Carlos Ayala, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

January 15, 2019

Growing Inland Achievement collaborative announces appointment of new CEO

January 15, 2019 — SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.
Carlos Ayala, a longtime educator, administrator and currently dean of California State University, Sonoma’s College of Education, has been named the new chief executive officer of Growing Inland Achievement (GIA), an education collaborative focused on improving the economic outlook of the Inland Empire by raising the region’s educational attainment rates.

“After an extensive search, we are confident that Dr. Ayala is the best person to lead Growing Inland Achievement in our goal to increase the number of students in our region who attend and graduate with college degrees, and ultimately help grow the region’s economy,” said search committee member of the GIA Governing Board and president of Cal State San Bernardino Tomás D. Morales. GIA was created to help strengthen the Inland Empire’s economy. One of the most populous regions in California with 4.5 million people, its students are less likely to earn college degrees. According to recent data from College Futures Foundation, for every 1,000 high school freshmen in the Inland Empire, only 151 will complete a B.A. degree. The regional poverty rate is 17.5 percent, and the median household income is $56,087 according to Data USA.

Ayala said he was eager to contribute his experience and leadership to the collaborative. “I am excited to be joining Growing Inland Achievement. My professional goal is to unleash the transformative power of education to support all individuals, their families and their communities to be economically viable, be engaged community members, and be appreciative of humanities cultures and diversity,” Ayala said. “And like the GIA, we will carry out this transformation through team building and collaboration; working across disciplines and divisions; creating academic, community, workforce and business partnerships; and through supporting innovations in teaching and learning with an eye on student outcomes.” “Dr. Ayala will bring his deep knowledge of the education landscape and a passion to positively impact the lives of students within the Inland Empire to his leadership of Growing Inland Achievement,” said Paul Granillo, search committee member and president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Judith White added, “We are excited to work with Dr. Ayala and know his leadership will result in increasing success for GIA and the Inland Empire.” In addition to Granillo, Morales and White, the other GIA governing board members include Kim Wilcox, chancellor of UC Riverside; Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County superintendent of schools; Wolde-Ab Isaac, chancellor of Riverside Community College District; Henry Shannon, president of Chaffey College; and Sheila Thornton, president and CEO of OneFuture Coachella Valley. Ayala started his academic work as a chemist, science and math teacher, small business owner, and school principal in Calexico, California. Later at Stanford University, he learned to become an educational researcher. At Sonoma State, Ayala taught science methods and educational research courses, helped create a joint doctoral program in educational leadership, chaired the Faculty Standards and Affairs Committee, and served as the school’s director of Assessment and Accreditation. His area of research is assessment and the use of data for continuous program improvement. This work applied the latest in educational technology.

The National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, Chevron Foundation, and private funds have sponsored his efforts. This work extends into the community with the launch of a donor-supported Educational Data and Leadership course offered to school leaders, nonprofit directors and others who lead with data. As dean, Ayala helped create an early childhood studies major, a Maker Educator Certificate Program, and a financial literacy program. He co-chaired the President’s Diversity Council and the President’s Budget Advisory Council, and led the school through a national accreditation with four commendations. He has worked across the university to support Sonoma’s first successful HSI grant, the campus Maker Space and Maker Faculty Learning Community, and campus-wide social justice initiatives. At the CSU system level, he served as chair of the CSU Education Deans group and co-led a system-wide effort to create Maker Spaces supporting innovation, building, creativity and problem solving across all 23 CSU campuses. He also supports numerous K-12, community college, and community programs to support all students in their college and career goals. Ayala has bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz, a master’s in educational leadership from San Diego State University, and a doctorate in education from Stanford University.

The GIA is committed to building a cross-sector collaborative that creates a well-educated workforce, thriving communities, and a vibrant economy. It was awarded a $5 million Governor’s Innovation Award in Higher Education secured by Cal State San Bernardino, in partnership with UC Riverside, Chaffey College, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, OneFuture Coachella Valley, Riverside Community College District, San Bernardino and Riverside County Superintendents and other stakeholders on behalf of the region.

Growing Inland Achievement’s goals include:

• Align educational policy and initiatives regionally via a bi-county cradle-to-career collective impact model.
• Increase college preparedness, particularly in math, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in the number of students requiring remediation at matriculation from high school to college within five years.
• Increase baccalaureate, associate, certificate and credential attainment by 15 percent across the two counties within five years.
• Increase the number of students completing the baccalaureate degree within six years by 10 percent across the two counties within five years.
• Improve career preparedness through strengthened partnership with industry to better align education with workforce development needs.


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Ann Marie Allen, Senior Director

Partnering with nonprofits for executive search since 1984.

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