Shay Galletti realized she loved teaching when she was still a young student herself.
While growing up in Livermore, she took a course that introduced her to life as a teacher. The passion stuck and propelled her toward a career in public education.
Galletti, a 40-year-old Pleasanton resident, is in her first full year as Fairlands Elementary's new permanent principal after filling the role on an interim basis for almost four months. She started her career in the Pleasanton Unified School District and worked in Pleasanton schools while under the employment of the Tri-Valley Regional Occupation Program (ROP).
Galletti started teaching when she was 22 years old in the fifth grade at Alisal Elementary and later worked at Hearst Elementary when it first opened. She then moved from the PUSD to the Tri-Valley ROP and taught high school at Livermore, Granada, Foothill and Amador Valley for about a decade.
In the late 2000s, she became the program coordinator for Tri-Valley ROP and was in charge of evaluating and coordinating all of the district's programs at area schools -- while also teaching half-time at Foothill. During the 2013-14 school year, she worked full-time as the Tri-Valley ROP's program coordinator.
In 2014-15, Galletti shifted gears and became vice principal at Vintage Hills and Fairlands elementary schools. Then in February, she took over as interim principal at Fairlands. The school board made her appointment permanent in late May.
Over the past year, Galletti said, she's come to understand Fairlands' community and hopes to build upon the school's strong points while striving to maintain the school as a community of learners.
"Those values are very important to me. When there's positivity, people strive to do their best, and learning is able to take place," she said. "I want them to feel like they are supported, cared for and empowered to do their best."
She said she's been inspired by her dad -- a teacher, whom she watched mold lives -- and her high school ROP teacher, who nurtured her initial longings to help others learn.
"This to them is more than a job. It's their passion," she said.
Since then, she's also taught classes that introduced students to teaching as a career, and her students have gone on to be educators everywhere from the Bay Area to New Zealand, she said. At least two of her former students have been hired within the PUSD.
"I had a hand in that," she said, smiling. "It's pretty special to me."
She said she thinks teachers and students would describe her as peppy and animated, but they may not know she considers herself to be quite competitive.
Galletti lives in Pleasanton with her husband and children -- a seventh-grader at Pleasanton Middle and a fourth-grader at Hearst -- and she is stepmother to two adult children.
When she isn't at Fairlands, she enjoys running, cooking and coaching softball -- a throwback to the days when she played competitive softball in high school and briefly in college. A fan of classic cars, her first set of wheels was a Volkswagen Bug.
Galletti graduated from Livermore High, earned her bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Cal State East Bay and her master's degree in early childhood education from St. Mary's College. She also earned teaching, administrative, career and technical education, and designated-substitute credentials.
She receives an annual salary of $127,143 as principal of Fairlands Elementary, which is located at 4151 West Las Positas Blvd.