WCSD School Trustee Estela Gutierrez Won't Seek Re-election - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

WCSD School Trustee Estela Gutierrez Won't Seek Re-election

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Washoe County School Board member Estela Gutierrez told KTVN that she won't seek another four-year term on the school board, so she can focus on her new job as Dean of Student Services at Truckee Meadows Community College. "It's really sad for me right now, because I really love being on the board," Gutierrez said in an interview on Monday.

Gutierrez was the first in her family to go to college, and she hopes her election to the Board of Trustees serves as an inspiration to other young people. "My parents were both farm workers and basically I was a migrant child," she said.

Gutierrez joined the WCSD Board of Trustees in 2008 and was elected vice president in 2009. She became president of the board in 2010, which made her the first minority to lead an elective entity in Washoe County. "For me it's 'You never give up.' I love my profession because I'm a vehicle for hope," she told us.

After six years on the board, Gutierrez has decided not to seek re-election in November of 2014. "I can't be super woman. I only have so many hours in the day," she said. She plans to continue her support for WCSD during her job at TMCC because "their students are our students."

During the past six years, WCSD trustees have powered through budget cuts, and sweeping reforms, while also raising student achievement. Gutierrez listed several accomplishments that happened while she was on the school board, including hiring excellent people, developing a strategic plan and increasing the graduation rate. "When I started, the graduation rate was 56% and now it's 70%. That's a great accomplishment," she said.

She credits the school board for working together to solve problems facing the district. It's because we were a team, we were strategic, we were serious," said Gutierrez. She says one important lesson she learned over the past several years is that K-12 has to work with higher education.

That's something she plans to continue to help with. "Because of my story, I know how important education is. Especially for kids who do not have a sense of direction. For any kids actually."

Gutierrez will formally announce her decision not to run for re-election at a regularly scheduled WCSD board meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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