Focus: Mentoring & Education Programs and Infrastructure. Countries: Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and the U.S.
Born and raised in Studewood, Texas, James is a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s in Music and a Masters in Education. While at the University of Houston, James began singing with the Houston Grand Opera and has since sung with the Houston Ebony Opera Guild and Opera in the Heights. He is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Mu Alpha, and a life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Mr. Allen served over 40 years as an educator and campus administrator in the El Campo, Houston Independent, North Forest Independent, and Holmes County School Districts. While with each district, he empowered students to maximize their potential while creating significance. His vision was to create an educational environment that compelled every student to become leaders, not simply followers, to search within themselves and find their unique contributions. On his campuses, students were engaged in higher-level thinking activities as he inspired critical and diverse thinking.
Since 2001, Mr. Allen has served as Executive Director of the Knowledge-First Empowerment Academy. Through his vision, Knowledge-First has created an educational environment of learning aimed at motivating students to do more than acquire knowledge. “At Knowledge- First, we believe education should not only address the intellectual capacities but should be a matter of attaining proficiencies that lead to lifelong resiliency.” We believe, as did Plato, that education’s purpose and ultimate value is not to stick thoughts into the pupils’ heads, but to inspire them to think for themselves.
Through his efforts, Mr. Allen transformed Knowledge-First into an accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit private K-12 Academy. One of his distinguished accomplishments was to create a High School Diploma/Dropout Prevention Program that awards students who have experienced personal hardships causing them to drop out of school, a second opportunity to return to school and obtain their high school diploma. This unique paradigm has received grants, donations, and significant funding that has been influential in assisting students (Ages 17-25) in obtaining their High School Diploma and create a better lifestyle for themselves and their families.
In his own words, “I believe and am committed to the belief that mankind is an interdependent being, and as such, we will only realize our fullest potential when the sharing of ourselves with others, is the primary function of our everyday activities. I have dedicated my life to realizing this philosophy through the process of educational acquisition.” Mr. Allen is married and the father of three children.