Allan Pall is what some might call a legend at New Branches Charter Academy. He is in his 27th year of teaching at the school!
He is a champion for students and has impacted thousands throughout his tenure.
Though it might be surprising, teaching is the second career for Pall. He dabbled in accounting following in his father’s footsteps, but after a few life events and taking a few personality tests, he knew that he had to find a position that better fit with his gifts and passions.
Teaching has been an adventure for Mr. Pall. No day is the same and it fits his need to influence and impact others.
It all started 26 years ago in 1993 when he walked into The Climbing Tree school (former name of New Branches) with his six-month-old daughter in his hands looking for a teaching position. At the time, teacher positions were hard to come by and he was desperate for full-time work.
What Pall assumed would just be a “job” turned into a lifelong adventure.
Running for Literacy
Literacy is the ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen in a way that allows you to communicate effectively. The power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live.
Believing that literacy is one of the most critical skills to learn when growing up, Al ’s ability to infuse literacy education has been creative and has made life-long impacts on students.
Read-a-Lotto is a competition that Pall created to encourage reading. The idea was to encourage students to read more books than how many miles he could run. If they could, then they would get prizes. Even in 2003 when Pall ran 1002 miles, the class still surpassed him! Talk about commitment to literacy education!
Making Learning Fun
Math literacy has been taught by using Zero the Hero. Using Zero the Hero is a fun and creative way to teach children about the role zero plays in our number system. Who wouldn’t want a superhero in their class?
To this day, no one knows who was in the Zero the Hero costume (wink, wink)!
“Mr. Al is special for so many reasons.” Anya, a former NBCA student and currently Hope College student commented. “It isn’t just his warm and silly persona or the gentle and patient way that he goes about teaching. It’s also because he went above and beyond to improve information retention and focus through fun songs and movements (that I still remember to this day). You could see in his infectious smile that he was having just as much if not more fun than us students were.”
“The Campbell Soup” of New Branches
Pall is a life-long learner and an advocate for whole brain learning.
Author Chris Biffle has been an inspiration and role model. Every summer, Pall spends time reflecting and learning from him. He reads through Biffle’s material so he can determine how to be a better teacher for the following year.
He wants what is best for his students and knows that he needs to continue to learn if he is expecting that of his students.
“Al’s strengths are that he is the true definition of a lifelong learner. Even though he is a veteran in education, he NEVER stops learning, reflecting and trying to reach every student,” Terry Larkin, principal at New Branches said. “He is a positive leader among staff and is considered a mentor to many. I value his opinion and will often run things by him for his opinion when making decisions. He is the “Campbell Soup” of New Branches!”
“Over my many years of being a student, I cannot think of any other teacher that I can think more fondly of as Mr. Al. I have no doubt that his influence was one of the catalysts for my creativity, as he not only encouraged it but actively lived it in the way he taught and interacted with us in the classroom,” Ajilan, a former NBCA student and currently U of M student commented.
“He filled my head with the most bizarre and wonderful music, stories, and silly voices that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Ajilan added.
“All of my kids found their voice in Mr. Al’s class. He was amazing and took the time with each of his students to learn how they learn—and adapted his classroom to meet those needs,” Arlene Potter, a New Branches parent said. “We will forever be grateful to Mr. Pall and the life-long effect he has had on our family and children.”
27 years ago, Mr. Pall walked into New Branches not knowing what his future would hold. He did not know what type of impact he would make on so many children, parents and community. Today we honor Mr. Pall and his continuing legacy.