Board Member Highlight: Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez

Since coming to Hartford at the age of 9 with her mother and brother from Puerto Rico, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez has lived her life based on her values, believing in the importance of  community, creating a space for others to have a voice and the “responsibility we all have to serve others.”

As the Superintendent and CEO of Hartford Public Schools, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez is grounded in the importance and “systematic need to create conditions and pathways for young people to be seen, feel heard and feel worthy.” As a product of the Hartford Public School system herself, her connection and commitment to understanding and supporting students is personal, as she sat in the same seats and walked the same halls. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez is fully dedicated to supporting each student’s entire set of needs, noting that education is deeply important to her and was formative in the woman she has become today.

Dr. Torres-Rodriguez first heard about Social Impact Partners on the Governor’s Workforce Council, noting that the model of engaging with stakeholders through a systematic lens connected to her perspective. “It’s really hard for me not to see from a systems lens,” she shared, noting that the work Social Impact Partners does is sustainable at multiple levels of the system, making this work incredibly worthwhile. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez was drawn by the passionate and skilled partners at Social Impact Partners who come together and “grapple with complex systems and issues that take time and joined the Board of Directors in 2023. 

She has recently been recognized as the 2024 honoree at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, the largest demonstration of cultural pride in the United States. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez shared she feels deeply humbled and honored to represent Hartford at this celebration, noting this honor is specifically meaningful to her as it is a representation of how she shows up in the world and her “values in action.”

Dr. Torres-Rodriguez received her undergraduate in Human Development and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut, and she earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. She resides in Hartford with her husband and two sons, dedicating her time to understanding and supporting students’ diverse needs and challenges.