Mrs. Allison Tarvin: happy mother of two, loving wife, passionate chemistry teacher, proud Alabama fan, ex-cheerleading coach… and most recently, Dean of Pace Academy’s Class of 2023.
Mrs. Tarvin left her job at Harrison High School in Cobb County to work at Pace and be closer to her husband, Pace middle school Latin teacher Stewart Tarvin, and her twin boys, first graders in Pace’s Lower School. She was initially offered a position at Pace in 2017, but the offer came at too hectic of a time in Mrs. Tarvin’s life for her to accept.
One of Mrs. Tarvin’s students at Harrison had died tragically on an overnight camping trip to Red Top Mountain State Park. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the tree that held the hammock she was sleeping in collapsed on top of her overnight. “It was a terrible situation,” said Mrs. Tarvin. “I just couldn’t fathom leaving my babies in the situation they were in. I just couldn’t do it.”
Mrs. Tarvin’s care for her students’ well-being and her drive to support them through tough times are a testament to how qualified she is for a dean’s role at Pace. After the Harrison community had time to grieve and heal, Mrs. Tarvin finally accepted Mr. Gannon’s offer and assumed an upper school teaching position at Pace for this school year.
Mrs. Tarvin found Pace attractive because of how welcoming and kind the community was whenever she accompanied her husband to Pace functions. She was also impressed by the administration. “I had been to lots of Pace events, and every time I heard [Head of School Fred] Assaf talk, I felt like for the first time there was actually somebody who had a vision for a school and had real leadership skills that I could feel good about following,” said Mrs. Tarvin.
One of Mrs. Tarvin’s favorite things about Pace is the food. “There is food at everything,” joked Mrs. Tarvin. “I was laughing at a faculty meeting the other day when Mr. Assaf apologized for the poor quality of snacks provided, as if there was even food at any of the faculty meetings during my years at Harrison.”
Mrs. Tarvin also loves Pace assemblies. “I look forward to Wednesday mornings more than anything,” said Mrs. Tarvin. “It’s so important to have a place where we all come together to hear common messages to educate the whole community. I learn a lot.” Mrs. Tarvin’s empathy for student and teacher testimonies about race and religion indicate that she will be an understanding dean, responsible for a diverse body of maturing minds.
Outside of school, Mrs. Tarvin’s days are a jumble of “laundry, cooking, groceries, dishes, arguing and saying ‘no’ a lot.” Her sons occupy most of her time and energy at night and on weekends. She does, however, save time for reading. “After I put the kids to bed, I’ll crack open a book sometimes,” said Mrs. Tarvin. Although undecided about which book is her favorite, Mrs. Tarvin does have a few favorite genres: historical fiction, crime stories and psychology books.
Mrs. Tarvin also loves the outdoors. Before having kids, she could be found outside enjoying a hike or exercising. “We have a family lake house that I love to spend time at,” said Mrs. Tarvin. “Now that the boys are getting older, we are finally spending more time up there and outside again.”
Growing up in Alabama meant annual summer trips to Orange Beach, and frequenting the same restaurants, stores and places year after year during the first week of August. “I always thought that families should just pick a spot they like and then vacation there whenever they wanted to travel,” said Mrs. Tarvin. “But Mr. Tarvin is quickly changing my perspective. Because I am a super-planner, I have developed this whole digital plan of all the places I want to go with my family.”
Mrs. Tarvin will, however, take an overseas trip this June as one of the teacher chaperones on the middle school ICGL study tour to Greece. Along with chaperones Mr. Tarvin and Head of Middle School Graham Anthony, Mrs. Tarvin is excited to spend time with some of the kids for whom she will soon be dean.
As far as media interests go, Mrs. Tarvin loves the drama series “Outlander” on top of all the Alabama football she watches. Her favorite cuisine is sushi, and she often eats at Maru Sushi in Smyrna.
Mrs. Tarvin is thrilled to be a Pace dean and loves the Pace community. She directs the following statement towards her incoming class: “The most important thing, for me, is for every human to learn to be kind. I want them to know that is truly who I am to my core. There’s pretty much nothing you could say or do that would make me not care or want to be with you, help you, be part of your life. I don’t know any of y’all yet, but I know that I will love you and pour myself into you… You will be my people.”