ACSA’s Adult Education Administrator of the Year Ivan Ayro says his proudest recent accomplishment is creating an adult school for Charter Oak USD, literally from the ground up.
Ayro creates adult ed school from the ground up
October 4, 2021
ACSA Administrators of the Year graphic.
Name: Ivan Ayro Award: Adult Education Administrator of the Year Title: Director of Adult Education and Career Technical Education, Charter Oak Unified School District ACSA highlights: Member since 2013; ACSA Region 15 Council Representative for Adult Education, 2018-Present; Charter Oak Administrator Support Team Charter President, 2017.
In 2017, Charter Oak USD separated from its former adult education program in order to create a program tailored to the community’s needs. Ivan Ayro left a successful high school principalship to establish and open a new adult education school from the ground up. This meant developing curriculum, budgeting, marketing and dealing with construction and renovations. He also wrote job descriptions and hired an Adult Education Principal, office staff and teachers. The program, which now serves more than 900 adults, is quickly becoming one of the premier Adult Education programs in the San Gabriel Valley due to the high quality and relevance of the courses offered.

Ayro serves on local and state consortia for Adult Education and has applied for and received multiple grants that have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to serve adult learners in the community.
“He has overseen improvements in the program infrastructure and offerings, which has resulted in tangible and meaningful outcomes for adult students, including industry certifications and English language acquisition,” said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Danny Kim. “Under Dr. Ayro’s leadership, the Adult Education Campus has undergone facility improvements and modernization, which has provided students access to state-of-the-art learning environments.”
What’s your favorite book or quote on leadership? “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is one of my favorite books of all time. It is not necessarily a book on leadership, but has pertained to various aspects of my life. I have to admit, my journey through the world of administration has been a roller coaster ride with high and low points. As a leader, whenever things get challenging, or unpopular decisions must be made, I usually re-read this book for the hundredth time and come to the realization that everything will be OK.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Everything you do is about building relationships.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? People are usually surprised to find out that I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association as well as a Certified Athletic Trainer through the National Athletic Trainers Association. Sprained your ankle? I can evaluate, care for, and treat it. Looking for a workout program to help with your golf swing? No problem!
What made you want to become a school administrator? I was a math teacher and high school athletic trainer for eight years before transitioning to administration. To address concerns regarding student achievement and math scores, I was asked to lead a group of math teachers to align pacing, curriculum and create common benchmarks district-wide (this was before Professional Learning Communities became the norm). The experience made me realize that I could have a much broader impact on student achievement than I could within my four classroom walls.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? As a former high school principal, I was always on the go, working long hours and at times through the weekends. I kept up with the nonstop pace for about six years until I had a serious health scare at the age of 39. This was a big wake up call, and really made me re-evaluate all aspects of my life including my career goals. Maintaining work-life balance has now become a top priority.
How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? ACSA has provided a vast amount of educational and leadership opportunities. More importantly, ACSA afforded me the opportunity to network and meet new administrators throughout California.
What has the impact of the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis taught you? The pandemic emphasized the need to be flexible and pivot at a moment’s notice. It also demonstrated the resiliency of our students and staff. As we transition back to in-person instruction, this experience has taught me that we can continue to create new courses that are in-person, hybrid, as well as online to support all learners. There are endless possibilities on how we can develop courses and educational experiences for our students from this point forward.
ACSA’s Adult Education Administrator of the Year Ivan Ayro.
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