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Espanola schools chief resigns amid coach controversy


Bobbie Gutierrez (Journal File)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Española Valley Public Schools Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez has resigned amid continuing controversy over the boys basketball coach at Española Valley High School.

Coach Richard Martinez was placed on leave in late March about 10 days after the Sundevils won the state 5A championship. Martinez said he was put on leave for leading the team in prayer, while there have also been reports that there was a dispute over how Martinez handled a fight among players on the team.

Gutierrez, former superintendent of the Santa Fe Public Schools, submitted a letter resigning effective May 6 and the Española School Board voted 3-2 to accept the resignation Wednesday evening. She will be on administrative leave until May 6, and associate superintendent Myra Martinez was appointed interim superintendent.

KOAT-TV reported that the actions came after an executive session, and the crowd at the board meeting cheered when the vote was taken to accept Gutierrez’s resignation.

“The School Board would like to thank Bobbie for her service to the District,” Board President Pablo Lujan said in a statement Wednesday night. “Superintendent Gutierrez filled in when we needed immediate help stabilizing the management of the District. We all wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

“I am grateful for the Board having given me the opportunity to serve the District, its students, parents, and staff,” Gutierrez said in her own statement. “Española is full of kind and wonderful people who rely on our schools to increase the education opportunities for our students. I will miss the talented staff and wish to thank the community for its support of the schools.”