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Maria E Gutierrez

Picture of Maria Gutierrez
4-H Youth Development and Metro Educator

Enterprise Center 2205 Enterprise Drive, Suite 501 Westchester IL 60154

Program Areas
4-H Youth Development


Maria E Gutierrez is driven by one purpose: To empower Latino youth to lead and strengthen communities through education.

Gutierrez is a first-generation college graduate who knows that first-generation students will face a tough road with barriers that can be difficult to overcome.  She also realizes the importance of having a heart-to-heart talk with students and their parents. Gutierrez's ultimate goal is to create a culturally inclusive environment that celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion and to inspire and equip the next generation of innovators.

Gutierrez brings a background in adult education, youth development, and program planning with an emphasis on family engagement by providing Latino families with research-based information and strategies to help Latino students make positive changes and leading positive youth development initiatives, such as Juntos 4-H, an initiative with an expanded emphasis on family engagement to propel parent involvement. She has long advocated for Latino families and communities and is passionate about empowering parents and youth. Gutierrez has been involved in organizing and coordinating programs throughout Cook County to strengthen family engagement by improving access to information and resources. She has worked relentlessly on building a rapport with the students, their parents, and school personnel. 

To echo the words of Dr. Joyce Epstein, "Family Engagement is a key component of student and school success, and family engagement begins as a shared responsibility between families, schools and communities."  A statement Gutierrez lives by.

Gutierrez is a certified facilitator for the Real Colors Temperament Style Instrument

Awards and Recognitions

  • University of Illinois Extension, Inclusive Excellence-Team, 2023
  • University of Illinois Extension, Team Excellence, 2023
  • University of Illinois Extension, Face to Face Teaching, 1999
  • Centro Juan Diego Comunitario, Teacher of the Year, 1999
  • University of Illinois Extension, Innovative Programming,  2000
  • University of Illinois Extension, Collaborative Partnership (FNP & 4-H), 2000, 
  • YMCA, Volunteer of the Year, 2000
  • Collaborating with Potential Partners, 2001

Gutierrez's professional associations include the National Society of Leadership and Success, where she was awarded the National Engaged Leader Award in June 2017. Her professional affiliations include the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Public Schools Family & Community Engagement Network, Corazon Community Services, Illinois Digital Educators Alliance, and Parent University & Engagement Center.

Gutierrez graduated from National Louis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Sciences and holds two Master's- Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Education in Learning Sciences in Education with an emphasis in Technology Instructional Design Coach Major.

 Why Illinois 4-H? 

Juntos Press Release June 2021

Impact Report 2019-2020