Pedro Avila. Photo courtesy of Gavilan College.
Pedro Avila. Photo courtesy of Gavilan College.

Gavilan College announced it selected Pedro Avila to become the next superintendent/president for the district. Avila was one of three finalists in the months-long search process for the replacement of current Superintendent/President Kathleen Rose who will retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Avila is currently the vice president, student services/assistant superintendent for Santa Rosa Junior College. He has been at SRJC for five years.

Gavilan held public forums for the three finalists on May 18 and the Gavilan Board of Trustees interviewed the candidates May 19, the release said. It added that the board met in closed session May 19 and reviewed all submitted comments on the finalist from the forum feedback forms, conducted final interviews of the three finalists and deliberated in the selection of the next superintendent/president.

“The Governing Board plans to place the employment agreement on the agenda for public review and approval consideration at their regular meeting scheduled for June 14, 2022,” the release said.

Edwin Diaz, Gavilan Governing Board President shared:

“From the beginning our Governing Board has been committed to providing continuity leadership for the college,” Gavilan Board President Edwin Diaz said. “It was a very tight timeline for the president/superintendent search committee to produce 3 finalists, and for our Human Resources Department to organize the Open Community Forums. On behalf of the board, I want to thank all our community members, faculty and staff, for their engagement by submitting their questions and feedback. We are excited to select Dr. Pedro Avila.”

According to Gavilan, Avila has served in the community college system since 2003 and has experience in both single college and multi-college community college districts in California. At Santa Rosa Junior College Avila is involved in decisions with a focus on the district’s overall fiscal health and stability, leads the district’s enrollment management efforts and serves as the liaison between the Executive Cabinet and the Council for Racial Justice and Equity. He is also leading the construction of an on-campus affordable student housing facility for 352 students.

He has also worked at State Center Community College District in Fresno and West Hills Community College District in Coalinga in various roles in his 12 years there.

Avila was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. At the age of nine, his family emigrated to Castroville where his parents worked as farmworkers.

“Dr. Avila has dedicated his career to improving college-going rates for under-served student populations,” according to Gavilan’s biography of Avila. “His passion is helping colleges become ‘student ready’ by implementing innovative strategies that enhance student access, engagement, equity, and success.”

It adds that he was recognized as the Chief Student Services Officer (CSSO) of the year by the CSSO Association in 2020 and that in 2021 the SRJC Student Government Association presented him with the Outstanding Service to Students award.

Avila earned degrees in Latino Studies and Business from Fresno State University. He also possesses a master’s degree in Business Administration from Rockhurst University and a Certificate in Institutional Performance Assessment from Harvard’s Higher Education Institute. He holds a Doctorate in Community College Policy from the University of Maryland.