Maelea Galyon spends a lot of time at her high school alma mater. A 1985 graduate of Maryville College who earned a degree in vocal performance, she also earned a certification to teach math and returned to teach in the Maryville schools system. Today, she is spending her first few weeks as an assistant principal at her alma mater, Maryville High School.
Galyon says being in education is exactly where she should be.
“It sounds corny, but I really am where I need to be,” she says. “I think the single most important thing in anyone’s success is being educated, and that’s what we do here. I really believe that.”
Galyon says music and math are very closely related. “Music is very mathematic. The parts I did well in -- like music theory -- is math,” she says. “I had a fabulous math teacher at Maryville High School named Susan Keeble, but I never thought I wanted to be a teacher. When I got out of college and realized I had no idea what I want to do, she is who came to my mind.”
When people come downtown for the August’s Last Friday Art Walk on Friday, Aug. 27, they’ll get the chance to see Galyon utilize her vocal performance education. “I love to sing, so my vocal performance degree stays with me. My band is playing at Last Friday Art Walk at Boyd Thomas Clothing. We’re The Back Seat Delilahs and the Can’t Hardly Play Boys,” she says.
Galyon says she and Debbie Waldroop taught at Maryville Middle School together and realized three years into their friendship they both enjoyed singing. “Her friend played guitar. So we sang together, but never in public. Then I talked the girls into going into the studio to make a CD for my grandmother 10 years ago,” she says.
Galyon says Brett Coulter, another assistant principal at Maryville High, always enjoyed listening to music. “So I gave him a copy of my CD,” she says.
American History teacher Mark White at the school heard Coulter’s CD and started playing with them. “It’s probably some mix of folk, country and pop. I love it," she says. “The other girls in the band are a little more apprehensive, and it takes a little bit of talking, but Mark and I are all about performing!”
Galyon is a member of the Leadership Blount Class of 2007 and says the experience was worth the time. “I loved it. I’m one of those who felt I knew a lot about Blount County, and I was wrong. I learned a ton,” she says. “The other thing about it, in education, we don’t get to network with people outside our field. Leadership Blount gave me the opportunity to make friends with people I never would have known.”
Here is Maelea Galyon:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“I am my mother made over. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather emulate.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“ ‘Shazam,’ from ‘Gomer Pyle,’ I was a huge Gomer Pyle fan growing up.”
What are you guilty of?
“I’m guilty of not taking time to ‘smell the roses.’ I’m the kind of person who likes to stay busy, and, sometimes, that means I don’t appreciate daily blessings like I should.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My grandmother gave me one of her charm bracelets several years ago that has charms from all of her international travels. I’ll think of her stories of those travels every time I wear it.”
What are you reading currently?
“ ‘How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci,’ by Michael Gelb and ‘The Gate House,’ by Nelson DeMille - something serious and something fun.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“When Davon Dillard lifted my skirt over my head on the playground in fourth grade.”
What irritates you?
“Thoughtlessness of all kinds.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“I’ve never been a ‘bucket list’ kind of person. My only real hope is to have the opportunity to watch my son, Troy, grow into a happy, healthy adult.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Hard-working. Even when I’m not able to fulfill requests or make folks happy, I’m always working hard to do my best.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I’ve always wished that I was a good practical joker. I think a good practical joke is real fun.”
What is your passion?
“I truly believe that education is the key to success. I am passionate about making an outstanding educational experience available to all children, regardless of their economic or social circumstances.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“My first husband, Frank James Fiore, who died in 1988, he had bone cancer. He was my college sweetheart, and we married between our junior and senior year. We were married almost five years, and he was 27 and I was 25 when he died.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I’ve always wished I could have been a teenager during the 1950s. Things seem to have been so simple then.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“All of the Stephen King books that my mother gives me each birthday and Christmas.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“My mother always told me to be able to take care of myself. I’m more thankful for that advice than she’ll ever know.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My son, Troy. He shows me all the time how we are supposed to treat others, and he makes me appreciate life more than anyone else ever has.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“I taught private music lessons while living in Germany in the 1980s. That’s when I learned that I didn’t want a career of teaching music.’
What is your theme song that best describes you?
“Some days ‘I’m Walkin’ on Sunshine,' and other days I feel like I’m just, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“I don’t know that I had a favorite cartoon of my own, but I have wonderful memories of watching Scooby Doo with my little brother, Rusty Borden.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“The fire tower at Look Rock, the view from there is spectacular.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“I would try to impress on myself that everyone makes mistakes, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over them. Life’s too short to sulk.”