Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a correction.
By a 4-to-2 vote, the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees has extended the contract of Superintendent Rene Gutierrez through the 2022-2023 school year.
Gutierrez started work as BISD superintendent on July 15, 2019 at a salary of $350,000. The current contract is through the 2021-2022 school year. The extension would run through June 30, 2023. The contract was being finalized and was awaiting signatures as of press time Tuesday.
“This man is stellar. He’s grabbed control of our district. The discontent that existed is gone. He knows how to run a good ship and he’s doing very, very well,” Trustee Philip T. Cowen said, adding that Gutierrez enjoys an excellent reputation among superintendents of the larger school districts in Texas and the nation. He said BISD has become an example of what to do in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“His peers look up to him. He’s taken the lead in responding to the pandemic. He’s turned us into a digital district overnight. That’s what happens when you’re organized,” he said.
Trustees granted the extension at their June 16 meeting. Board vice president Drue Brown proposed the extension with support from secretary Prisci Roca Tipton. They and trustees Philip T. Cowen and Laura Perez-Reyes voted in favor of the extension. Board president Minerva M. Peña and trustee Eddie Garcia abstained.
The board also accepted a required annual evaluation of Gutierrez by a 5-to-1 vote, with Pe ñ a abstaining.
“We’ve got a keeper,” Cowen said. “He’s a brilliant superintendent. He’s put together his team. They work together well to solve problems. The level of professionalism is exemplary. This man gets the staff to do what needs to be done. They like being respected.”
Before coming to Brownsville Gutierrez was superintendent of the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District for 10 years.
Gutierrez attended schools in Mexico as a child, immigrated to McAllen and graduated from McAllen High School in 1983.
He then earned an associate’s degree in applied science from Texas Southmost College, and his bachelor’s in business administration from Pan American University-Brownsville in 1987.
He went on to earn his master’s degree in education from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg and received his doctoral degree in educational leadership from the same school.
Gutierrez met his wife while attending the University of Texas Pan American-Brownsville.
“I’m familiar with the community and it’s a place we’re looking forward to going back to,” he said at the time he was named lone finalist for superintendent.