Trustee Barbara McLaury was elected vice president and Trustee Nancy Hollinger was elected clerk.
Gutierrez, who was appointed to the board in September 2008, will be the first minority to head any elective entity in Washoe County. This includes the WCSD board, the Sparks and Reno city councils and the Washoe County Commission.
President Gutierrez served in 2009-2010 as vice president of the board under outgoing president Barbara Clark. Clark just concluded her own one-year term as president but will remain on the Board representing the North Valleys, part of Sun Valley and Spanish Springs.
“I plan to be a reform-minded president during my term because public education needs to change as the area we serve changes and we have to become more accountable to all parts of the community for the quality of education that we offer in our schools,” Gutierrez said. “I am looking forward to forging effective partnerships with the many different groups who have a stake in our educational system. We will work closely together for the benefit of our students and families.”
Gutierrez emphasized the need for team-building with the wider community and among the board members, the superintendent and district staff.
Superintendent Heath Morrison, who was chosen to lead the district with a similar change-oriented agenda, said he looks forward to the opportunity of working with Gutierrez. Morrison commented that it will be a pivotal year for the district with a major bond issue coming up on the November ballot and a far-reaching strategic plan now being formulated to guide district operations and align its central missions – student achievement and graduation – with difficult budgetary realities.
“President Gutierrez brings qualities of vision, firmness, fairness, and wide-ranging experience that we will rely upon as we move the district forward through some challenging times,” Morrison said. “Our staff and I eagerly await the chance to work very closely with President Gutierrez and the board as we undertake the critically important task of creating and implementing a strategic plan for the Washoe County School District.
“The plan will be the blueprint for the future of our school system and we will need all of the hard work, passion, and good ideas that President Gutierrez has demonstrated in the past,” Morrison added. “This is a very exciting time for the district.”
Gutierrez brings a unique background to her new role. She is the first in her family to graduate from college despite the cultural and language barriers she encountered throughout her education.
“I knew early on that I did not want to work in the agricultural fields and today am grateful to my parents for instilling a strong work ethic in me,” she said. “I will always give everything I do my 200 percent,” Gutierrez said.
“Ever since Estela joined the board, we have all been impressed by her grasp of the issues, her inclusive style and the collaborative spirit that she brings to every discussion. She is a team-builder in the best sense of word, always seeking the solutions that will most benefit all of our students,” McLaury said.
Gutierrez has been extremely active in civic and educational reform since coming to the Reno-Sparks area more than 20 years ago. She was a co-founder of the Truckee Meadows’ first charter school, the Mariposa Dual-Language School.
In 2009, Gutierrez was named “New Board Member of the Year” by the Nevada State Association of School Boards.
In addition to her service on the Board of Trustees, Gutierrez is a past member of Sparks Citizens Advisory Board, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow, 2005 chair of Accentuate the Positive, Theater Coalition, State ESL Task force, past member of Girls Scouts Advisory, founder of the first Latino Leadership program, founder of the Latina Professional Development Program for Nevada Hispanic Services, past member of the Sparks City Charter Committee, Irish Mexican Alliance of Nevada, Leadership Reno, Sparks Advisory, member of the Nevada State Board of Education for Displaced Homemakers, and Nevada liaison to the Mexican government, member of the Latino Lyons, member of the National Hispanic Professional Organization and member of the Nevada Association of School Boards.