Allen grew up in Titusville and attended Washington Elementary School. She graduated from Ullman High School in 1967. She joined the system as central office secretary afterward and then took a job teaching business and economics at Ramsay High School. She returned to the central office as a program specialist and was promoted to director of career technology.
Allen took the post of acting superintendent following the resignation of Stan Mims. In inheriting a system with declining enrollment she completed Mim's proposal for school closures and other cost-cutting measures. Members of the Birmingham Board of Education have complimented her for her professionalism and efficient, capable approach to conducting business.
Already a candidate for retirement, Allen originally agreed to serve through June 2009 while the Board conducts a search for a permanent superintendent. The term was later extended until December 31, and Allen agreed to a month-to-month extension in December. The board named Craig Witherspoon as superintendent in January 2010. After handing over the office, she returned to the Chief of Staff role for the remainder of the school year before retiring. in March 2010 she said she planned to keep teaching, most likely in higher education, after her retirement.
Allen and her husband Walter have two sons and two grandchildren.
|Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools
- Stock, Erin (May 11, 2008) "Birmingham interim school chief Barbara Allen leads with quiet strength." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (December 8, 2009) "Birmingham Board of Education OKs monthly extension of Interim Superintendent Barbara Allen's contract." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (January 17, 2009) "Challenges not novel for Craig Witherspoon, who is in line to be Birmingham schools superintendent." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (March 24, 2010) "Ex-interim Birmingham schools chief Barbara Allen honored." Birmingham News