Margaret Gaffney


Rees Schellstede, Author

Margaret Gaffney, a woman whose career path  was undecided until she fell in love with teaching. 

Ms. Gaffney started her life in West Africa; she was born there because her parents were teachers there. However, she eventually moved to New Orleans, where she grew up. She then found herself moving to New Mexico in 1989, moved back to New Orleans in 1996, and then came back to New Mexico in the summer of 2021. 

Ms. Gaffney graduated from  St. John’s College here in Santa Fe in 1995 and went on to subsequently earn multiple degrees and gain experience in teaching.

Ms. Gaffney joined the SFHS staff in 2022 where she teaches honors English and co-teaches mock trial. 

“Growing up, teaching was never a dream job. As a kid, I was more leaning towards a vet or maybe a cartoonist,” stated Ms. Gaffney, sharing that she also went to law school, briefly. However, when she encountered too many lawyers who didn’t love their jobs and were just in it for the money, she was no longer inclined to that career choice. She wanted to love her job.

Ms. Gaffney taught for 24 years in public/charter schools in New Orleans before she came to Santa Fe and taught in a private school here for one year. In 1996, at 24, she volunteered at SFHS and also gained experience in an Americorps program at Santa Fe Community College. She did end up taking a break from teaching, but didn’t leave the school system, taking on roles of master teacher, assistant principal, and principal. 

But in 2022, she came back to classroom teaching, which she loves. “The kids just have so much energy and an open mind,” Ms. Gaffney stated.

Ms. Gaffney has two kids and two dogs, whom she loves very much. She also recently got into horseback riding. She reported that a Native American stuntman, who is in tons of movies, teaches her. She rides out in the country on a trail and absolutely loves it. 

After experimenting with what she wanted to do with her life, she stated, “I love teaching and wouldn’t want to do anything else.”