Growing Inland Achievement President and CEO, Dr. Carlos Ayala, to retire

Dr. Carlos Ayala speaks at GIA’s annual Toward a Shared Vision Summit. Valley News/Growing Inland Achievement photo

President and CEO of Growing Inland Achievement, Dr. Carlos Ayala, will retire in June.

GIA serves both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties as a regional, cross-sector network of education, government, nonprofit and business partners in the Inland Empire; collectively, they work towards a shared vision of educational and economic success.

“It has been an honor to serve the students of the Inland Empire,” Ayala said. “I have learned a great deal about the affordances and constraints our students, families, institutions and community-based organizations face when it comes to student success.”

Ayala, 62, has more than 25 years of service in public education. During his tenure as CEO, Ayala is credited with working with the network’s partners to establish GIA as a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization, more than doubling the size of the organization and raising millions of dollars for Inland Empire education.

Under his guidance and working with the network members, GIA was accepted as one of only six organizations in the U.S. by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to participate in its Intermediaries for Scale program, also known as Higher Endeavor, bringing $10 million of support to the region for postsecondary transformation reforms.

“I want to thank the GIA Board of Directors and employees for their commitment to the people and students of the Inland Empire,” Ayala said. “I also wish to thank the vast array of people who are committed to changing the economy of the Inland Empire through education. Their work is notable and I remain convinced that the path forward is at your doorstep, engage collectively.”

The Board of Directors for GIA will oversee the process of choosing Ayala’s successor.

“As its first CEO, Carlos established the organization, including a set of processes to help us move forward,” Dr. Kim Wilcox, GIA Board Chair and Chancellor of UC Riverside, said. “I’m personally grateful for his efforts.”

“Dr. Ayala brought a deep knowledge of the education landscape, strong leadership, and a passion for positively impacting student lives to our organization,” Ann Marie Sakrekoff, COO of Growing Inland Achievement, said. “He is leaving GIA in a great position to succeed in our next chapter. Under Dr. Ayala’s leadership, GIA has become nationally recognized.”

GIA’s shared vision is that by 2035, San Bernardino and Riverside counties will be widely recognized for their educated workforce, thriving communities and vibrant economy that creates prosperity for all.