Catching up with Alyse Galvin '83

Alyse Galvin ’83 has owned two businesses and managed a large hotel in Anchorage, but education is her passion; she’s taught in a community school, served as a K-12 substitute teacher, homeschooled, and become a strong advocate for quality public education in Alaska, where she is running for Congress. She says, “I’ve raised four kids in Alaska, using a variety of educational approaches. When you’ve graduated from one of the most rigorous high schools in the lower 48, you feel an obligation to make sure your children are challenged. My oldest son is getting his Ph.D. from Stanford, another is at NYU Law, my youngest is a senior in high school, and my daughter, an NYU political science major, is taking time off of school to volunteer full time on my campaign.” Alyse adds, “Some of my favorite gatherings are simply in my living room; for those who remember my tenure at Bishop’s, there is a lot of singing!”
 
 
How did you get involved in politics?
 
Six years ago, I attended a school board meeting because funding cuts were threatening the art teacher position at my son's school. We were not only losing art, but the core of our school counselors, in a state where teen suicide rate is the highest in the nation. After that meeting, I helped create Great Alaska Schools. We organized parents, students and community members across Alaska. l had to learn the issues quickly, how health care costs intersected with education funding and the politics preventing children and schools from getting what they need. I am stepping up for Alaska, for women and for the values I learned at Bishop’s.
 
How did your Bishop's experience shape you?
 
I was the last and only six-year boarder in my class. I didn’t realize, until I was raising my own kids, how fortunate I was that Bishop’s was there to catch me when my own family had fallen apart. For me, Bishop’s did more than change my life; it saved my life. It felt at times that Headmistress Dorothy Williams kept boarding going until I graduated because she knew I had nowhere else to go. Ruth “Willie” Wilforth took me to her home on breaks and came to Alaska to visit me. Willie knitted Christmas presents for every student in her dorm each year. I still hang a Santa Claus ornament she made on our family tree.I learned through Willie and others how kindness and intentional care can truly change a child’s life, and that it was our duty to help whenever and wherever we saw a need. This dedication was common at Bishop’s and those of us who called it home actively worked to ensure that others felt the same. I appreciated that during my time there the faculty and staff were engaged in growing leaders; they addressed the challenges of educating children to learn empathy and action. My formative experiences at Bishop’s grew me into who I am today.
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The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for students in grades six through twelve who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.