Española Public Schools Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez announced Monday afternoon she will no longer lead the district once her contract expires on June 30.

“I know I don’t look like it, but I’m 63 years old,” Gutierrez said. “It seems like time for life to slow down.”

Gutierrez began working for Santa Fe Public Schools in the mid-1980s and served as superintendent from 2008 until she was fired with more than a year left on her contract in 2012. She was named acting superintendent of Española Public Schools in 2015 before resigning in April 2016 following a controversial move to place Española Valley High School head boys basketball coach Richard Martinez on administrative leave just days after he led the Sundevils to a state championship in Class 5A.

In June 2017, Gutierrez was rehired by the school district a few months after the Public Education Department took control of its finances, citing mismanagement and a lack of accountability. In the summer of 2019, the district of roughly 3,500 students regained control of its finances, which Gutierrez views as her biggest success.

“Now that we were able to accomplish that,” she said, “I think it’s a good time to step away and allow a new board to select a new superintendent who can build on some of the consistency I was able to bring.”

According to Public Education Department data, Española Valley Public Schools’ class of 2018 had a four-year graduation rate of 71 percent, 2.9 percentage points behind the state average. Last school year, 25 percent of the district’s students tested proficient or better for their grade level in reading while 10 percent scored proficient or better in math.

When Gutierrez was first appointed superintendent in Española, she was the district’s 10th superintendent in 13 years. The Board of Education will hold a special meeting to discuss the search process for a new superintendent, Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the district’s Educational Service Center, 405 Hunter Street.

“During her tenure, Bobbie has brought educational and financial stability to our school district,” Board President Yolanda M. Salazar said in a news release. “We have made great improvements, but we know that we have much more work to do.”

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