August 2018 Member Spotlight - Dr. Nancy B. Gutierrez

Dr. Nancy B. Gutierrez
Incoming President & CEO, NYC Leadership Academy, Long Island City, NY; SLA Cohort III Alum
 
Career highlights & education:
I am most proud of the fact that I returned home to East San Jose to teach and lead for over a decade of my career, defying the "sal si puedes" (get-out-if-you-can) mentality— the false and harmful myth that success means leaving communities of color and communities of poverty. 
 
Any success I've ever had, I owe to the way in which my mother modeled servant leadership, sacrifice, and humility. 
 
Becoming a member of Harvard's first cohort of the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program is something I will carry with me forever. I am committed to paying it forward, representing the voices and stories of our Latin@ community at every opportunity. 
 
Being recently announced as the incoming President & CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy is an honor. Though I imagined being a Superintendent at this point in my career, I have found a deep appreciation for and expertise around adult learning. Leaders need love, too. 
 
Plain and simple, we cannot transform our systems if we don't invest in our adults, supporting them to grow as leaders with a sharp and unapologetic equity lens. And this includes numero uno—investing in self is key! I'm here today because a Puerto Rican sister, Irma Zardoya, invested in a young Xicana she met in 2012.
 
But my best-est highlight E-V-E-R? Learning from the O.G. Dr. Verdugo himself in ALAS SLA Cohort 3! Que viva!
 
 
What I like best about my job:
I love that it allows me to live my calling.
 
Our organization envisions "a nation where every school and school system is led by transformational leaders who prepare all children, especially the traditionally underserved, for success." Leadership is the lever.
 
As my hermano, Dr. Roberto Padilla, ALAS Cohort 3 says, "Equity work cannot be done in isolation."
 
We need each other to hold up huge mirrors so close to each other's faces that the inner work becomes inescapable. It is our duty and responsibility to challenge each other's mental models in service of equitable practice.
 
I wish I had the high-quality level of professional learning I now know when I was a principal. It is my honor to be able to gift this level of depth in learning to other leaders.
 
 
The best advice I’ve ever received:
"What got you here, won't get you there."--Marhsall Goldsmith
Never take learning for granted. It doesn't matter how successful you are, or people think you are, we are all learners.
 
My mentor Robert Kegan would say, "A person's resume only lasts about ten minutes. What is most important in leadership is how you treat others."
 
 
Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader:
Take the time to build relationships and deeply understand the context—always remembering what we say at the Leadership Academy -- "the answer is in the room."
 
And as you engage in this critical work, nurture and balance your life so that we can keep you in the game. We need you to stay in your seat doing good work. I cannot stress how important it is for our Latin@ students to see Latin@s in senior level positions.
 
 
If I ever snuck out of work early, I would probably be found:
Taking a nice bike ride along the Hudson River.
 
 
People would be surprised to know:
I am still best friends with the same homegirls I've had since Kindergarten!
 
I worked as a groundskeeper when I was in college--picking up trash, mowing grass, trimming hedges, pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc. Whatever it takes!
 
 
One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS:
If you are not Latin@, but you support Latin@ communities, please join us. We are not an exclusive community and we are a very fun one! Bring your dancing shoes.