Faculty Spotlight: John Galler '93

Engineering, Design and Innovation (EDI) Coordinator and Instructor

Department and Program Affiliations:
EDI Program, Lower School

Asst. Coach, Boys’ Junior Orange Soccer

Academic background:
Norfolk Academy '93
B.S., Geology and Environmental Science, College of William and Mary
M.S., Physical Oceanography, College of William and Mary
PhD, Geophysics, Tulane University

How long have you been at Norfolk Academy?
This is my fourth year at Norfolk Academy.

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:
I love introducing a world of exploration and discovery to students. In the EDI classroom students have the opportunity to create, take risks, succeed, and fail numerous times. This process helps students discover and accept that failing is a part of learning. Getting to see the individual student’s growth starting in first grade and continuing through Lower School is particularly rewarding.
What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy?
I love having the freedom to design the EDI program, and bringing the skills of building and failing to the students through authentic engineering experiences. Many of the Lower School EDI projects are based on my prior career in engineering, while other lessons are drawn from high school and university-level programs. I am also fortunate to work for a genuinely supportive school administration that gives me the latitude to tinker with the curriculum.

Norfolk Academy is unique because…
...of the teacher-coach model. It is incredibly rewarding to coach a Middle School athlete who was my former student in Lower School.

Last book read:
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?  
My family and I spend nearly all of our free time outside. We love to travel and camp. This year I aim to road bike 1,500 miles and paddle (canoe or kayak) 100 miles.   

Favorite food?
Jianbing (Chinese street food)

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you?
Mike Rowe.

Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising:
I’ve hiked on the Great Wall of China, in a Singapore rain forest, and up an active volcano.

“When I grow up, I want to be…”
...like my dad.