Dr. Nivea Lisandra Torres served as the Superintendent of Schools for the Connecticut Technical High School System for four years (2013-2017). She is a dedicated and passionate educator who has served students at all grade levels in Puerto Rico and Connecticut for over 24 years.
Dr. Torres assumed leadership as the district’s Interim Superintendent on January 1st, 2013 and was officially appointed as Superintendent of Schools by the State Board of Education on February 7th, 2014. One of the first assignments that the Connecticut Technical High School System Board requested of Dr. Torres was to develop a management plan that would detail how she planned to oversee the day to day operations of over 11,000 students and 20 facilities without any additional assistance in the management ranks. She created a management plan entitled: Involving the CTHSS Community in the Administration and Management of Schools. At the core of the plan is Dr. Torres’ theory of action that is aligned to the concept of distributed leadership. School improvement and lasting reform can only be achieved by building a broad base of leadership. As a leader, her primary goal has been to empower other district leaders and to develop capacity within the organization. As Superintendent, she has been able to articulate shared goals for all constituent groups, both internal and external, in order to develop a cohesive mission and sense of community to benefit students. This relationship has proved to be a great asset in the development of a strategic plan for the district and has allied the CTHSS board with other district leaders around a common vision.
Previous to her appointment as Interim Superintendent, Dr. Torres served as the technical system’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. She is never daunted by the tough challenges facing instructional delivery today. This has been apparent in the manner she dissects complex federal and state mandates, analyzes their real impact and designs strategies to make them work for all schools, despite widely varying demographics. From No Child Left Behind to school improvement; school reform initiatives related to the Sheff decision; and the critical issues surrounding the need for increased literacy and numeracy programming, she has been resourceful, persuasive and dedicated to ensuring that best practices in teaching and learning prevail. She professes that each child has the right to receive a quality education in a safe and respectful environment. Dr. Torres’ ability to marry the regulatory with the practical and to speak the language of each in effecting positive change, has positioned the district at the forefront in Connecticut.
She came to the State Department of Education and the Connecticut Technical High School System as a former district administrator and brought firsthand knowledge of the challenges and realities of operating effective schools. Dr. Torres served as principal of the Windham Center School in Windham, Connecticut where she was able to impact student achievement by leading the school to Safe Harbor status during her third year as principal.
She has served as bilingual coordinator and curriculum specialist for Windham Public Schools, and was a Language Arts and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher within the district.
Dr. Torres has also served as adjunct professor of curriculum at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. In addition, she has experience as an Adult ESL Teacher for adult immigrant students and taught within the Windham community for many years.
She holds a B.A. in Foreign Service and International Politics from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.Ed. in English as a Second Language from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut.