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By Marisela Felix
Director of Public Information
OCTOBER 24, 2019 / MODIFIED FEB 28, 2020 10:29 AM


Desert View High School Teacher Wins $100,000 First Place Prize In 2019
Harbor Freight Tools For Schools Prize For Teaching Excellence

TUCSON, AZ. October 24, 2019 — $1 million have been awarded nationally in the 2019 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence and $100,000 goes to a Desert View High School manufacturing teacher.

Mr. Cesar Gutierrez who teaches precision manufacturing at Desert View High School was invited to a school-wide surprise assembly where he was greeted by the student body, administrators, industry partners and his family with the news of this first place recognition. This award earned the school’s skilled trades program $70,000 and $30,000 for Mr. Gutierrez personally. The 2019 prize drew nearly 750 applications with only 18 teachers receiving recognitions.

“Mr. Gutierrez has been the visionary in creating what is probably the best manufacturing program in the country. Recognized by the Arizona School Board Association as the CTE Program of the Year and the National Advance CTE award for Excellence in Education in 2016. He has built the program at Desert View to include over 300 students with seniors earning numerous industry certifications, as well as dual college credit and opportunities for work based experience,” says NJ Utter, Sunnyside Unified School District’s (SUSD) Director of Technical Education. 

Desert View’s Precision Manufacturing program, a NIMS Nationally Accredited program and Pima JTED program have been recognized at both the state and national level as exemplary, preparing students to directly enter the workforce with industry-recognized credentials and a solid foundation to pursue Associate’s and Bachelor's Degrees.

“My vision is to not only empower my students, but to change an entire community by helping students create opportunities for themselves that will break the cycle of poverty. Each certificate a student earns is a step towards a better job. Each college credit a student earns through dual enrollment helps them see that a balance of course work and certification makes them more employable,” says Mr. Gutierrez. “There is no greater joy for me than seeing my students begin to experience a sense of economic security and professional achievement.”

SUSD is redesigning the high school experience by preparing students for college and the workforce and providing them with a wide range of transferable skills to succeed in not just one, but multiple careers. SUSD Superintendent Steve Holmes says, “SUSD plays a significant role in creating better communities and Mr. Gutierrez is a testament to our District’s commitment to ensuring that our traditionally underserved communities receive the best educational experiences.”

About SUSD
At Sunnyside, we are revolutionizing the public school experience by developing students who are college, career and community ready. Established in 1921 the Sunnyside Unified School District is the second-largest district in Southern Arizona serving more than 16,300 students and families. Located in a culturally-diverse community and surrounded by two First Nations and a neighboring international border—our learning community is flanked by an aerospace and innovation corridor, such that our district is positioned to lead our students into the 21st century through excellence in pedagogy, world-class career and technical education, and a legacy of athletic excellence and passion for the fine arts. For more information, visit us at susd.12.org • FacebookInstagramTwitter.