Derek Gutierrez ’88, was recently featured in a Albuquerque Journal news article focused on his leadership as part of the Santa Ana Golf Club team. We are excited to share a snapshot of his Menaul School experience with you.
Which teacher or staff person at Menaul School has had the biggest impact on you?
Maria Andrews, Charles Ortiz, and Gus Brock (hard to list just one).
What was your favorite class?
I always enjoyed Spanish classes with Mr. Ortiz. Classes were interactive and his style of teaching made learning a second language fun.
My sophomore year several of us were invited to a Spanish essay competition at NM Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM. This is one of many memories I recall and cherish to this day.
The sentiment is not true about Mathematics. I wish I would have paid better attention at Menaul and UNM. A big part of my job now involves numbers. Thank goodness for Excel.
Memories of Menaul School
Many of my fondest memories are associated to academics and took place in the classroom. My parents emphasized the importance of education and as a 3rd generation Menaul student, I didn’t want to disappoint any of the Gutierrez clan.
Playing in the NMAA State High School Basketball State Championship in 1988 is an experience near the top of all my experiences as a Panther. Even though we lost.
The greatest event while at Menaul and beyond was meeting my future wife, Carolyn Martinez (now Gutierrez). We met in 1985, the same year she graduated from Menaul. Mic drop on that one!
Do you remember what it felt like to be a part of the Menaul School community?
We learned at a very young age what it meant to be part of the Menaul community. My grandparents, dad, uncle, two aunts, two brothers, two cousins and many distant relatives attended Menaul. Grandpa Conrad was Interim President of the school in 1984/85. We attended numerous Homecomings and athletic events all the years leading up to attending Menaul for four years.
It was already like a second home to us and at that time knew many of the faculty, staff, volunteers, and students once enrolled. These people made us all feel very welcome. Small classes, chapel, athletics, Mrs. Llanes’s homecooked meals in the cafeteria, alumni involvement, among other things contributed to the Menaul Community.
My confidence in Menaul is that it remains unique and special…
What Have You Been Doing Since Graduation?
I attended UNM and eventually became a Class A Member of the PGA of America. Currently the General Manager/Director of Golf at Santa Ana Golf Club Inc, Santa Ana Pueblo NM. Oversee Santa Ana Golf Club, Twin Warriors Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Prairie Star Restaurant & Wine Bar, and Wind Dancer Grille. It is my 25th year with the company.
I am currently serving a three-year term on the National Board of Directors of the PGA of America (representing Northern Texas PGA, Southern Texas PGA, Sun Country PGA), essentially all of TX and NM. I served 8 year term on the Sun Country PGA Board of Directors as Secretary, Vice President, President and Honorary President. I am currently also Vice President of the NM Sports Hall of Fame.
My Advice To Students
While I attended over 30 years ago, my message would be the same as if I was a recent graduate. Enjoy your Menaul journey. It will race by and in the grand scheme of things, a small part or your life in terms of years. The memories and experiences, however, will last a lifetime and heavily guide and influence you.
Menaul has had a significant impact on who I am today and remains a big part of our family’s history as well. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend Menaul and sing the school’s praises every chance I get. Go Panthers!
Thank you, Derek! For more Alumni Stories, visit our Stories page. To tell your story, fill out this form today.