McAllen ISD hires first superintendent who’s a product of local schools

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McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez’s name plate is shown in the board room at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

McALLEN — The McAllen school board’s short search for the district’s next superintendent is over after officially approving René Gutiérrez for the position Monday night.

At a board meeting that evening, the school board voted 5-2 to offer a contract to Gutiérrez, who showed up near the end of the meeting to also sign and accept it. Board President Debbie Crane Aliseda and trustee Elizabeth Kittleman voted against it.

“I’m excited to come back to McAllen (ISD) where I’m from … I’m ready to start working and ready to start meeting the staff and the kids and getting involved with the community as well,” Gutiérrez said following the meeting.

The two-time regional superintendent of the year said the contract is for three and a half years at an annual base salary of $300,000.

During his tenure at Brownsville ISD, the school board approved an annual salary of $354,128 at a meeting on June 28.

Gutiérrez’s first official day with McAllen ISD is Nov. 27, and he said he wants to first gather input from the board, staff and community about what they want for the district.

“The kids are always going to be in good hands with our district, with our staff,” he said. “We are going to give our kids a quality education. … Our kids are going to be college and career ready, and that’s what I’m going to work on for every child in the district.”

Gutiérrez, a graduate from McAllen High School in 1983, is the first superintendent that is a product of McAllen ISD. He attended McAllen ISD throughout his K-12 education after migrating from Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

Newly appointed McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez poses at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

He said it is an honor to be the first, something he would have never thought of.

“I would have never thought about this when I was 8 years old when I arrived from Reynosa, Mexico,” Gutiérrez said. “Never in my wildest, wildest dreams did I think that I was going to one day lead the district like I am now and so I’m very excited about that.”

Prior to taking the helm at McAllen ISD, Gutiérrez was the Brownsville ISD superintendent from June 2019 and the Edinburg school district superintendent from 2009 to 2019. Prior to that, Gutiérrez worked as a teacher and administrator.

Gutiérrez earned his bachelors, masters and doctoral degree at University of Texas-Pan American (now UTRGV).