After a national search, the Maricopa Community College District and GateWay Community College welcomed a new president to lead the college, effective July 1. Below is a profile on Steven R. Gonzales that ran in the Phoenix Business Journal prior to his arrival.
Name: Steven R. Gonzales, Ed. D.
Dr. Steven Gonzales, GateWay President
Family: Desiree and I have five children in our blended family. We call it the His, Hers, and Ours scenario. Austin, Jenna, Corbin, Reagan, and Jaxen range in ages from 14 years to 18 months.
Pets (and their names): We have an Olde English Bulldog named Tinkerbell, a Maine Coon cat named Isabella, and a variety of 10 laying hens.
Favorite cuisine: I grew up on traditional Mexican Cuisine where homemade tortillas, fresh salsas, and rice and beans were a part of nearly every meal. We celebrated every family event with food at the center. When going out to a restaurant, I typically enjoy Italian, Chinese, or a steakhouse that serves a thick, flavorful prime rib.
Hobbies: I enjoy spending time outdoors whether it’s golfing, hunting, fishing, camping or running.
Education: I hold a bachelor’s degree in secondary education – mathematics and a master of arts in teaching-mathematics both from Northern Arizona University. I earned a doctorate in educational administration from the top-ranked Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Hometown: Although I was born in Sierra Vista, I call Coolidge my hometown.
What attracted you to your new opportunity? Several things attracted me to this position. I had reached a point in my career where my education and experience allowed me to seriously consider this opportunity. I was particularly drawn to GateWay for its student population, the reputation of its staff, faculty and academic programs. I also felt that the college’s mission, vision, and values aligned with my own. I think it’s also very important to note that under the leadership of Dr. Rufus Glasper, the Maricopa system is known nationally for its quality and innovation, which enticed me to pursue the job.
Most exciting prior business experience: On a personal level, nearly two years ago, I helped my wife realize a life-long dream of opening her own salon and boutique. Professionally, I have found it to be exciting and rewarding to partner with large and small companies to develop a strong workforce.
Career advice: Stay committed to your values. As a leader, accept blame and deflect praise. Seek a good mentor and be a good mentor. Work with tenacity and fearlessness to achieve the goal even when faced with the prospect of failure.
First job: I had my first paying job at the age of 12. My dad found a job for me where he said I would learn two things: the value of a dollar and the importance of education. He was certain that working in cotton fields all summer under the Arizona sun would get his message across to me. He called it “backbreaking” work. I made minimum wage, which was about $3.35 per hour. My dad let me keep $1/hr for spending money and the rest went into college savings. My dad’s plan worked; in fact, so well that I have not left education to this day!