A New School and Environment for Gallegos

Isabel Martinez

Luis Gallegos had spent a decade teaching Spanish at one of the most prestigious schools in Dallas when he decided it was time for a change. When it came time to settle on a new professional home, he picked Greenhill–because it really seemed like home, literally.

Greenhill’s values and diverse student body, among other qualities, reminded Gallegos of the school he attended growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he said.

“I really love being in a classroom or a community of learners that reflects what our country looks like,” Gallegos said. “The fact that Greenhill is a community [in which] people feel comfortable enough to share their own values with each other was very appealing to me.”

As familiar as Greenhill seemed in some ways, Gallegos has still experienced a challenging transition, even with his 25 years of teaching experienced. The new attendance system, different protocols, and different schedules–all threw him slightly off balance before he got used to everything, he said.

Gallegos described his personalized way of teaching students to enjoy the learning experience.

“For me, I try to create a classroom environment that functions kind of like a laboratory,” Gallegos said. “It’s a place to experiment with language. We’re not striving to reach perfection or absolute accuracy, but to play around with language and improve those skills.”

Sydney Pitts, a freshman in Spanish Honors II, is among the Greenhill students who appreciate this experimental style of learning.

“I really enjoy the learning and teaching style that Mr. Gallegos presents us with,” Pitts said. “He lets us make mistakes and learn from them, which helps my understanding of the subject.”

Even though he was born in California, Gallegos moved back to Albuquerque when he was very young so he could grow up where the rest of his family was. Both of his parents were teachers, so he was accustomed from an early age to having his parents come home from work and be excited about their students and school.

In high school and college, Gallegos knew that teaching was what he wanted to do.

Gallegos’ first official teaching experience came well into adulthood, but he really started preparing for this path of directing and guiding lives in his teens. All throughout Gallegos’ childhood, he was an only child. This changed when he was thirteen and suddenly had a baby sister.

“Being thirteen years older than my only other sibling put me in a position where I was both an older brother, but almost more of a teacher, guiding and showing her the ropes,” Gallegos said.

Outside the classroom, Gallegos greatly enjoys singing. He was surrounded by music in his home at an early age. His mom and dad sang around the house, and he was part of choir and music groups when he was young.

He also appreciates arts and literature, and in his free time Gallegos paints, draws and reads as much as he can.

Upper School Language Department Chair Laura Hudec says that Greenhill was looking for someone who could fit into the Greenhill community while also having multiple years of experience.

“Mr. Gallegos showed a passion for both teaching and advising,” Hudec said. “He talked about his former students in such an excited manner, which led me to believe that he would fit well within our Greenhill community of both the students and the faculty.”