Principal • Marshall School • South Orange, N.J. • Age: 39
When Angelica L. Allen-McMillan’s parents refused to pay her a dollar for every “A” on her report card, she quickly learned that good work should not be done solely for monetary reward. That message was reinforced by Miguel Cardona, her director at INROADS, the internship program that develops talented young people of color for professional careers in business and industry. “You don’t work for the money, you work for the experience,” Cardona told her.
Allen-McMillan has applied that philosophy to her professional life. As an insurance underwriter at Chubb & Son Insurance Co., she discovered that kind of work did not feed her passion for helping others. She found herself spending much of her time volunteering for education-related activities and realized that she enjoyed working with children. She spent five years as a teacher before she was tapped to lead the launch of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, N.J. “I was really at the ground floor of an awesome project,” says Allen-McMillan, who served as executive director. “I was helping to realize the hopes and dreams of students and parents.”
Today, Allen-McMillan is the principal at Marshall School, a kindergarten-through-second-grade elementary school in South Orange, N.J. She is striving to make the school a premier early-childhood education center a goal she expects to accomplish, thanks to the work ethic instilled in her by her parents, James P. and Lillian J. Allen.
Allen-McMillan earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, and a master’s in educational administration and doctorate in education, leadership, management and policy at Seton Hall University. “Be true to yourself and honor who you are in all areas of your life,” she says. “I put my heart and soul into what I do. It’s not just a job for me, it’s a life experience and that’s why I love it.”