Gavilan College has selected its new superintendent-president.
Pedro Avila comes from Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), where he serves as Vice President of Student Services.
College officials are negotiating Avila’s contract, and the college will place the employment agreement on the agenda for public review and approval consideration at the next board meeting scheduled on June 14.
Avila’s selection on May 19 came after a forum the day before that included three candidates.
Gavilan Governing Board President Edwin Diaz said the search followed a tight timeline.
“From the beginning our governing board has been committed to providing continuity leadership for the college,” he stated in a press release. “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.”
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.
He has also served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, Admissions & Records, and Information Systems at State Center Community College District in Fresno.
At West Hills Community College District in Coalinga, he served as Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, Accreditation Liaison, Vice President of Student Services, and Vice-Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management.
He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. When he was 9, his family emigrated to Castroville in 1984. There, his family lived in a friend’s garage, and made their living picking strawberries.
“We had to work for everything,” he said during the candidate forum. “Those were tough years for my family, but I’d do it all over again because through those experiences, we built character.”
He says his work is grounded in his experiences as an immigrant, and that his childhood experiences with poverty and housing insecurity shape his strong statewide advocacy for affordable student housing.
Avila is bicultural, bilingual and bi-literate in Spanish.
In 2020 he was recognized as the Chief Student Services Officer of the Year. In 2021 the SRJC Student Government Association presented him with the Outstanding Service to Students award.
He earned degrees in Latino Studies and Business from Fresno State University. He also holds 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 PhD in Community College Policy from the University of Maryland.
Avila is married to Jeanette Loaiza, who is also in the field of education. They have two young daughters.
Current Gavilan Superintendent and President Kathleen Rose announced her retirement in October, with her final day on July 1. She served 13 years at the college, six of which as superintendent.