New faculty profile: Andy Gleckman


Sebastian Bush, reporter

Andy Gleckman, a new member of the math faculty in the Annie Wright Upper School for Boys, has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was previously employed at NASA, and SpaceX. He loves to share his knowledge of math with his students, and enjoys working one-on-one with them. 

Inkwell: How did you begin your career in education?

Gleckman: I was told that Mr. Stubbs was going to take paternity leave, and needed a substitute for about a month, so that’s how I got started. I had no experience with teaching before that; except, I would barely call it an experience, but I was a teaching assistant in Graduate School. I at least knew that I liked teaching, and helping students out. 

Inkwell: What other jobs have you had, previous to this one?

Gleckman: It’s always been engineering jobs. I have a background in mechanical engineering, so my first job was a mechanical engineer position, and I pretty quickly got into software engineering. I worked in a biotech company, where we did robotics for genomics companies and research labs. I worked at NASA AMES research center where I worked for a contractor testing materials. And then at SpaceX, helping launch and land rockets. 

Inkwell: Many students think that SpaceX is very cool, and glamorous, is that how it felt to you?

Gleckman: Well, to an extent, [the students] are right, I mean, it really is. It’s sexy, not in the literal way, they [SpaceX] do a good job of moving quickly, and doing exciting things. Being there was very exciting, for sure; stressful, because you want to keep the pace moving. It was a very exciting place to work. 

Inkwell: Because you are new to teaching, how would you characterize your teaching style?

Gleckman: I am still figuring that out, I think. Most of my experience has been helping people one on one. As I said, when I was a teaching assistant, that was basically tutoring, and I have done some tutoring. I am trying to help kids understand Math. But I don’t have an elevator speech on what my teaching philosophy is, like some other teachers have. I believe I have a huge advantage over other new teachers, because the class sizes are so small. I am just trying to get to know all the kids. I do think that if a student has some amount of trust in me, that what I say might actually be correct, I might actually be able to help them; that we will both be better off. I think a big part of what I am trying to do when I teach, is to form relationships with every student. 

Inkwell: What is an amazing experience you’ve had?

Gleckman: Several come to mind, getting married to my beautiful best friend, that is a very amazing memory. Definitely some moments at SpaceX, when Falcon Heavy launched, when Falcon 9 landed for the first time. 

Inkwell: What is the favorite place you’ve been and why?

Gleckman: I would have to say the High Sierra Camps at Yosemite, backcountry, no people, less crowds, and utterly beautiful. Quiet, peaceful. After stressful work, [a] really wonderful place to be. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go. 

Inkwell: What is something your students don’t know about you?

Gleckman: I try to be pretty honest and open, I don’t know. I used to have hair [to] my shoulders when I was in High School and up through college. I was in a rock band, and having long hair was part of that.