Faculty Spotlight: Jennifer Gildea '93

Middle School Guidance Counselor and Middle School English Teacher
Department and Program Affiliations:
Guidance and Counseling, English, and Middle School

Assistant Coach, Cross Country 

Academic background:
B.S., Psychology, Randolph-Macon College 
M.Ed., Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia

How long have you been at Norfolk Academy?
This is my second year teaching at Norfolk Academy. I also facilitated an internship for NA grads from 2010 until 2016 through my private practice and also conducted admissions testing during that time. 

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:
Working with and counseling students is so rewarding! As a Norfolk Academy alum and parent, I can’t imagine a better place for me to work, give back, and teach. I love developing relationships with students and watching them mature and grow during their time here in the Middle School.

What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy?
In the classroom, I am energized by the students’ active participation and discussions, their ability to draw conclusions, and their aha! moments. Creative writing, reading, and interpreting literature and poetry provide a foundation for understanding the world and our history through multiple different perspectives, and for developing empathy. In this way, I view my role as an English teacher as one that is closely tied to my role as a psychologist. As a counselor, I enjoy providing the support and guidance that is so needed especially at the Middle School level.

Norfolk Academy is unique because…
...we are not just a school community but a family. There is such a connected feeling of support among faculty here. We are here for our students and for each other in a way that is very unique. And our faculty and administrators are always striving to make improvements to the ways that we connect with and teach our students. NA is no place for complacency, but rather a great place to become your best self!

Last book read:
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?  
I am an avid runner and enjoy running local races whenever I can. I also love kayaking, swimming and paddle-boarding, and of course, getting outdoors with my son!

Favorite food?

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you?
The lovely and brilliant Emma Watson!

Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising:
I’m a big Harry Potter fan, enjoy reading murder mysteries, played classical piano for 18 years, and now express my musicality by belting out all kinds of radio tunes in the privacy of my car.

“When I grow up, I want to be…”
...in good health, with my family and friends around me, and still running marathons!