Ayala retires after 12 years of service on Rialto Board of Education

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Mr. Joseph Ayala is retiring from the Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) Board of Education after 12 years of service to the community. Ayala credits former Congressman Joe Baca, Sr. for inspiring him to embark on this public service journey shortly before his retirement from Baldwin Park Unified where he taught for 34 years.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, and confident the school board will continue to move Rialto in the right direction,” Ayala remarked. “I’m not leaving under bad terms or ill will, I wanted to make sure that I had that opportunity that things went smooth so that when I left I would feel good about myself and everything I did for the community.”

According to Ayala, who began his tenure in 2008, the board’s most important decision is to find a competent superintendent that is compatible with the community. 

Photo RUSD: Joseph Ayala, RUSD Board President (at the time) honored United Farmworkers and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta during the renaming ceremony for the RUSD Cesar Chavez/Dolores Huerta Center of Education in March 2010. Ayala voted in favor of dedicating the Center of Education for Dolores Huerta along with his fellow board trustees.

“Our goal was to help these children and to find ways to advance them and move them in the right direction, and you have to have a leader and that’s the superintendent,” Ayala indicated. “So that was the most important decision, and maybe responsibility that we have as a board member.”

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RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, hired in 2015, expressed his appreciation of Ayala’s service.

“It has been a pleasure serving under Mr. Ayala’s leadership as a member of the board of education.  He has been the consummate professional,” Avila reflected.  “And his advocacy for students, staff members, and parents has been nothing short of remarkable.  His storytelling as a means to convey special messages will be foundational to his legacy. “

Mr. Joseph W. Martinez, Clerk of the Board, Rialto Unified School District, elected the same year, shared that Ayala referred to him as a “brother from another mother.“

“With Joe Ayala, the Board was always able to work for the good of the Rialto Unified School District. I will miss you my brother,” Martinez remarked. “What better legacy can one want than for it to be said, ‘Mr. Ayala is leaving Rialto a better place than he found it.’”

Ayala underscored the importance of striking a balance between serving three fundamental entities – students, staff and parents.

“Over the years I found it important that we had balance; balance comes by understanding the students’ needs, understanding the staff’s needs, and the parents’ (needs),” Ayala noted. “School districts that listen to those three entities will succeed.”

In Ayala’s opinion Rialto has achieved that balance, evident in the diversity of the board.

“We all have different styles in how we govern, and knowing that we have competent board members made it a lot easier to leave,” he said. “We were more than fair with all three – the kids, the parents and the staff – we didn’t ignore any of them, we treated them all fair and I feel real good about that.”

RUSD Board member Mr. Edgar Montes noted that Ayala’s legacy and contributions to the community will endure.

“Mr. Ayala has been instrumental in helping our district get through some of our most challenging times, the entire school district and community will be forever grateful to him. We thank and salute him for his 12 years of service to the parents and students of the 5 municipalities RUSD encompasses…” expressed Montes. “We thank him for his loyal support to our teachers, classified employees, and superintendent. His name will live on in our school district, engraved on multiple brass metal plaques hung on new and remodeled buildings, stadiums, performing arts centers, parent centers, and much, much more.”

What will Ayala miss the most when he retires from the Board of Education?

“I will miss the staff, I will miss the parents who supported me, and I will miss the smiling faces of the children, without a doubt.”

Ayala’s last school board meeting will occur on Wednesday, Dec. 16, after which he looks forward to travelling with wife Bobbi and spending more time with his family.

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