Academics / Community

Teaching for democratic change: Ms. Lindsey Galvao

Ms. Lindsey Galvao came to Dana Hall this year as Student Affairs Coordinator, US History teacher, and Ninth-Grade Dean. At Dana Hall, Ms. Galvao has been able to pursue her passion of creating democratic change by educating girls. Before coming to Dana Hall, she worked at another all-girls school for a few years, but she wasn’t always a teacher. 

Ms. Galvao received her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, where she majored in history. While in school, she maintained a strong interest in early American history and went on to obtain her master’s degree in history at Brown University. Soon after, Ms. Galvao began teaching history and government classes at Primary Source, a nonprofit organization that works with teachers to educate global citizens. She noted, “it was really fun to be on the other side working with teachers. At first I was really intimidated to be teaching my peers, but it was so much fun.” 

After taking a break in her career when she had her second daughter, Ms. Galvao did a lot of freelance and volunteer work. Through community activism, she got to know her state representative, David Linsky. When she started considering going back to work, Linsky asked her to work for him. She said, “I thought, I have an interest in government, and I wanted to see where it went. It was a really great opportunity because it not only reminded me how much I missed teaching, but it gave me a cool, insider understanding of how the legislative process works. So I’ve tried to bring some of that experience to my classes here at Dana Hall.” 

When working as Representative Linsky’s aide, Ms. Galvao handled communication with Massachusetts citizens who would call for help with benefits, Mass Health, and unemployment. She had a number of responsibilities, including acting as the research director for the post-audit oversight committee that Representative David Linsky chairs, which roots out potential government corruption. Ms. Galvao also worked with the Health Policy Commission and researched for government court hearings against pharmacies taking too much money from taxpayers. 

After working in government for a year and a half, Ms. Galvao realized her true calling was teaching. She explained, “I was working with legislators who were able to write laws and make change, but it often felt like I couldn’t do anything about it. What I want to do is teach students how to stand up for themselves here so that change can be made on a broad scale.” 

To Ms. Galavo, teaching history accomplishes her goals to create democratic change in a much more meaningful way than being in a legislative building. She said, “change definitely happens from pressure from the outside. Being on the inside of the legislative process, it’s inertia. People will do things when they feel impelled or compelled to. I’m much more interested in what it means to be a democracy and how to be an active citizen, and there’s no better way for me to do that than to teach other women how to be active citizens. Having that experience in the legislature allowed me to see more effectively how to do that and how to work to lobby a government for your needs, but change doesn’t happen just from people sitting inside a building. Change has to happen from other pressures and that’s more what I’m interested in.” 

Ms. Galvao has especially loved teaching history at Dana Hall, not only because it’s what she studied and it’s where her interests align, but also because she believes “it’s really important to give women a place where they can really raise their voices, and I want you all to walk away from here being really strong feminists who go make changes in the world, and there’s no better place to do that in an all-girls school. I really think an all-girls school environment is so special. I don’t think there’s anything like it. I like the way that when women lift up other women, you can do incredible things.” 

As someone who found her calling and true interests through different educational, community, and employment opportunities, Ms. Galavo says, “I highly recommend all of you girls to take as many experiences as you can in high school and college and start exploring any area that interests you as much as you can.”

Since coming to Dana, Ms. Galvao’s favorite part about the school has been the people and community.  She says, “everyone is so supportive and loving. I love being able to spend so much time with my students, and getting to know them both inside and outside the classroom is what makes Dana awesome. And it doesn’t hurt to be on this gorgeous campus with awesome food and unbelievable different supports and to have so many different dynamic functions on the campus. I love that there are so many elements to the campus that so many girls can be a part of and engage with.”

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