Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to sit down with David Galindo, sixth grade teacher at Eastside Elementary School. David was recognized as the 2019 Sweetwater County School District #1 Teacher of the Year, and was also a top five nominee for Wyoming Teacher of the Year.
Along with teaching, David is also the head coach for the Rock Springs High School boys swim team and an assistant coach for the girls swim team. He has a passion for teaching and coaching, and that is clear in how he dedicates himself every day. David sees his profession as a way to “make a difference” in children’s lives to hopefully leave a lasting positive impact.
David gives his all for his job, and anyone who works alongside David, has him as a teacher or a coach, or even just has the pleasure of knowing him can see that. For David, it’s more than a job but rather an opportunity to better the world, one student at a time. And when it comes down to it, it’s all for his students. Like David says, “It comes back to the students every time.”
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David, you were the 2019 Sweetwater County School District #1 Teacher of the Year. How does that feel?
This whole process has been really humbling. I didn’t expect this and I certainly didn’t expect it this early on in my career (David will be starting his 7th year of teaching this school year). In a big district like this, we have so many amazing teachers, so I never pictured it. When I got that phone call I was extremely humbled.
You were also a top five nominee for Wyoming State Teacher of the Year. How did that feel?
I got the phone call from the Wyoming Department of Education and I had been sleeping, so honestly, in so many ways it felt like I was dreaming. It was such an honor, especially in this state, which breeds really good teachers. I’m a product of those teachers, all the way from elementary school through college. I know we have the best of the best here. Just to be among the best and to be considered top five of the best is such an honor.
Why did you decide to become a teacher and what do you enjoy about it?
I decided I was going to be a teacher when I was in 7th grade. I don’t remember why, but I remember I had an amazing second grade teacher who was energetic, fun, just an amazing teacher and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. As I got older I realized why. I cannot think of a better way to make a difference and to have an impact than to be a teacher. I’ve had hundreds of students at this point, so hopefully I’ve been able to make a positive impact on their lives, and hopefully they go out and make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
At the end of everyday, I enjoy teaching because I enjoy making an impact in someone else’s life. It always has to come back to why we do this is, which is for our students. It’s all about the students. Everything I do. It takes hours of prep time, before school and after school, but knowing I’m making a difference in Sweetwater County, in this school, in one kid’s life, makes it all worth it. It comes back to the students every time.
You coach Rock Springs High School swimming. How did you get involved in coaching and what do you like about it?
I swam competitively from when I was a little kid all the way up to high school, and I always wanted to coach swimming. I had the opportunity to coach with some amazing junior high coaches and now the high school coaches, and they showed me the ropes. I ended up becoming a coach because people were willing to give me a shot.
The reason I love coaching is because I can make a difference in a kid’s life in a different way. I’ll take that opportunity every time.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I student taught over in Green River at the 5th grade level, and Eastside had just finished getting built when I started looking for a job. So I applied over here and I got it.
Fun fact: David has been teaching at Eastside, in the same classroom, for all six years of his career so far. He’ll be teaching his seventh year in the same classroom as well.
What is something unique about you?
If you were to ask my wife, she calls me a “walking encyclopedia” because I just know a bunch of useless knowledge about useless things. I love Jeopardy.
What are some of your hobbies?
My biggest hobby is music. I love to play music. Every year I accompany the Eastside choir, so I play the piano and guitar, backing our singers here. I helped out on our Eastside band with different sections as well. Music, I love it. Someday I would like to be a music teacher.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
This community and this school district has been so extremely supportive. This district and this community have supported me in everything I’ve done. From the time of just getting hired here at Eastside, I’ve tried to take on everything that I can. The support of this community has just been outstanding.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Just try new things. You don’t know what you’re going to enjoy, and maybe it won’t be for you, but you won’t know until you test it out.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
For sure, my favorite place is Bunning Park. They host a bunch of concerts, and all of my favorite events are hosted at Bunning Park. I love International Day, and Blues & Brews. I even take my students on field trips to Bunning Park. I love that place, it’s my favorite.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
Walk, because I think if you go too fast you’re going to miss something. Especially around here. I like to take walks downtown and down Broadway Street. If you go too fast, you’re going to miss the cool things we have to offer here.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
I actually used to sing karaoke, so I think something definitely nineties. I’m a nineties kid. Anything nineties seems to brighten everyone’s mood and gets them involved.
How would your friends describe you?
I asked one of my friends and he said I’m very down to earth, friendly, personable, and a hard-worker.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
You know, these honors are great, the whole process of being district teacher of the year was amazing. But, I got the most beautiful woman in the world to marry me, and I think that is my biggest accomplishment this far.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
The reason why is not for acting ability, but it would have to be Ice Cube. Just for appearance alone. I mean look at this…
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
It’s beautiful here. I’ve lived my entire life here, I’ve never had a reason to live anywhere else. Everywhere I’ve been in Wyoming is a very tight-knit community. We look after our own and Wyoming has definitely taken care of me throughout my life.