Avila says building relationships is key to his work in HR

September 30, 2019
Name: Felix Avila Award: Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the Year Title: Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources District: Ocean View School District Region: 17 ACSA highlights: Member for 24 years; secretary for Region 12; Negotiator of the Year for 2018; Negotiators’ Symposium presenter.  Felix Avila’s career in education began with a message his father frequently told him. “He told me that getting an education was a way to a better life for oneself and for one’s family — that he didn’t have the support during his youth and it was important to him that his children had his support and encouragement to move forward,” he said. Avila carries his father’s words and his classroom experiences with him as the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources at Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach.  Avila said the biggest challenge at every step of his career has been building relationships with staff, students and families, not because it was difficult but because it requires effort, attention, consideration and being present.  “I am extremely proud to be part of a team that has changed the culture of a school district that is continually working to improve our collaboration with all stakeholders, increase transparency and establish positive working relationships,” he said.  What’s your favorite book on Leadership? “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. What’s your favorite leadership quote?  “Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.” – Simon Sinek What’s your best strategy for work life balance? Discuss with your family upcoming events and check in with them as often as you can. Always make time for family during the week and especially on the weekends. It is extremely important to communicate to your spouse and children the time demands of the job for the coming week and daily as situations change.  What are the top life hacks you would recommend for a new administrator? 
  1. Be true to yourself in developing your leadership and in being a leader. 
  2. Decisions should never be made in haste. If you are not sure, take time to consult with a colleague, a mentor or your supervisor.  
  3. Integrity is one of the most important core values for all leaders, whether you are in the classified service, a certificated staff member, a supervisor, manager, or administrator.
Who is someone who inspires you? My children, Emilio, Cristina, Diego and Ileana, are my inspiration. They help keep me grounded and current in regards to how our culture and society has changed for our younger generation. I am proud of the way they take on challenges and overcome obstacles as they navigate their way to accomplishing their goals, which energizes me and makes me proud.
What’s your pre-game ritual to get ready for a big presentation? I begin with sitting with my team the day before to review the details of the presentation and/or meeting. I mentally talk through and visualize what is going to happen, as well as talk through all of the minute details. Before every presentation, I do a walk-through with the team at the venue, to ensure that all of the presentation media is set and working properly. Just before the presentation, I spend some quiet time alone to get into the zone. What was the best ACSA event you’ve attended? The Negotiators Symposium. Every time I attend the symposium, I not only learn more about current practices and the process but I leave with the confidence that I have increased my skill set. It also gives me time to network with my colleagues and ask questions about how they approach their negotiations. How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position?  Participating in ACSA Academies has been instrumental in increasing my knowledge about the various positions I have held and those future job opportunities.  What bucket list item do you hope to accomplish this year?  I will be working to continue to build on our district’s partnership and collaborative work with the Teachers’ Association and our local CSEA, Chapter 375. I look forward to planning our fourth annual Partnership with Administration and Labor Retreat with site administrators and teachers, planning our third annual Partnership with Administration and Labor Squared Retreat with our certificated/classified mangers and classified employees, to becoming a Partner District with CA LMI, to have and continue our successful negotiations, and to train all employees on our new Customer Service program.
ACSA 2019 Personnel/HR Administrator of the Year Felix Avila.
Assistant Superintendent Felix Avila is ACSA’s 2019 Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the Year.

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