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Superintendent of troubled Espanola schools steps down

January 15, 2020 GMT

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (AP) — A superintendent of a New Mexico school district plagued by a teacher shortage is stepping down.

Española Public Schools superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez announced this week she will not seek an extension of her contract that expires on June 30.

Her announcement comes as parents and students at Española Valley High School are complaining about an online program many freshmen failed this past semester.

The Rio Grande Sun reports a high number of teacher vacancies and lack of substitutes have forced some Española Valley High School to spend class time in the cafeteria taking online classes.

Gutierrez served two stints as superintendent. She resigned over the controversial hiring of basketball coach Richard Martinez, who had been leading the team in prayer and had been accused of bullying players by both state education officials and parents.

She was rehired by the school district in 2017.

“I have been both honored and humbled to serve as your superintendent over the past few years, and I have grown to love the Española Valley, its people and most importantly, our students and staff,” Gutierrez wrote in her notice to school board members. “Thank you for the opportunity to serve Española Schools. It has been a privilege and I wish the board well in your search for a new superintendent.”