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With a master’s degree in Vocational Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Education conferred by Western State College of Colorado, Carolyn Covington has always been a strong advocate for innovative and inclusive education in Alaska. She began her professional career as a teacher in Whittier, then taught high school in Palmer and ended her professional career as assistant professor at Mat-Su College (UAA).
Covington was successful in receiving grants to develop a district-wide Diversified Occupations program in the Mat-Su Borough School District and another, the Skill Center, providing open-entry, open-exit classes at Mat-Su College. These two programs made it possible for her students, primarily women, to successfully develop office occupations and related skills to complete high school, earn an associate’s degree in Office Occupations and move on to job placement or further education.
Covington was a founding member in 1980 of the Valley Women’s Resource Center, the first resource and shelter in the Mat-Su Borough for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. As a political activist, she served 29 years as secretary of the Alaska Democratic Party and ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature in 1998. She is a tireless volunteer and board member of many non-profit organizations and continues to be a strong political voice in the community. Both in education and community service, Covington is known for her advocacy for women, the disabled and other persons with special needs. She is described as a “model feminist and human being” and was nominated for teaching young women “the way to self-actualization by role-modeling her equal-rights values every waking moment of her life.”
Covington’s service to the community is extensive. In addition to being a charter board member and having filled every executive board position for Valley Women’s Resource Center, she helped to organize the Mat-Su chapter of P-Flag, was a charter member of Mat-Su Coalition for Choice, served on the board and as president of the board of Valley Hospital Association, and served as a board member and secretary of the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union. For 15 years, Covington has served as secretary-treasurer of Valley Residential Services, which provides housing for low-income and other persons with special needs. Radio Free Palmer, a young community radio station, has profited from Covington’s expertise as treasurer and volunteer.
Covington also maintains financial records for Church of the Covenant, Mat-Su Senior Services, Mat-Su Democrats and Valley Christian Conference. She is also pianist for Church of the Covenant in Palmer.
Covington has received several awards from the Alaska Democratic Party in recognition of her service and achievements: the 1996 Mat Su Democrat of the Year Award; 2002, “Queen Bess” Award given to women for service to party, state, and nation; 2004, Alaska Democratic Party’s Lifetime Achievement Award; 2012, Outstanding Service Award on the occasion of her retirement as secretary. However, Carolyn would say that her greatest achievement is the love of her husband and their large family.
Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/0LZKJXOgGzQ