James River Day School

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John Gillum

John Gillum joined the James River faculty in August 2012. He feels unbelievably fortunate to coach, teach PE, and wear athletic clothes to work each day.

John grew up in the basketball-crazed state of Indiana. A four-sport athlete in high school, he narrowed his focus to cross country running at the College of Charleston, where he majored in physical education and health. After graduating, John sought a non-traditional teaching assignment. He spent the next year as one of 14 Americorps Fellows at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colorado. At this tuition-free, boarding high school for students who did not find success in traditional settings, John had immeasurably valuable personal and professional learning experiences. He also counts a 24-day backpacking and climbing trip in the Beartooth Wilderness in Montana with the National Outdoor Leadership School as a cornerstone experience early in his career.

Following his fellowship, John sought life experience, embarking on a seven-week backpacking trip around Europe. Upon returning, he enrolled at Minnesota State University - Mankato, where he earned a Master's Degree in experiential education, and more importantly, met his wife Tasha. Following graduate school, John went west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he taught for three years at the Journeys School, a Pre-K through 12th grade school with an environmental education focus.

Among John's most treasured experiences is backpacking 500 miles on the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango in the summer of 2013 with his wife. In 2018, John started Families in Lynchburg Adventuring (FILA) to encourage families to get outside with their kids and connect like-minded families. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their two young children, plus reading, entering adventure triathlons, and gardening.