Alysse Castro is a powerful leader of effective and equitable public schools. She is an expert in Alternative Education that breaks the school-to-prison pipeline and changes lives for students, families, and communities. Alysse is known for building schools that engage students and teachers by rethinking what is possible in school - and beyond. Bringing deep expertise in school finance and systems, Alysse helps schools do more of what matters: personalizing learning, building systems of support for students and staff, and developing educators to break free from the bureaucracy to spend more time with kids. Alysse has consistently built schools that address the historical inequities in educational opportunities that confront most of Alameda County’s youth, because your educational future should not depend on your zip code.
Alysse was raised in California public schools and she has never left. She walked to kindergarten with her neighborhood classmates, then began her educational activism protesting the closing of her middle school. Alysse kicked off her lifetime of dedication to school-community partnerships by working in the teen health clinic in high school. Alysse earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from UC Santa Cruz and staffed Planned Parenthood clinics before beginning her teaching career in a struggling urban middle school where she was mentored by a highly collaborative team of veteran teachers- including her mom. Frustrated with the systemic inefficiency of public schooling, Alysse was determined to make a space where underserved students and overworked teachers could thrive. She completed her Masters in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute, which she credits for helping her redefine what is possible in urban schools, and began teaching youth on probation in a Continuation High School, which she credits for helping her redefine what needs to be done.
Alysse has gone on to lead a growing portfolio of public schools that break the school-to-prison pipeline: interrupting truancy, re-engaging youth in their schools and their society, helping students turn their passions into career and technical skills that change their lives. Along the way she returned to UC Berkeley as faculty, teaching rising educational leaders to manage their school resources in service of their educational vision. Alysse currently applies her expertise in alternative education and effective school administration to ensuring that County schools act as a safety net for all of our children.
Alysse was recently recognized as an Alameda Local Hero for her work as President of Alameda Family Services - a community agency providing $7 million dollars of early childhood, school based wellness, and family support to our kids which serves as a model for how to embed systems of support in public schools.