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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Elfida Gutiérrez

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(43 pages)

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Elfida Márquez Gutiérrez, born Elfida Márquez, is a first generation Mexican American who grew up in Fort Hancock in Hudspeth County, Texas, where in high school, she was a cheerleader and president of both student council and Future Homemakers of America (FHA). She attended Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, where she met her husband whom she married in 1970. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in elementary education in 1976 and her Master's Degree in bilingual education in 1977 from the University of Texas at El Paso where she was active in the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA). Early in her career, she began teaching in Ysleta, Texas and worked with the Head Start Program. She served as an assistant principal at Socorro High School. At the time of the interview, she was principal of Hueco Elementary School, and had served as an appointee to the El Paso Community College Board, a position to which she had just been elected. She was a member of the Texas Association of Latino Community College Trustees and Vice Chair of the national Association of Latino Community College Trustees. At the time of the interview, she was a member of the Mexican American Democrats of Texas (MAD) and the Tejano Democrats. In 2009, she was an associate superintendent in the El Paso Independent School District.

Interview Summary:

Elfida Márquez Gutiérrez begins with her family's background and her college years. She describes the discrimination she encountered, particularly when living in Lubbock, Texas, and compares her high school years in her hometown to her experiences at college. She talks about the family moving to Socorro and about working in the Socorro Independent School District. She discusses unethical real estate developers, the homes they built in Socorro, and the tactics she learned from the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) to fight for public utilties for their neighborhoods. She notes her involvement in the incorporation of Socorro as a city, its zoning issues, and the election campaigns of Carlos Aguilar and Nacho Padilla. She discusses her appointment and election to the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees and details her election campaign. She refers to the colonia of Montana Vista and cites the W. K. Kellogg Foundation for its assistance there. She relates how the national level of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) lacked Hispanic representation and tells about the work of the national and state levels of the Association of Latino Community College Trustees. She comments on her role as an educator and administrator, talks about state representative Norma Chávez, and mentions such notable Mexican Americans as Barbara Perez, Sergio Lewis, Dan Morales, and Henry Cisneros.

Locations of residence or activity:

El Paso, Lubbock

Interview Date: