Chris’s Giunchigliani’s life is a story of active community service, a commitment to education and children, and proven leadership. It is also a story of independence, determination and a way of life which prompted Las Vegas Life magazine to name Chris as “Best Role Model”.
Even her birth was a bit different than most. After her parents’ marriage, the newly wed couple left for Italy for an extended visit to the Giunchigliani family who was unable to return to America for the wedding. That’s how Chris Giunchigliani was born on November 27, 1954 to American parents in Lucca, Italy.
The oldest of six children—three girls, three boys—Chris grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended St. John Bosco Elementary School.
Chris’s mother worked as a waitress while her father worked days as a draftsman and attended college at night to earn a degree in architecture. Chris still remembers attending her father’s college graduation ceremony with her two younger brothers.
The family moved to Barrington, Illinois when Chris was a teenager. She graduated from Barrington High School in 1972. She then attended Avila College in Kansas City, Missouri. Chris worked in retail, bartended and waitressed to pay her way through college, graduating in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in special education.
After teaching special education in Shawnee Mission, Kansas for two years, Chris moved to Las Vegas, and again worked her way through college, this time at UNLV, earning a master’s degree in education with special emphasis on the emotionally disturbed. Since then Chris has compiled more than 50 additional credit hours in post-graduate work.
Chris joined the Clark County School District in 1979 as a special education teacher at Bridger Junior High School (now Bridger Middle School). In addition to her teaching, Chris was active in her professional associations.
She served as president of the Clark County Education Association from 1983 through 1987 and as president of the Nevada State Education Association from 1987 through 1991.
First elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 1990, Chris served in eight regular and five special sessions. During the times the legislature was not in session, Chris continued as a special education teacher in the school district’s middle schools until Spring of 2003.
In 2003, Chris applied for the open position of School District and Community Relations at the Community College of Southern Nevada. She was interviewed by an independent faculty board and offered the position. At one point Chris filed a whistleblower charge over what she saw as unethical behavior. When she had her work load reduced following her whistleblower charge, she resigned citing a lack of work for her position.
Chris returned to the Clark County School District in 2004 as a special education facilitator at Jim Bridger Middle School where she served as a mentor to new teachers. Following that, she helped open a new school, Carroll Johnston Middle School in North Las Vegas, where Chris served as a special education resource room teacher. Upon her election to the Clark County Commission, Chris took an unpaid leave of absence from teaching to serve as a Commissioner.
Additionally, Chris has volunteered in a wide variety of community activities and has garnered a large number of awards for her service in the legislature and the community.
Chris married Gary Gray in 1987, and the couple continues to live in the same area of town since they were married. They have English bulldogs, enjoy reading, gardening, skiing and traveling. Chris and Gary have traveled to all seven continents.