From student to principal
New Patrick Henry Elementary School Principal Allison Peltz helps Brandon, a PHES student, add numbers with blocks. Peltz attended PHES as a student 40 years ago.

HEIDELBERG, Germany - Life has a curious way of bringing back fond memories, and for the new Patrick Henry Elementary School principal, they are from her childhood.

Allison Peltz may be new to her job as principal, but her face has graced the halls of PHES before - when she was a student 40 years ago.

After hearing she would lead a school she once attended, Peltz said she was excited, since she "has great memories of being here as a child."

Previously assistant-principal in Okinawa, Japan, Peltz believes she can create strong connections with parents and students in her new community.

"As someone who was an Army brat, who has relatives who have children in
(the Department of Defense Education Activity), and having been a teacher," the principal hopes to meet this goal.

"I also have a strong background in staff development and school improvement, so that's a real plus for me."

Peltz is sure to earn a 100 percent when it comes to understanding the obstacles military children often face, especially in today's Army with constant deployments.

"My dad went to Vietnam, so I know what it's like to have a deployed parent," she said.

From what her new staff has seen so far, Peltz deserves a gold star when interacting with students. According to PHES teacher Karen Van Balen, 2007 DoDEA Teacher of the Year, Peltz is "very nice and supportive."

The principal is known for entering classrooms and "talking and getting involved with the kids," Van Balen added.

By working within the classroom-setting, Peltz sees what teaching methods are most successful.
She can be seen throughout the school helping students add numbers with blocks and even dancing to the "Bean Bag" song, revealing her ability to have fun while maintaining a firm hand.

Since "the world has gotten so much smaller due to instant communication, we have to give our kids the ability to work with others, to research, and become aware of what is going on in the world," Peltz said.

She is certain the PHES staff provides these skills required by the modern world.

PHES "is a great school with very dedicated teachers who help children meet their educational and social needs," the new principal said of her staff. "They are top notch."

Much of what makes Peltz herself was cultivated while attending PHES from fourth to sixth grade.

"One of the best teachers I had taught at this school, Myrtle Porter," Peltz remembered. "She gave me a love for reading, which I feel led to my interest in education. To this day, I would rather read a book than watch television."

It is no wonder why Peltz was eager to return to Heidelberg. Her greatest memories from 40 years back are "the lighting of the castle and going to see the Student Prince," the city's famous play.

Heidelberg has drawn Peltz into its heart as before. Although, she said, "the school is much bigger" and her building stairwell is painted a different color, the principal still feels a bond with her old home.

"It's good to be back," she said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16