Jacob Gallagher ’00
Jacob “Jayk” Gallagher is a member of St. Johnsbury Academy Class of 2000. He recalled, “My experience at St. Johnsbury Academy was unique. In many ways, I didn’t feel like I fit in. I had trouble with the dress code, and I had plenty of behavioral issues. But within that place of conflict, I received some of the best education a person could possibly get in a high school environment.”
A number of people had positive impacts on Jayk during his time at the Academy, but he mentioned two former Headmasters first: “I remember the incredibly kind Tom Lovett who nurtured my creative writing skills. I also remember Bernier Mayo who very strictly stopped us from saying, ‘Uh’ and ‘Um……’ during oral presentations, and I wish more teachers would do things like that, as that affected me for years to come.” Former Dean of Students, Jack Driscoll, was my biology teacher. I always had excuses for being late, turning things in late, and cutting corners. I remember one time he asked me, ‘What’s the bottom line, Jayk?’ And I had to admit the bottom line was that the project was late. That stuck with me the rest of my life and helped me stop making excuses.”
“SJA helped me with my development and discipline as a person, not just academically. I also remember participating in debates as an 1800s person in Judy Kelley’s (former social studies faculty) AP History class being incredibly intellectually engaging. Bill Vinton (former arts faculty), who taught theater along with science, showed me how to walk across the deck of a ship, fighting against a storm, as the Bos’n in The Tempest. I was very nurtured creatively, not only by the drama work, but also by Alan Rowe ‘72 (arts faculty) in the Hilltones and the Chorus, going to All States and Regionals. I still remember and can sing many of those songs some 22 years later, and I love that I was connected with that culture so early in life.”
Jayk spent his senior year in Spain as part of an exchange program. He said, “Tom Lovett was really kind to me and helped me fulfill the obligations I needed to fulfill, even though I wasn’t allowed to go to prom and such. I honestly appreciate the example that was set with unyielding discipline—I needed to face consequences in order to ultimately change my path. But I also appreciate the kindness and humanity that was included with those lessons.”
After leaving SJA, Jayk attended Emerson College in Boston with a half-tuition scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts in acting. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and has been there for 18 years. Jayk booked 45 national commercials, along with roles on shows like CSI: NY and Crash & Bernstein. His favorite credit? A small role in the Oscar winning film, The Social Network.
While he was building an acting career, Jayk said, “I did a bunch of other things, including fronting a grunge rock band called Hobart W Fink, which toured the country and played on a bunch of radio stations, as well as releasing several rap albums and taking part in a national rap battle league. I wrote, directed, and produced music videos, short films, and other content that won best directing awards at film festivals, and I was a Sundance Screenwriters Lab Finalist, Sundance Sloan Commission Grant Finalist, and one of my feature scripts got Montana’s Big Sky Grant.” Jayk is a decorated writer and producer who has won many other awards, including Grand Jury Best Narrative Short at Awareness Film Festival in LA, Directors’ Choice Award at Sci-On! International Film Festival, and a debut screening in Times Square at the NY Latino Film Festival presented by HBO.
About nine years ago, Jayk founded the company he currently owns, called Calliope West Artist Management, with a business partner who has since retired. Jayk said, “I’ve followed a lot of paths since leaving St. Johnsbury Academy. I was drawn back to talent management, because it’s a combination of a few of my strengths: teaching, selling, and in some cases, filling the role of therapist. No matter how deeply I got into my own creative pathways, I felt compelled to promote the achievements of others, and whatever situation I found myself in, I was always a middle-man of sorts. A common thread in all my work was connecting the right people to each other. It made perfect sense for everything to distill into talent management. If there’s one thing I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, it’d be to refine my focus more, starting a little earlier on. That’s one reason I’ve enjoyed tutoring over the years. Because I’ve been able to help young people learn how to interface with society in a way I never could.”
Calliope West Artist Management represents many well-known names, such as John O’Hurley (Seinfeld) Dia and Donielle Nash (Ryan Murphy’s Monster, Dahmer, Never Have I Ever, and Sex Lives of College Girls), Avery Pohl (General Hospital), Celeste Pechous (Work in Progress), and Allan McLeod (You’re the Worst).
Jayk is currently focusing on his family and building his business. He said, “Most of my focus these days is on building my family and building my company, with just a teensy slice left over for directing, writing and producing. I married Erin Biglow Gallagher, a senior producer at Access Hollywood in April 2022, and we welcomed our daughter, Siobhan Cordelia Gallagher to the world August 31, 2022. Watching Siobhan come into the world was the best moment of my life by far, and I am so grateful to God for her presence. Her first name means ‘God is gracious’ and her middle name means ‘Heart of a Lion’.
He looks forward to continuing to use the lessons he learned at SJA to grow as a person and to help others challenge themselves and meet their goals.