FACES of Orange County

Helping Schools Succeed

Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle, Chief Executive Officer of Principal’s Exchange

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Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle, Chief Executive Officer of Principal’s Exchange

For over two decades, Principal’s Exchange has been transforming the most persistently low-achieving schools and districts in California. As the organization’s visionary CEO, Dr. Robin Avelar is directly involved with the design and development of the organization’s innovative educational programs. Known as an “equity warrior,” Avelar’s achievements include a highly successful collaboration with the education nonprofit, THINK Together. “By partnering with THINK Together we are able to extend learning beyond the traditional school day to help students rapidly and dramatically improve their academic profiles.” Since 1997, Principal’s Exchange has supported nearly 200 schools and 22 districts; many underperforming schools experience dramatic improvements in as little as five years. A recent success includes a once failing 20,000-student district in which one out of two students is currently graduating from high school university ready. “We believe every student is able to graduate college and career ready if we do our job,” she says. “Our goal is to debunk the myth that some students cannot be high achievers. People’s beliefs change when evidence challenges their beliefs. Rather than change people’s beliefs we change achievement levels. That’s why I love what I do.”

Photograph by Jason Wallis Photography

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