Sonia Gutierrez

Senior Advisory Committee





Sonia Gutiérrez is President Emeritus & Founder of the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School. She has spent over 43 years as a principal, counselor, advocate, and organizer to more than 70,000 adult immigrant students.


Ms. Gutierrez developed and contributed to a variety of holistic education programs for adult immigrants. In 1996, when the District of Columbia faced a financial crisis resulting in the elimination of all DC Public Schools’ adult education programs, working from the basement of her home, Ms. Gutierrez raised $100,000 reopening the newly named non-profit Carlos Rosario International Career Center. Ms. Gutierrez served as its Executive Director & Founder. In 1998 the school became the first Adult Public Charter School in the nation. From 1997 to 2003, the school expanded from one small site to six different sites around the community. Today, with a new campus, the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School serves more than 2500 students. In 2006 the school received an award from the DC Mayor as one of the 10 best Charter Schools in the city. In 2013, a Workforce Development Campus, the Sonia Gutiérrez Campus, opened in Ward 5.


Ms. Gutiérrez has many accomplishments as a community organizer and leader and has received many awards for her work and commitment to her community including, Administrator of the Year from the Commission of Adult Basic Education (COABE) in 2013; the Hispanic Bar Association of Washington, DC’s Hugh A. Johnson Equal Justice Memorial Award; the DC Commission of Human Rights’ Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award;  the American Dream Medallion in Education from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in recognition of her accomplishments, leadership, and services to the Latino; the Caucus Salvadoreño Empresarial honored her for her continuous work with the Salvadoran Community; honored by FOCUS—Friends of Choice in Urban Schools into the Charter School Hall of Fame; the Humanitarian Award from the University of the District of Columbia National Alumni Society for her selfless decades of service to Adult Education in the District of Columbia; as one of the pioneers and a member of its Hall of Fame the DC Association of Public Chartered Schools’ Exemplar Award for Education and Community Leadership; the Chairman’s Award from Events DC for her over 40 years of leadership in the DC community; the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award; and the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the City Council of DC named the 500 Block of V Street NE, as the Sonia Gutiérrez Campus Way. She is the only Latino in the District of Columbia to have an honorary street with her name.

In June 2018, she was selected as one of El Tiempo Latino’s Powermeter 100 most influential individuals in the Nation’s Capital for the Hispanic Community.

Ms. Gutierrez received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. She received her MA in Adult Education Management and Supervision from the University of the District of Columbia.

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Rediscovering District of Columbia history – and its consequential role in determining contemporary politics and policy serves as our primary charge.

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