Allender began his career as a high school English teacher. He earned his PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia and teaches coursework in multicultural literature, urban education, linguistics for educators, and new literacies. In addition to teaching at UC Berkeley, Allender has taught and lectured at a number of other colleges and universities, including San Francisco State University, New York University, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, Fordham University, and Medgar Evers College.
The Center for Civic Engagement is the umbrella office for all of the public purpose programs of Lick-Wilmerding High School. Allender was appointed Interim Executive Director in July 2010.
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a professional development organization for English Language Arts educators at all levels, is one of the oldest non-profit institutions in the United States. While serving as Associate Executive Director of NCTE for five years Allender served as Interim Executive Director for the Council. In 2003 he launched NCTE West at the University of California Berkeley. In 2004 NCTE West hosted the NCTE Research Foundation’s Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color Spring Retreat . This event included a historic panel featuring Ishmael Reed of Konch Magazine, Nikolas Kinellos of Arte Publico Press, and Haki Madhubuti of Third World Press.
As a high-school teacher, Allender taught English by incorporating issues of social justice taught to him by educators who were formerly members of the Black Panther Party and The Young Lords (the Puerto Rican counterpart of the Black Panther Party. This precipitated death threats that garnered national attention because educators and the public wanted to know what he was teaching. After earning a reputation for being progressive and successfully addressing contentious issues in education, Allender was hired by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Today professors use Allender’s essay accounting these challenges, “Literary Guerillas,” as part of their reading assignments in inner-city classrooms.
In 2004 Allender moderated a conversation between parents and teachers on the use of Mark Twain in the classroom in the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois school district. The dialogue included the Illinois State University English department, the Mayor’s office, the NACCP, and school superintendent’s office. Since NCTE is opposed to the censorship of literature, the teachers involved felt that Allender would support their stance on the use of Mark Twain in the classroom. But, at the same time, since Allender is African American parents felt that he would support the book’s removal for its use of "the n-word". Allender facilitated dialogue that encouraged parents and teachers to work together on the issue so that they could become a model district for others to emulate in handling controversial subject matter.
Ultimately Allender was asked to help the parents and teachers work through the impasse by leading them through the process of doing an ethnographic study of their experiences. Such experiences formed much of Allender’s current pedagogical philosophy and positioned him to be a keynote speaker for the California Association of African American Educators at the Stanford Summer Institute.
In 2006 NCTE West was the gathering place for the first ever 21st century Literacies Impact Conference sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, Apple Inc., and The Partnerships for 21st century Schools, E-Luminate Group. Allender's work with the Partnership for 21st century Skills on the English Language Arts Literacy Map was the inspiration for the conference which brought together the leading education content area groups: NCTE , NCTM , NCSS , and NSTA . Working with students from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Allender produced a video documenting this conference.
The Bay Area Teachers Center (BATC) is a single-subject teacher credential program created as a partnership between San Francisco State University and Lick-Wilmerding High School. Allender was appointed Executive Director of BATC in 2007. Once troubled with decreasing student enrollment, BATC has since established and increased teacher enrollment exponentially and established multiple partnerships with school districts. Under Allender's leadership, BATC expanded partnerships with the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley and Teach Tomorrow Oakland, a project of the Mayor's office and the Oakland United School District. Allender also revamped the BATC curriculum to incorporate online courses using NCTE "Pathways for 21st Century Literacy" and "Pathways for Adolescent Literacy" in the Instructional Technology and content area courses.
Dale is a founding member of the Cable in the Classroom Educational Advisory Board and serves on several other boards for a variety of organizations including Media Rights, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, Art21, and Scenarios USA. He has acted in an advisory capacity with many other institutions including The Independent Film Channel/Film School project, the Anti Defamation League’s Echoes and Reflections, and A World of Difference Online. In addition, Allender served as lead advisor or advisory board member for seven Annenberg/CPB professional development television series for English language arts educators.
Allender’s awards include the Summer Institute for Echoes and Reflections Scholars in Jerusalem Fellowship; the Media award from National Association for Multicultural Education and the Education award from the US International Film and Video Festival for the eight-part professional development television series The Expanding Canon. Allender also received a National Endowment for the Humanities award for the study of American Indian literature. Allender was also awarded an honorary chair at the D.C. area Writers Project 2005 Annual Forum.
Allender’s publications include From San Francisco to Senegal; Academic Being and Becoming; a forward for Included in English Studies: Learning Climates that Cultivate Racial and Ethnic Diversity; Trends and Issues in Secondary English published by NCTE and Literary Guerillas; Canon Keepers; and Empire Institutions: A Black Teacher’s Narrative in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine.Standing on the Border: Issues of Identity and Border Crossing in Young Adult Literature, The Alan Review http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/winter00/niday.html
The Multicultural Library: An Essay. Multicultural Perspectives https://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=K12pnT76hMZQBSFRfnBcctYyH24r3hTMlGCs7Ghh82JfVGHTh7sy!-8432242!-1402025386?docId=95783594
The Responses of African American Men to Dominant Norms of Masculinity within the United States http://www.springerlink.com/content/q31766ww15429480/
Allender, D. (2001) Literary Guerillas, Canon Keepers, and Empire Institutions: A Black Teacher’s Narrative. Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine
Dale currently lives in Sacramento, California with Fabiola Flores and his daughter Arya.