Marquez excited about working to Gil Sanchez community

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Mario Marquez is a man who knows the value of hard work and an education.

Marquez comes to Gil Sanchez Elementary after 23 years with the Grants/Cibola County School District. He started there as a custodian and worked his way up to principal of San Rafael and Bluewater elementary schools, overseeing both sites at the same time.

Mario Marquez Gil Sanchez Elementary principal

Marquez also taught middle school from 2007 to 2009 for the Grants district while he earned his masters in school administration.

“I didn’t come to my education early in life,” Marquez said. “I know how valuable it is; I appreciate it.”

When Marquez was a child, he and his parents were migrant workers, moving frequently to follow the work, and he came of age in the time of Cesar Chavez.

“No matter what, I want to really work for our kids,” he said. What attracted him to Gil Sanchez was his desire to stay in a small community.

“I definitely wanted to work in a district that was still small enough to be family oriented,” he said. “I wanted to serve a small, rural community. I want to make sure serve all kids no mater where they grow up, no matter what they’re given, to make sure they have an opportunity to receive a good education.”

One of the first things Marquez noticed about the community of Jarales was the large farms and copious amounts of agricultural land.

“What that says to me is kids out here aren’t afraid to work hard,” he said. “I also don’t see a lot of for sale signs so that tells me people are committed to being here, being a part of this community.”

Marquez has what he calls a small, but close family of his wife of 30 years, two grown children and two grandchildren.

He likes to be very involved with all aspects of the school.

“The students will see me everywhere from the classroom to the cafeteria, not just in my office. I like to be hands-on,” he said. “I am open to ideas. I’m not a top-down administrator. I always like input from the staff and students.”

There are a few changes for the school this year, Marquez said. Students will have a new music and art teacher this year, and the cafeteria and gymnasium have both been renovated, along with the front entrance of the school building.

“I am here to help all students,” he said. “I want to bring to the community my experiences. They have helped me and I want to share that with the students.”