Jose Gutierrez (RRHS '95)
Alumni Spotlight: NTPS alumnus takes on new Mentor Liaison role
By Community Relations Intern: Ian Teodoro (Timberline c/o 2020)
As someone who was inspired by his own mentors in North Thurston Public Schools, Jose Gutierrez is excited to serve as the district’s new Mentor Liaison! The position was created to help ensure that students of NTPS have access to both adult and peer mentors.
During fifth grade at Olympic View Elementary, Gutierrez was introduced to official systematic mentoring through his teacher, Myrna Day. “Children would be cruel to each other. She was one of the people who interceded in that and was an example and demanded that we do better,” said Gutierrez.
He continued to spread the effects of mentoring, eventually becoming a mentor himself. In sixth grade, Gutierrez and one of his classmates acted as peer mentors to one of the less outgoing second graders who struggled to make friends. “I’ve never forgotten that. I could see the change in the boy, and his confidence and willingness to try and do something different,” said Gutierrez. He mentored and took part of mentoring programs all throughout the remainder of his education, from sixth grade to college.
In addition to Olympic View, Gutierrez also attended Chinook Middle School, North Thurston High School, and graduated from River Ridge High School in 1995. Working at various educational institutes, including Northwest Indian College, South Puget Sound Community College and the Evergreen State College, he has been able to further implement aspects of mentoring and teaching in general.
He attended and graduated from Washington State University in Communications and a Master of Education with a Teaching Certificate. He also earned certificates for Restorative Justice at Eastern Washington University and more graduate studies at Western Washington University and the Evergreen State College
Alongside solidifying mentorship within the district, Gutierrez likes to indulge in creativity. On the side, Gutierrez is able to work as an artist - writing, composing, and producing music. "I’m into primarily hip-hop music and culture, but I enjoy all genres," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez plans to "Make sure that all of our children have the opportunity to be mentored, or have the experience of having a mentor, becoming a mentor, and benefiting from that experience," said Gutierrez. With the sole purpose of impacting students, Gutierrez hopes to provide students with "A widened perspective of possibilities".
"For children who are struggling and feel alone, I share with them that 1) they are never alone and that there is ALWAYS someone who has been in their same position of despair, but there are people who are willing to help if we are willing to listen, learn and accept help on terms that aren’t always our own or immediately what we prefer. Also, feeling and being alone is sometimes a good place to be for focus, concentration and reflection on our lives – so take advantage of the opportunity to be alone and find victory in your ability to fellowship and share with others who may feel alone and not part of the group."