.”

What advice would you give to students this year?

Allen: “The thing I keep saying over and over again to my students is to always strive for perfection, and settle for excellence.”

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