Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez is the Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, one of the largest urban school districts in Connecticut. Born in Puerto Rico, she migrated to Hartford at the age of nine. A product of Hartford Public High School, she has served as an education leader in the Greater Hartford region for over 25 years. 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.
Ms. Avila is a well-known educational leader who continues to empower, lead, motivate, and unite others to make sustainable systematic changes that make a difference. She remains dedicated and passionate for the field of education. She takes pride in fostering supportive, safe, caring, and challenging learning environments for all learners. Her versatile career of over 24 years has provided her with extensive experiences. Ms. Avila has taught various grades at the elementary, middle school, and college level in both public and private schools.
Ms. Black-Burke is an innovative and collaborative community and family engagement professional with over 10 years of experience in education coordination and non-profit program administration. Ms. Black-Burke has extensive communication and relationship -building experience across diverse populations, ranging from work with teenagers and young adult students, to community, civic, educational and political leaders, via workshop facilitation, board membership, advocacy efforts, an public speaking.
Dr. Tiffani Curtis joined the education profession in 1992 as a Teach For America (TFA) corps member in Los Angeles, California. She has served as a middle and elementary school teacher, an instructional coach for preschool and elementary school teachers, the founding principal of an elementary school in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a turnaround principal in Albany, NY.
Prior to joining the Superintendent’s Cabinet in the role of Chief Operating Officer, Sherri Davis-Googe was Hartford Public Schools Executive Director of School Choice.
Mrs. Davis-Googe has 20 years of experience in program management, evaluation, research, and information technology. She has experience in all levels of government: Federal, State, and Local, as well as the non-profit sector.
With over 20 years in urban education, Dr. Negrón is a resonant leader who motivates and inspires others by sharing hope and an optimistic view of the future. Dr. Negrón is a systems thinker and a creative, tenacious leader who sets high goals for achievement and success through accountability. As a reflective educator, Dr. Negrón continually engages others in the reflective process to ensure high expectations for student performance.
Phillip J. Penn is experienced financial executive with a demonstrated track record of strategic thinking and operational execution. As Chief Financial Officer of the Hartford Public Schools, Mr. Penn and his team oversee the largest public-school budget in the State of Connecticut, helping ensure an equitable allocation of resources that enables strong academic outcomes for all learners.
Bethany Silver, Ph.D. is an innovative educator with demonstrated success improving student performance, leveraging accountability while supporting systemic processes that enhance teaching, learning, and assessment. Dr. Silver is recognized as a leader in employing data to resolve complex challenges in educational environments and is a respected team player among faculty and administrator teams and partner organizations.
Jesse Sugarman has over 14 years of professional experience in business development, campaign creation/consulting, marketing, communications, strategy, and analytics working on behalf of companies like Allstate, PepsiCo, the state of Texas Commerce Department, and MillerCoors. Throughout his marketing career, Jesse was successful at developing effective coalitions of diverse stakeholders and utilizing data analysis to inform strategy and maximize return on investment.