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For Bill Avey, BK checks all the boxes

The following story appeared in the August 26 Idaho Catholic Register.

Bishop Kelly President Bill Avey with his son, Nathan, wife Christine and daughter, Maggie, at a Notre Dame football game. Avey succeeds Rich Raimondi as president of the Catholic high school. (Courtesy photo/Bill Avey)


By Gene Fadness

Editor


Bill Avey’s job as the new president of Bishop Kelly High School is going to be challenging because things are going so well.


“Typically a leader prefers to take over an organization or an entity that needs a turnaround. You can diagnose the problem, turn it around and make it a much better running operation. It’s much more challenging when you choose to take on a role where, by and large, things are going pretty well,” said Avey. “So the goal now is one of continuous improvement to BK’s core mission of improving the spirit, mind and body of all our students.”


Avey succeeds Rich Raimondi as president of the Catholic high school after Raimondi retired this summer.


He can point to no better example as to how well Bishop Kelly works than in the lives of his two very different children.


His son, Nathan, “struggled to acclimate” after enrolling at Bishop Kelly. “One teacher – Cheryl Hutchinson – got him involved in cross country and track. When he graduated, he was as ‘BK’ as any kid could be. He’s now a junior at Loyola Marymount University, studying physics and getting a 4.0. He’s there because Cheryl called him into her office during his first week of school and gave him the direction he needed.”


His daughter, now a senior at BK, was just the opposite of her brother and very actively engaged from the beginning of her time at the school. She decided to run cross-country, play varsity soccer and participate in speech and debate. “All three of her coaches worked together to figure out how to get her to all of her meets. And, at some of her meets, her other coaches show up to watch her compete. At how many schools would that happen?”


“That was my experience with BK even before I got the phone call to apply for the chance to work here,” Avey said.


Avey’s parents met while they were students at Gonzaga University. After graduation, his father enlisted in the Marines, stationed in Hawaii where Avey was born. They later moved to California where he finished high school in Sacramento. He met his wife, Christine, while a student at UC-Davis. She has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of San Francisco.


Avey holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s of science in Managerial Economics from the University of California at Davis.


After graduating from Notre Dame, he took a position at Hewlett-Packard where he would spent the next nearly 25 years. He worked across multiple business units, most recently heading up Hewlett-Packard Education, a division of the company focused on improving learning outcomes for students. Avey was instrumental in helping schools connect to technology resources during the height of the COVID pandemic.


The Aveys decided about five years ago that after he turned 55, he would retire from the for-profit world and launch a second career in a more service-oriented role. He had only three conditions: it had to be in Idaho, it had to positively impact Idaho, and it had to be one of the fields for which he is most passionate: working with people with disabilities, working to promote the arts, or be involved in education.


When he heard that Rich Raimondi – also a former Hewlett-Packard executive and a role model for Avey when the two were at HP together – was retiring, Avey didn’t give much thought to the idea of succeeding Raimondi because he was not yet 55 and still 18 months out from getting full retirement from HP. “Plus, I assumed there would be one of those many names in the BK and Catholic community here who likely would end up in that role.”


His thought process changed, how-ever, when he was called and invited to apply for the position. Even though it was early and there would be a significant financial hit, there was much more to gain. There was no doubt that each of his criterion of his post-HP retirement life would be met: Idaho, impacting Idaho positively, and education.


Now, his wife, who also had a successful career at Hewlett-Packard, has returned to the company. “She goes to work, and I get to go to school,” he says. “Going to school is more fun.”


He noted BK’s growing enrollment, now 931. “Every one of those 931 are now my kids; not just them, but their families. The things I do every day don’t just affect the students, but their families as well. It’s fun and rewarding. I could not have imagined it working out as well as it has.”


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