Due to the multifaceted nature of her position as Head of Lower School, you’d think that Allie Arendas would be tough to track down. At any given moment she might be supporting faculty in their classrooms, planning a school-wide event, welcoming a new family to campus, playing recess games with first-graders, covering a lunch table, or guiding students through conflict-resolution techniques. But—as busy as she may be—Allie exudes approachability, and our students and teachers have no trouble finding her. Her office is welcoming—bright and colorful, and adorned with inspiring quotes and fresh cut flowers from her garden. It’s the kind of space that invites pop-ins and open dialogue.
At Valley School, Allie is a go-to mentor for students and teachers alike, but her passion for leadership extends into the local community as well. For the last 12 years, she has taught in the Graduate School of Education at her alma mater, Saint Vincent College. Leadership and the professional development of teachers have been her focus, and her favorite course is a practicum in which students seeking their PK-12 Instructional Technologist Certification have the opportunity to experience technology administration and leadership. Through observation and mentorships in various educational settings, students create portfolios that demonstrate that they have mastered the competencies set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Allie enjoys supporting Valley School teachers in their development, too. She’s a lifelong learner, and is grateful to have colleagues who strive to stay abreast of pedagogical best practices. She has full confidence in our Valley School teachers’ intuition and expertise. She empowers faculty by giving them autonomy in their classrooms, and she assists however she can when approached with ideas for progressive teaching strategies. For Allie, watching talented colleagues at work is an opportunity to continue learning and realize the everlasting gift of education that she fosters at Valley School.