Canutillo Cupid
A CISD Love Story
Posted on 02/14/2023
This is the image for the news article titled A CISD Love StoryIt’s Valentine’s Day and to celebrate this most romantic of holidays we bring you a love story between two Canutillo High School sweethearts who met in the 1980s and remain committed to each other … and the District. They’re not only CHS Alumni, they’re also dedicated employees.

It’s 1986 and a nervous Elisa Figueroa is walking into her math class at Canutillo High School on Bosque Road at the beginning of the year not knowing that just a couple of rows of behind her sat he man who would become her husband, the father of her child and a fellow Canutillo Independent School District employee.

Senior James Pavia was immediately captivated by Elisa and began a months-long courting that culminated the way many high-school romances do: with a note.

“I like a girl,” he wrote in a note to her.

“Who?” she wrote as she passed the note back.


The rest is history. Elisa, now Elisa Pavia, is the attendance clerk at Gonzalo & Sofia Garcia Elementary School and she has been happily married to James, a textbook clerk in the CISD Warehouse, for 30 years.

“I think I was definitely smitten first," Elisa recalled. “We started off as friends and we would talk all the time and when I found out he felt the same way, I was excited and embarrassed and didn’t know what to do next… I still have the note.”

That note would lead to a date to the movies to watch, what else, “Pretty in Pink.” Their burgeoning romance was solidified after the movie when James coyly reached over and grasped Elisa’s hand as they cruised Cielo Vista Mall.

Their relationship evolved from mall dates to full-blown boyfriend/girlfriend status for years, even after James graduated and Elisa remained a CHS student and cheerleader. They attended social events with friends, dances, homecoming, prom and never missed a chance to cheer on the Eagles.

Things seemed perfect, until after Elisa graduated and moved back to Dallas, where she had lived earlier in her childhood. The two kept a long-distance relationship, but the miles apart made things difficult for James.

“When she left I was thinking what now? What should I do?” James said. “I thought, this is it. She is staying here. I’m bringing her back. I realized she was my other half.”

James popped the question and Elisa said yes.

The pair eloped in 1992 at a justice of the peace in Canutillo and had their wedding in a church with family and friends 12 years later in 2004.

As they built their life together, they found their way back to CISD as staff members. The two have nearly 45 years combined service to CISD.

The Pavias credit Canutillo ISD for helping them find each other and building the foundation of their family. They believe strongly in the mission and vision of Canutillo ISD and have placed high stakes on it.

The couple have a son, Noah, who is a student at Canutillo Middle School. He now roams the hallways his parents walked back in the 1980s.

“Every time we pick up our son at CMS we get flashbacks of our high school days together,” James said.

For the Pavia family, Canutillo ISD will always hold a special place in their hearts as the place where it all started and they are eternally grateful to the District that not only provided them careers they love but the greatest gift of all, a lifetime of love and laughter.

“We started here at Canutillo ISD. If we hadn’t come here we would have had no relationship,” Elisa said. “I always say that Canutillo raised me and fed me. This District has played a big important part in our lives. We owe a lot to this place.”