Our Alumni Spotlight for the month of October, Ann Avila, attended F.W. Gross Elementary School from kindergarten to 2nd grade, Hopkins Magnet School from 3rd to 5th grade, and Patti Welder Middle School before attending and graduating from Stroman High School in 1996.
During her time as a student at Stroman High School, Avila was a member of the Stroman Raider Band, achieving section leader in her senior year, a time that Avila holds very close to her heart. “Being part of the Raider family and my time at Stroman High was the most influential of my life,” said Avila. “My favorite memory from high school is marching out onto the football field under the Friday night lights for half time shows.” Those times not only created cherished memories for Avila, but long-lasting friendships as well. “The Stroman Raider Band is family,” she said. “The time we spent together has formed relationships that last generations.” Apart from band, Avila was also a member of the National Honor Society at Stroman. At Patti Welder Middle School, she was an equipment manager for the girls’ basketball and track teams and was a member of the Spanish Club.
After graduating from Stroman High School, Avila attended Sam Houston State University (SHSU) where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in early childhood education. During her time as a student at SHSU, she also played trumpet and marched in the Bearkat Marching Band and was a member of Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Sorority. After graduating from SHSU, Avila went on to earn her Master of Education in Administration from Lamar University. During this time, she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
Avila is now an assistant principal at Patti Welder Middle School, the same middle school she attended as a student. Her reason for returning? “I believe as educators we enable people to realize their potential,” said Avila. “My purpose for returning to VISD is to support both staff and students in becoming their choice version of themselves.” Before becoming assistant principal at Patti Welder Middle School, Avila was an Innovation Specialist in the Victoria ISD Office of Innovation. As an Innovation Specialist, she worked with campus leadership to coordinate district support around STEM education implementation in Pre-K-12 and monitor district-authorized school partnerships.
Avila had many teachers that she felt left a great impact on her life and helped her discover and develop some of her passions. “Mrs. Carol Jones in 2nd grade at F.W. Gross saw my potential and assisted my mother in filling out a magnet school application to attend Hopkins Fine Arts Magnet School, which allowed me the opportunity to cultivate my passion for dance and music,” said Avila. “My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Jester, invited a local poet, Mrs. Winifred Schramm, into the classroom to work with students which developed my love for reading. Mr. Jesse Rayos’ continuous intervention and support through middle school and high school prepared me for college. Finally, the dynamic trio: Mr. Randy Kelley, Barbara McLaughin, and Dr. Joyce M. Slone at Stroman High School provided me with the opportunities to learn that determination, hard work, and perseverance were skills I needed to achieve my “&.”
Today, Avila sees teachers supporting and wanting what is best for their students, much like her teachers did. “Working alongside teachers who impact the lives of our children brings me joy,” said Avila. “Most importantly, I believe school should be fun and student centered.”
Avila leaves advice for current students, saying, “Pursue your passion. Believe in the genius you possess knowing there are no lesser paths, only multiple possibilities for the future you choose.”
Thank you, Ann, for being a part of #TeamVISD!
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Graisyn Nieto is the communications specialist at Victoria ISD.