People Column

June 07, 1995 1 min read

Four years ago, Olivia Allen-Arrington wanted to find a job that would give her free time to pursue her dream. She chose teaching.

“I was trying to find a job where you are off on the weekends for sure,” she explained. She needed that weekend and summer time to build her other career--as a comedienne.

Ms. Arrington teaches 3rd-grade mathematics and science at Betty Best Elementary School in Alief, Tex. Her work as a teacher provides fertile material for her act, Ms. Allen-Arrington said. “There are funny things in both [jobs].”

She has found success in both careers.

This spring, she left school a few days early to begin a tour that includes trips to Hawaii and Japan. From there, she plans to head to the West Coast for more shows, Ms. Allen-Arrington said last week in a telephone interview from Hawaii.

While juggling her teaching and comedy touring, she must also find time to spend with her husband and her three children.

She said she has been approached about performing on Def Comedy Jam, an adult comedy show on the Home Box Office cable network. However, Ms. Allen-Arrington, who describes her form of comedy as mainstream, is not sure how her young students might respond to her appearance on a program that includes other, more racy material. “I had to think about how that looks,” she said.

The Chicago native said she became interested in comedy because she knew she could make people laugh, and then took up teaching because the work schedule fit in with her comedy. Also, she said, teaching is rewarding in itself. “It’s good experience, a learning experience.”

Peter Bell, the president of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, has announced he is stepping down. Mr. Bell, who has been with the New York City-based organization for nine years, will become the president of care in the fall. The Atlanta-based international relief organization was founded in 1945 and sent millions of “care Packages” with supplies to Europe and Asia after World War II. Since then, the organization has continued to provide help to countries through emergency disaster relief and long-term programs for sustainable development. The foundation will begin the search for a new president this spring

--Adrienne D. Coles

A version of this article appeared in the June 07, 1995 edition of Education Week as People Column