Webster defines a legacy as something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. In a way, all parents, teachers and coaches want to leave a legacy. It is their mission to show students the way they should go, warn them of the way they should not go, and pray that when they embark on their own, they will have the wisdom to know the difference. Leaving this type of legacy is rare, but it is a wonderful thing. When someone has the opportunity to leave a legacy in two places, it is extraordinary.
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Creek County, just South of I-44 sits the Town of Kellyville, Oklahoma. Kellyville High School can be found on Maple Street, just blocks away from Historic Route 66. The Football Stadium is nestled in a bucolic setting, with hills and trees in the distance. On Thursday October 15, 2020, Jones and Kellyville will play a Varsity Football game in the shadows of the Jim Allen Press Box. A press box named for a man that is a Kellyville legend and a beloved Jones resident.
Jimmy Allen, as he was affectionately known in his teaching days, grew up in the small town of Ryan, Oklahoma just a few miles away from the Texas border. After graduating High School in 1952, Allen attended Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) from 1952 to 1955. In the Spring of 1955, Allen joined the United States Army, serving in Germany for 16 months as a radio operator. Upon his return, Mr. Allen switched his major to Education and enrolled at Central State University (now University of Central Oklahoma). In August of 1959, Jim Allen married Kaye Nutter. By 1960 he finished his Education degree and looked for a place to begin his teaching career. His search led him to Kellyville High School in Northeast Oklahoma.
Four Decades of Service in Kellyville
Allen would spend 43 years in the Kellyville Indpendent School District. It is hard to put into words the mark that Mr. Allen made in Kellyville. As a teacher, Mr. Allen taught science, biology, general agriculture, health and civics. “He did anything they needed him to do” said John Castillo, the Principal at Kellyville Elementary School. Many former students attest to Mr. Allen’s humor; he was well-known throughout the school for his wonderful jokes.
As a Coach, Allen lead the Varsity Girls Basketball, Softball and Volleyball. He also served a number of years as the first Athletic Director in the district. “Athletics really grew under his leadership.” Coach Allen was instrumental in the formation of a Football Program in Kellyville in the early 1970s. Allen was the football timekeeper in the press box for over 28 years. Mrs. Allen was also known to support the teams by Jim’s side, keep score or doing whatever she could do. “They were quite the team” Castillo reminisced.
The goal of a Coach is to grow a team thought the course of a season. Coach Allen took teams from one place to another throughout his entire career, both figuratively and literally. Jim Allen spent over 40 years driving the bus in the Kellyville Independent School District. Even after he retired from teaching and coaching in Kellyville he continued to drive the bus. He also made his mark teaching Driver’s Ed. In the 28 years he taught Drier’s Ed it is estimated that Mr. Allen taught over 1,500 Kellyville students to drive.
However, the most lasting marks of a leader is the impact made on the individual lives that were changed. John Castillo was Jim Allen’s pupil in the late 1970’s, a mentee in the 1980’s, and a colleague in the 1990’s when both were coaching in the district. “Mr. and Mrs. Allen really took me under their wings. It is what drove me into education. I wanted to be like those people that influenced my life so much.”
When asked the circumstances that led to the School District renaming the press box in Coach Allen’s honor, he simply replied “We needed to name something after him. He did so much for this community for so many years.”
Moving To Jones
To be closer to his son and grandchildren, Jim Allen moved to Jones in 2003. Many people struggle to find what to do in retirement. Mr. Allen knew there was one way he could impact his new community: on the bus. Jim Allen became the driver of Bus #4 in Jones from 2003 to 2014. Jones High School Counselor Curtis Moses shared his memories of Mr. Allen, “There are so many great things about this man. He was a dedicated bus driver and established great relationships with all of the students. He helped so many students have great days at school by his interactions with them on the bus. I don’t think there was a school activity that he missed. A great man!”
Mr. Allen maintains his love for sports and the Jones School District. During the fall he can be spotted with his friends in the end zone watching the Longhorns play. Though he no longer drives the bus, he still shows his love for this community by his faithful attendance of student events.
Out of respect for Mr. Allen, we did not ask him who he’ll be cheering for on Thursday evening. His professional career was spent in Kellyville. All three of his children graduated from Kellyville High School. However, he’s spent the last 17 years in Jones, where two of his grandchildren and two of his great-grandchildren have attended school. Either way, both schools have greatly benefited from his service, love, dedication and wisdom. Both towns are better off because of the time that Jim Allen spent there.
And that is quite a legacy.
4 thoughts on “Leader, Educator, Mentor, Friend: Jim Allen Leaves His Mark on Kellyville and Jones”
He was one my teachers at Kellyville & my Softball Coach in 6th grade he was always nice to me ! Thank you Mr Allen !!! Debbie Rowell (Harris)
I had the honor of being a Jones school bus driver with Mr Allen. He’s a gentle soul. Thanks for this article.
Amazing man. Had the privelege to be taught & coached by him and ride his bus for years. Never seen him be unkind once which is an amazing feat for a high school teacher.