Cuesta College trustee Gaye Galvan resigns after 17 years of 'selfless service'

Cuesta College trustee Gaye Galvan, a champion of education and longtime advocate of programs for at-risk youth, has resigned after 17 years on the board.

Galvan, who joined the Cuesta College Board of Trustees in 1996, was the longest serving member on the board. She said she resigned for health reasons.

“It was really not an easy decision to make,” said Galvan, adding that because of macular degeneration the night-time board meetings were difficult to attend.

During her tenure Galvan helped oversee the growth of the North County campus, drastic budget cuts and the college’s recent efforts to retain its accreditation.

“She is one of those selfless volunteers who strongly believes in education,” said Gil Stork, president of Cuesta College.

The board voted Wednesday to make a provisional appointment to fill her seat until the Nov. 4 election, when voters will choose a permanent replacement to complete the four-year term ending in 2016.

Galvan’s dedication to the community and her volunteer efforts span decades. She has served on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Education since 1981 and on the Grizzly Youth Academy Charter board. She will remain on both.

She is a recipient of the 29th Assembly District Woman of the Year Award, the Grace Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Guard Lifetime Achievement Award.

A former Marine, Galvan also helped found Friday Night Live for teens and Partnership for Children.

“I have such admiration for not only her passion for the importance of education, but the enthusiasm and spirit she brings to her many services roles,” said Stork. “Gaye has certainly left an important legacy of selfless service to Cuesta College, and our students are the direct beneficiary of that legacy.”

Fellow Trustee Angela Mitchell, who served alongside Galvan for 14 years, credits Galvan with bringing stability and level-headed thinking to the board.

“Her level of knowledge about education system and how it works is tremendous,” said Mitchell. “She always had students in mind and the district’s best interest at heart. It will be hard to replace her.”

Galvan said one of her major goals when joining the board was to improve communication between the college and the K-12 educational system.

“Gaye's unique position of serving on the Cuesta College Board and the County Board of Education is one of the reasons for the strong partnership between our high schools and Cuesta,” said county Superintendent Julian Crocker. “This partnership is very important since over half of the graduates from our county high schools attend community college."

Galvan said she leaves the board knowing that goal has been achieved.

“There will definitely be challenges on the road ahead for the college but I think we have good leadership now and things are much better than they have been in the past,” said Galvan. “Until the state starts funding community colleges like they should, there will continue to be problems.”

The board of trustees has 60 days to fill the vacant seat, according to California education code. Applications are now being accepted. The seat represents District 5 which includes the communities of Atascadero, California Valley, Creston, Garden Farms, Pozo, Santa Margarita, and portions of San Luis Obispo, Templeton and Cal Poly.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. March 6 the board will make the provisional appointment at a special meeting on March 11.

To learn more about position or suggest a possible candidate, call the President’s Office at 546-3118. The application is available online at