HPS Acting Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez and Chief of Operations and Engagement José Colón-Rivas, plus Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Assistant Superintendent for Operations Tim Sullivan are the top candidates to become Hartford’s next permanent superintendent – according to the Hartford Courant. All have lengthy local experience as managers of schools – and even bigger contributions in service to children. We highlight their resumes below.
The Board of Education’s search committee reportedly will interview the top three candidates this month and then select two finalists for some kind of public review. In the meantime, here are some highlights regarding the three local leaders reportedly under consideration:
- Dr. José Colón Rivas headed the City Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation for five years, under three Mayors – and also served as a broadly respected and moderating force during that time on the Hartford Board of Education, appointed by past Mayor Pedro Segarra, before leaving those two posts to become the District’s Chief of Operations and Engagement last summer. He began his career as a teacher at Bulkeley High School, where he rose to be assistant principal, and later assumed the high school principal post at Hartford Public High School, stewarding its re-credentialing phase. Before moving into the City’s youth work, he also led curriculum and instruction efforts at HPS’s central office, where he is taking a second turn today, as chief of operations and engagement. He earned a doctorate at Penn State University in Curriculum and Instruction and Child Development Education. See his full resume here.
- Tim Sullivan today supervises CREC’s $141 million budget development process, including maintaining 10-year enrollment, facility, and finance projections for the 17-school system’s 8,500 students from 86 towns. A lifelong resident of Hartford, he taught history at Weaver High School, then served as assistant principal at Bulkeley – and managed the central office scheduling for all Hartford high schools. He became the first principal at Classical Magnet School, moving it from a program to a fully operational and award-winning school with 700 students and an $8 million budget. Serving as a principal representative, he also worked on several district-wide committees, including those for teacher-contract negotiation, student-based budgeting, and principal selection. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wesleyan University as well as administrator and superintendent certificates from the University of Hartford. See his full resume here.
- Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez graduated from Hartford Public High School and then built a diverse career, working as a director of academic enrichment programs, a school social worker, an adjunct community college professor, a freshman academy director, and a school principal, before most recently leading an 11-school network of Hartford schools as assistant superintendent of instructional leadership. Named acting superintendent by the Board of Education when Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez left last December, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez previously headed CREC’s Public Safety Academy in Enfield and Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College. Last month (at the 55:06 mark of this video), she reported on the school budget challenges slated to be resolved in April. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UConn and a doctorate in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University. See her full resume here.
The Bottom Line
Each of these educators has an impressive record of accomplishments; each also has deep familiarity with the city, its neighborhoods, and its student needs. In the ideal world, given the frightening fiscal outlook – and the culture of cover-up – Hartford faces, all three candidates ought to be working alongside each other within HPS to help right the ship. Alas, there can only be one at the top. In the coming weeks, Achieve Hartford! will release its rubric for assessing the finalist candidates.