Work Hard, Play Hard: Meet our Dean of Instruction, Mr. Avalos

A strong cup of coffee in hand, a passion for education (especially social studies), and a game or two of League of Legends – can you guess who this leader at El Paso Leadership Academy (EPLA) East is? It’s Mr. Enrique Avalos, our Dean of Instruction, that’s who! At our tuition-free middle and high school, Mr. Avalos is shaping great futures with robust academics, a visionary leadership program, and fun-filled breaks in our eSports lab.

What do you love about EPLA East? What sets it apart from other schools?

EPLA East gives scholars the education they deserve and need to thrive in an increasingly international college and career pathway. More than that, it gives them the skills to lead initiatives of their own. The ambassadors for the high school Houses not only introduce ideas but execute on them to actually bring them to life in the school. Scholars are encouraged to get outside of the school community, getting support to participate in events like the National Hispanic Institute’s Great Debate, where one of our scholars earned first place in Oratory. It is also a place where any new idea is entertained, so it was not a challenge to implement eSports. We had the idea and were greenlit in less than two weeks.

What roles do you and have you played at EPLA?

After earning my Masters of Arts in Education, I was looking for a place that was interested in serving the needs of students in the Southwest of the United States. Many great opportunities arose but none as great as EPLA because it was not only looking to serve students in academics but also in teaching them how to be leaders. I joined the EPLA Flagship team in 2017 as a Social Studies teacher. I transitioned into being the first Humanities teacher at EPLA, then transferred to EPLA East in its very first year as the Dean of Instruction.

At EPLA East, I have had the privilege of working with identifying and getting our high school students to take part in the National Hispanic Institute. I was also the first eSports coach at Flagship and brought the program to EPLA East for our middle and high school scholars. I was also an advisor to the high school ambassadors for our unique House System.

I am heavily involved in setting up the eSports program at EPLA East. I choose the games, help set the schedules, and ensure that all systems are ready. Other than that, I have my duties as a Dean and I really enjoy the many festivals that are thrown at this campus.

What does a day in the life of Mr. Avalos, Dean of Instruction, look like at EPLA East?

Usually, I arrive at school with coffee in hand. I immediately head to my office to review my calendar and to add any new priorities for the day. From then on it is meeting with students and teachers. I go down to the lunch room to monitor as they eat and then go outside for recess. Afterwards, it’s all about observing our teachers in action, taking notes, and then planning what path we can take to deliver even better instruction. Then it’s the end of the day, we dismiss the scholars, and I head home to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

What do you love most about your role as a teacher and administrator? What is the most challenging?

When I was teaching, the best part was the “light bulb” moment. When a student who was struggling realized the core concept and how it could be used in the real-world. That was the most exciting aspect of teaching. It still is, even as an administrator. 

The biggest challenge would be hitting the mental “brick wall” when I was planning lessons. I’m still human and I don’t like to think that I don’t have the answers. Luckily, my team is always there to lend a helping hand and new ideas.

When you’re not engaging with our EPLA East community, what do you like to do?

My favorite thing to do is playing competitive video games. Any frustrations I have are taken out on there. Otherwise, I love watching Fantasy shows, Korean dramas, and almost any genre of movie. And scholars know about my obsession with listening to KPop!

In your opinion, what makes a great leader?

A great leader is someone who can take a step back, listen to the input of the people around them, and use the best parts of those ideas to execute a fantastic plan.

Mr. Avalos is a marvelous example of our dynamic leadership team for our scholars at EPLA East tuition-free public charter school, serving middle and high school students. Come learn more about our school, administrators, teachers, and scholars by calling us at (915) 298-3901 or fill out an application today and join our forward-thinking middle and high school. Enrolling now for 2022-2023!

About El Paso Leadership Academy East 

El Paso Leadership Academy East (EPLA East) is a small, tuition-free public charter school serving middle and high school students in El Paso Texas. We’re reimagining education from the ground up, starting with our intentionally designed building and continuing that with our scholars’ innovative and personalized education. We work with community partnerships in preparing our scholars to become dynamic leaders in the 21st century. We stress the importance of collaboration and accountability in all we do. Join our growing school, enroll today!