Board Statement: Distinguished Education Leader Dr. José M. Torres Selected to Serve as IMSA’s Next President - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Board Statement: Distinguished Education Leader Dr. José M. Torres Selected to Serve as IMSA’s Next President

Following a national search, the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) has selected distinguished education leader Dr. José M. Torres, Ph.D., to serve as its fourth President.

“From a strong candidate pool, Dr. Torres emerged as our clear choice,” IMSA Board Chairman Sheila Griffin said.  “Our Board was impressed by his intellectual curiosity, commitment to excellence and equity, entrepreneurial mindset, and candor and authenticity,” she said. 

Chairman Griffin added, “We very much appreciate Dr. Torres’ interest in leading IMSA as we go forward, and we look forward to collaborating with him to develop and help others develop world-class diverse talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to benefit Illinois and advance the human condition here in Illinois, nationally and globally.”

In various leadership roles, including as Superintendent of Schools in Elgin School District, U-46, Regional Superintendent/Area Instruction Officer in Chicago Public Schools, and Assistant Superintendent for Student Services in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Annapolis, MD), Dr. Torres led successful efforts to increase student achievement, strengthen teacher effectiveness, attract public and private financial support, engage constituencies and stakeholders, and make decisions based on data and best practice.  In Elgin School District, U-46, he ensured the expansion of STEM learning opportunities for high ability students and other students who also benefited.

Dr. Torres said he is especially drawn to IMSA’s mission statement and its congruence with his personal passion and commitment – “to end poverty.”  He said, “I believe this can only be accomplished if we have excellent, equitable education and learning systems for academically talented students and for all students, and I realized that I could accomplish my mission in life through partnership with those at IMSA who continue to be fully committed to igniting and nurturing creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.” 

From February 2011 through 2013, Dr. Torres served as the only superintendent on the federal Equity and Excellence Commission of the United States Department of Education. He received the 2014 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators, one of three educators in the U.S. to receive this prestigious award which honors leadership in educational equity and excellence.

Dr. Torres earned his Bachelor of General Studies, Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from the University of Maryland. 

His academic and intellectual interests include leadership influence and organizational change; the intersection of intercultural communication and systems thinking and behaving; and developing systems that push boundaries of excellence and equity. His hobbies include scuba diving (he holds Advanced and Rescue Certifications), international travel, reading, working out and learning.

Dr. Torres and his wife Isabel reside in Elgin, Illinois. He has three grown children and is a proud and doting grandfather of one. 

The IMSA Board will vote to employ Dr. Torres at its meeting on August 20 and he will join IMSA's staff in September.