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Selma native Krystal Allen receives prestigious award

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Krystal Hardy Allen, a Selma native, is the first African-American woman to receive the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards from the board of directors and foundation of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science.

The award is to honor the hard work and achievements of alumni in various fields throughout the nation, and Allen was one of four recipients this year.

“I really respect my peers and the institution itself, so to be recognized by both in that way, for me, stood as an example of what’s possible,” she said.

Allen received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, her master’s degree in education in K-12 supervision and administration from National Louis University and is currently completing her doctorate’s degree in urban educational leadership at Columbia University.

Aside from excelling in the classroom, Allen is also the founder and CEO of K. Allen Consulting.

She has always had a passion for educating the youth.

As a former elementary school teacher, assistant principal, elementary and middle school principal, Allen values pouring knowledge into the youth.

A former student of Tipton Middle School, Allen gathered a group of Tipton students and brought them to the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science to tour the campus and sit in on her award ceremony in hopes of inspiring them.

The students also got a chance to perform a chemistry experiment and sit in on a mock class.

“I immediately thought of using it as an opportunity and a platform to really pull in additional youth from Selma, so they can see that moment and really see themselves in me,” Allen said.

Tipton Middle School eighth grader Chelsea Mixon said the trip was an eye opener for her and something she needed.

“I really want to go to this school, and I believe I can do it. I needed to come on this trip, and I’m so glad to be from Selma and see Selmians do great things here too,” Mixon said.

Not only did Allen bring Tipton students along to celebrate her achievements, but she also brought four of her former teachers.

Allen credits a lot of her accomplishments to her former teachers who have been a constant support of hers.

Before she spoke, Allen acknowledged those teachers by thanking them and asking them to stand and be recognized by the audience.

Allen’s former teacher Wanda Tyler said she was excited to witness her former student receive the award and was also excited to share it with the youth.

“Children need to always dream big, work hard and give back. Our kids got a once in a lifetime experience today. I feel blessed to be here and be honored, and am so proud to see one of my former students grow up and constantly prioritize our children the way she does,” Tyler said.