Given a second chance at life, AP Chemistry teacher Chloe Gallaher finds her passion in teaching


Umeera Farooq

During a free period, new chemistry teacher Chloe Gallaher reviews basic chemistry information with senior Charlotte Zera. With a new school came new expectations and objectives for Gallaher’s classes. “[There are] increased lesson plans and things I’ll have to make for AP Chemistry,” Gallaher said. “For my freshman class, I’m trying to move towards a more personalized teaching style where they have some choices that will get them to the same end like they might rather do an online simulation versus an actual wet lab.”

With the sudden departure of former teacher Jan Keller, many prospective AP Chemistry students wondered who would now be teaching the demanded course. Chloe Gallaher stepped into the role, through the doors with new goals and 22 years of teaching experience.

Gallaher taught chemistry at Parkway South for 11 years following her 11 years at Fort Zumwalt South. After being offered an opportunity to teach AP Chemistry in a new environment, she accepted and was reunited with an old friend.

“I began teaching with [chemistry teacher] Kim Tarpey [at Fort Zumwalt South], so it gave us an opportunity to be able to teach together again,” Gallaher said. “It’s really special that we started together. We were cheerleading sponsors together, and now we’re teaching together again even though we both left Fort Zumwalt at different times. We ended up in the same district, and now we’re in the same building, so it’s a neat story.”

Combining her love for science and passion for helping people, Gallaher decided to attend undergraduate school to start her path towards an education degree. 

“When I first went to [undergraduate] school, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I enjoyed my science classes the most because I wasn’t just in a seat memorizing facts; I was able to get up, do things and work with more people. I found it fascinating as I learned deeper information about how and why things acted the way they did, so I knew it needed to be something in that,” Gallaher said. “I thought about education, but my father said, ‘you don’t want to go into education; go into nursing. You’ll always have a job.’ I thought that sounded good, so I took my general education classes and applied for nursing school, and I got in.”

I decided that I was going to go back to what I wanted to do at the beginning, which was teaching. It broke my dad’s heart, but it was my life [and] what I wanted to do,”

— Chloe Gallaher


Though Gallaher agreed to go into nursing, she made a compromise with her father that she would only go if she was able to enlist in the Air Force to become a flight nurse. However, things took a turn for the worse.

“When I was 21, a drunk driver crossed the center line and hit me head-on. It crushed my right foot, fractured my temporal bone and eye socket and put a piece of the dashboard in my nose. I spent 10 days in the hospital, not coherent enough to really understand where I was and what was going on. I could read words, but I couldn’t put a thought together from them,” Gallaher said.

As a result of the accident, Gallaher was informed by her orthopedic surgeon that she could not run, lift weights or do any strenuous activities. Despite this, Gallaher started to heal, physically and emotionally, and resumed her initial desire and path to teach.

“I couldn’t enlist [in the Air Force] because I would be a 4-F, so I decided that I wasn’t going to continue in nursing because I didn’t want to just work in a hospital or in a nursing home. I had grander ideas,” Gallaher said. “I decided that I was going to go back to what I wanted to do at the beginning, which was teaching. It broke my dad’s heart, but it was my life [and] what I wanted to do.”

While teaching AP Chemistry was an opportunity Gallaher didn’t want to miss, leaving Parkway South was not an easy decision.

“Leaving the teachers that I worked with was hard. I had made really good connections with some of them, and we worked well together. I was just looking for a change, and this opportunity came up,” Gallaher said. “Back at [Parkway] South, I would never have had a chance before I retired to teach [AP Chemistry], so if I didn’t take it, I could never complain about never having the chance to teach it. It was one of those things I didn’t want to go back and regret.”

Chloe Gallaher
Two of Gallaher’s ferrets peacefully rest.
Chloe Gallaher
Rescued Neapolitan mastiffs, Little Girl and Eucon, lay side by side.

Teaching is a huge passion of Gallaher’s; however, she has many hobbies that keep her schedule busy, such as hunting and taking care of her rescue animals and five ferrets.

“I’ve caught goat, ram, buffalo, wild boar and of course turkey, deer and squirrel. My husband and I do competitive shooting with the USPSA group, so that keeps me busy [too]. I have two Neapolitan Mastiffs that were rescued. [My husband and I] met this lady at Forest Park who brought [Little Girl], who was so emaciated. She had cherry eye and was missing chunks of fur, so we bought her because we didn’t want to let her go back to where she was. Little Girl was so wonderful and everybody loved her, so we thought we should try to do more rescues,” Gallaher said. “[The ferrets] sleep all day, then we let them out for an hour in the evening, and they play like little puppies. They’re very entertaining.”

Despite her busy schedule, Gallaher hopes to accomplish personal goals. Though many events led Gallaher to West, she still believes her path would have brought her here.

“I just want to enjoy each day, not to stress about what is coming down the road, but to just do what I need to do now,” Gallaher said. “I believe there is a reason for everything. I would have ended up where I needed to be, and that’s here.”