Getting to Know… President Dave Villafana

Dave Villafana stands in front of the CEA offices

CEA President Dave Villafana grew up in Yorba Linda, but after attending CSU Chico in the 1970s, he settled in the Santa Clara valley with his wife Nancy and focused on developing a teaching career.

Dave Villafana: I looked at PE, forestry, business, and I decided that education was what I really enjoyed doing. I liked working with kids. I worked for a private school for a year, then taught in private industry for six years. I’ve been with CUSD 28 years now.

How did you become involved in CEA?

I met Jeff Warner and we talked about the importance of unions. I was at my first assignment, a half-year Willie Brown fill-in at Blue Hills. After that was over, I was transferred over to Lincoln, went to a union meeting and was asked to become the lead rep for Lincoln.

From there you’ve served as a bargaining team member, a VP and a past president, so there’s a lot of experience under your belt. What’s one piece of advice you were given as a new teacher that still holds true?

Dale Heap told me, “Always have your door open when you have kids in the room.” It just pays to be transparent, so that nothing can be said that people won’t know. That’s what I want to bring to my presidency. My door is always open, and I will be as transparent as possible. I will always remember I work for you.

You’ve done so many things in the last 28 years. What would you say is your professional career highlight?

Knowing I’ve tried my hardest – I haven’t slowed down in 28 years.

Speaking of, we hear you have a lot of hobbies.

Sure. Golf, racquetball, pickleball, hiking, bicycling. I especially like hiking in Foothill Park in Palo Alto. I don’t belong to any particular social clubs, but I’ve been playing racquetball with the same core group of people for 35 years. Golf is newer. I just started going out to golf with a group led up by Andy Garrito. It’s called “Right Side of the Grass” because we like that we’re still above it. Not too bad when the average age of our players is 84!

This post is the first in an ongoing series highlighting members of our CEA community. Know someone whose work accomplishments or personal commitments we should all be hearing about? Please comment with your suggestions or email Communications Director Melanie Davenport (

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