Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez is the Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, one of the largest and most diverse districts in Connecticut. Hartford Public School families speak a total of 88 languages, and 21% of students are Multilingual Learners. Born in Puerto Rico, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez moved to Hartford as a multilingual learner at the age of nine and is a product of Hartford Public High School. She has served as an education leader in Greater Hartford for over two decades.
Upon her appointment as Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in 2017, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez’s first tasks included reimagining the district and securing $245 million in capital improvement funding for restructuring. This collaborative process supported the creation of two new campuses with shared learning space between magnet and neighborhood schools. Restructuring the district alleviated some of the systemic inequities in Hartford’s education system by providing equal access to resources, tools and learning opportunities for each school. Under Dr. Torres-Rodriguez’s leadership, and in partnership with the Board of Education, the district implemented an equity-centered budget formula resulting in additional resources to schools with Multilingual Learners. From 2017, her first year as Superintendent, to 2021, the four-year graduation rate for multilingual learners increased by more than 10 percentage points.
In her mission to serve the ‘Whole Student,’ Dr. Torres-Rodriguez implemented authentic partnerships with Hartford’s families and communities. The expansion of Hartford Public School’s Community Schools Model from seven to seventeen schools under her guidance has ensured a strong connection with family and community organizations, reflecting local needs and assets, rethinking relationships based on trust and respect, and implementing a shared vision of student and school success.
Dr. Torres-Rodriguez has received local and national recognition for her work as a leader in education. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2022 Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Latino Superintendent of the Year Award. She was also the recipient of the 2019 Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALAS) Award for Educational Leadership, the 2019 National Brillante Award for Educational Excellence from Prospanica, and she was featured in “Women of Distinction” by Hartford Magazine in December 2019. She is a graduate of The Broad Academy Fellowship for Urban Superintendents, and is currently a Pahara Institute Fellow. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez serves on the Trinity College Board of Trustees and the Hartford Promise Board, co-chairs the Mayor’s Cabinet for Young Children in Hartford, and is a member of the Governor’s Workforce Council.
Prior to her appointment as Superintendent, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez was Acting Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership at Hartford Public Schools, where she provided culturally courageous leadership to support the comprehensive improvement efforts of a network of 11 schools. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez also taught social and behavioral science at Capital Community College and served students and families at Goodwin Technical High School as a School Social Worker.
Dr. Torres-Rodriguez received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She also earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. She is a proud resident of Hartford, where she lives with her husband and two sons.