LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – In these days of short-staffing, a New Mexico superintendent is doing what needs to get done. Locals snapped pictures of him cutting the weeds at one of the schools he oversees.
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When overgrown weeds started popping up around a Las Vegas elementary school, it didn’t take long for a crew to show up — but the people making up that crew, surprised locals. “I turned the corner and I saw Mr. Gutierrez out there with a weed eater and his wife was up on the ledge,” said Yvette Arellanes, a Las Vegas resident. “I yelled at him because I know him personally. He was both my son and my daughter’s teacher when he was at the West Las Vegas Family Partnership.”
Arellanes says it was a pleasant surprise to see West Las Vegas Schools superintendent Christopher Gutierrez and his wife get to work. Armed with a mower and weedwhacker, they were covering the grounds outside Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary.
“I just said, ‘hey, what are you doing?’ and he said, ‘well, a couple of my guys are out,’ he said, ‘so I’m just pitching in,’ and I thought that was awesome,” said Arellanes. “You hardly ever see the superintendent with the weed eater, after 5, taking care of the weeds. It’s not unusual for Chris because he’s just an all-around great guy.”
The district is currently down two maintenance workers. Gutierrez says it was a no-brainer to step up, and he’s grateful his wife joined in. “I was trying to do it at a time and a place where people wouldn’t see me, actually,” said Gutierrez. “I think, as leaders, we need to work alongside with our staff, our employees and we need to help them out as much as we can.”
Arellanes says Gutierrez was a great teacher to her kids back in the day. Now, as a superintendent, she says he’s a good example of a leader stepping up. “It’s about all of us and I think that was an excellent example of someone taking the initiative instead of complaining and just doing something about it,” said Arellanes. “I think all of us need to. This town is about all of us, not just one group of people or another.”
It’s a sentiment Gutierrez agrees with. He says he’ll keep helping as long as he’s needed. “To be a leader, we need to be right there in the trenches with our people,” said Gutierrez. “I have an excellent maintenance staff and an excellent staff here at West Las Vegas and I want to be able to help them however I can so kids are safe and they’re getting educated.”
Gutierrez says this isn’t the first time he’s stepped up outside the typical job duties. He also recently helped paint a school gym.