Coach to transfer to Walnut Grove, reflects on time at PHS

Emily Allen looks forward to creating positive culture at new high school


Mithra Cama

Examining optical illusions on the screen, cheer coach and teacher Emily Allen teaches an AP Psychology class. In the article, Allen reflects on her time at PHS and her goals for her new job at Walnut Grove. “I haven’t been sad about her (Emily Allen) leaving until just now,” yearbook adviser Lyndsey Hamlin said. “I know she is going to be just as amazing at Walnut Grove as she is here and they are so lucky to have her. She has had so much success in the classroom and will continue to do so whoever she is. She has the kindest heart and only wants the best for her students and co-workers.”

“Bleeding green” Prosper High School teacher and coach Emily Allen announced her official transfer to Walnut Grove High School for the 2023-2024 school year Feb. 17.

Allen teaches AP Psychology, coaches JV cheer and holds the position of social studies department chair. Allen also sponsors the Psi Alpha Honor Society, the psychology honors society, and Our Minds Matter, a mental health awareness club. Allen will continue to hold the same positions at Walnut Grove.

“It was a really hard decision,” Allen said. “I love Prosper, and everyone was laughing and saying that I ‘bleed green’ and they couldn’t believe it. But I’ve never opened a school and I’ve been here for so long.”

Allen has been at PHS for 13 years. Destine Grobe currently holds the position of head cheer coach of Walnut Grove.

“The head cheer coach (at Walnut Grove) has been coaching at Rogers Middle School for cheer,” Allen said. “Her and I have very similar philosophies about cheering. So when she reached out to me, I was excited about her vision of the cheer program over there – and being able to start it from the ground up was something that I was really excited to do.”

Daughter of Destine Grobe and member of the cheer team, senior Madyson Grobe, said she looks forward to Allen’s arrival at Walnut Grove.

“I hope that she can take part in the traditions and environment that she has helped to establish here for PHS cheer and apply parts of it to the new beginnings at Walnut Grove,” Grobe said. “I am personally so excited for her to be over there alongside my mom, and to see the amazing atmosphere that they are able to create for all the talented people who will be over there next year.”

Previously, Dustin Toth was an assistant principal at PHS, and then became the head principal at Rockhill high school.

“I met with Mr. Toth,” Allen said. “He’s going to be the principal at Walnut Grove. And he’s also made me excited about opening the school and kind of building the culture from the beginning, so I’m looking forward to that.”

I’ll miss a lot of things. But the main thing being that she listened (to us.) You could talk to her about anything, even if it was a hard topic. She supported you through everything and gave the best advice.

— Lexi Robertson, junior

PISD named Toth head principal of Walnut Grove on Oct. 21.

“I want the culture to be positive,” Allen said. “One of the things about the cheer program that I really want is for the students to be more than just performance or sideline cheerleaders, and become more like ambassadors for the school in the representation of the culture that they’re trying to build over there.  The teachers that are coming over from different schools and the new teachers are all working together to set that culture for the kids, the future and creating those legacies.”

Other teachers from Rock Hill and teachers from PHS will transfer to Walnut Grove – including biology teacher Alysha Jaballa and Humanities and APUSH teacher Jeffrey Kear.

Walnut Grove cheer and mascot tryouts will be held on March 2.

“What I’ve learned is even though these teenagers are really independent, they still need love, they still need acceptance and they still don’t have it all figured out,” Allen said. “Coming in to teach at high school, you forget sometimes because like, oh, they can do everything for themselves. They’re not these really needy (…) elementary kids, but I feel like they also need a lot more than some teachers realize.”

Allen serves as a mentor to both her students and cheerleaders.

“I think that just (through) being around the students, I’ve been able to grow in this community,” Allen said. “I’ve just learned a lot about life through the kids (and) seeing things from a different perspective.”

Allen strives to build a community with her students and co-workers at Walnut Grove.

“She is everyone’s ‘school mom’ and has been the backbone of Prosper’s cheer program for years,” senior Ava Anderson said. “And while I am so sad to see her leave PHS, I know she will do great things at Walnut Grove. She will bring her love and kindness with her to the new school. She is the best person I know to help build that culture into the new school community and cheer program.”

Allen grew close to her co-workers over her time at PHS, and will leave several close relationships behind.

“She has been my best friend for 13 years, and it will be hard to have her at another school,” yearbook adviser Lyndsey Hamlin said. “We taught English together, coached cheer together, and (have) been department heads together.”

New cheer specialist Britnee Senner may take up both assistant and head coach responsibilities. Current AP Psychology Micah Webb may take up coach Allen’s AP Psychology classes.

“She was the first person I told when I was pregnant – she has been ‘my person’ during our years at PHS,” Hamlin said. “I will miss chatting with her before school and our talks in the hallway before class. My challenge to anyone would be to find a friend like Emily. If you are lucky enough to do so, you’re set for the rest of your life.”

Allen said she still hopes to keep her relationships with PHS staff and students by visiting and attending sports games.

Coach Allen is gonna be greatly missed. She’s not only been my neighbor and teammate for the past six years but a good friend as well.

— David Perkins, psychology teacher

“I think I’ll always be an Eagle at heart,” Allen said. “I feel like this place built me and grew me into the educator that I am. I’m definitely not the same person that I was when I walked through the doors 13 years ago. I’ve grown tremendously as an educator and as a coach. Young coach me would have done things totally differently – same thing with being a teacher. So I feel very blessed and lucky that I’ve been able to have my teaching experience be here.”

Although Allen said she is ‘sad’ to end a chapter, she sees Walnut Grove as a new opportunity to continue her Prosper pride.

“When I go there it’s almost like an extension, instead of moving away,” Allen said. “I’m taking what I’ve learned here, and I’m bringing it somewhere else and helping the community stay the same. We’re keeping that same Prosper values and vision.”