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Alumni Spotlight: Jim Allen '66

Alumni Spotlight: Jim Allen '66

The first thing Jim told me when I invited him to be profiled in our Alumni News from the Hill was that “my life was changed because I was offered a different path at Presidio Hills School.” Jim grew up with ADHD and OCD before either of those learning differences were formally recognized or broadly understood. He was a bright child but was often bored in school so his parents approached a family friend, (PHS 4th grade teacher) Jo Ann Edmonson, to ask for her advice. Jo Ann suggested that Jim transfer to PHS so in 1965 he joined the 5th grade class.  

While he wasn’t in Jo Ann’s class, he still credits her with being his most influential teacher saying, “she taught me real life lessons; she taught me to be a good man.” In fact, Jo Ann’s son (and fellow PHS alum) Steve Edmonson and Jim remain friends to this day.

After PHS, Jim attended Terra Linda High School. His first job after graduation was with the Western Opera Theatre (which was the San Francisco Opera’s touring program at the time) where he was reunited with former PHS teacher Calvin Simmons who was the Assistant Conductor. Together they worked together for 3 seasons. This led to a position at the San Francisco Opera and was the beginning of a robust four-decade career as a union stagehand working in film and theatre.   

Today, Jim lives in Bend, Oregon where he likes to ski, tinker with restoring antique cars (see the photo above of Jim driving his 1916 Allen Car), and read thrillers.

When asked what he would like to tell his 13 year old self, he said: “Don’t stress about what others think of you, have confidence.”