CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Board of Education recently announced the list of candidates for the next CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has been narrowed down to two candidates.
Describing both candidates as "experienced educators with close ties to the Cleveland community," the board has named Dr. Ricardo "Rocky" Torres and Dr. Warren Morgan as its two finalists.
Torres, who was born and raised in Cleveland, served as a school administrator at CMSD from August 2014 through June 2019, before his appointment as assistant superintendent of student services for Seattle Public Schools. Torres earned a Ph.D. in urban education from Cleveland State University. Board leaders note that Torres is bilingual in English and Spanish, and proficient in French. They add that he has mentored educators throughout his career, frequently sharing best practices at regional and national conferences on curriculum, equity, restorative practices, instruction, and community voice. Torres began his career as a bilingual special education teacher in the New York City Department of Education.
Morgan worked for CMSD as a network leader for the Phase 2 Investment schools from July 2014 through August 2016. In his current role as the chief academic officer for Indianapolis Public Schools, Morgan oversees the academic vision, strategy, and policies of the district. Board leaders note that Morgan grew up on Chicago's south side "and attended schools with demographics similar to CMSD." He served as a White House Fellow under Presidents Obama and Trump, as well as executive director of an education nonprofit in St. Louis. Morgan earned an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“From the start, the Board built the CEO job profile to reflect the values and skills that the Cleveland community desired in our next CEO,” said Anne Bingham, Chair of the Cleveland Board of Education. “Our two finalists have exceeded our expectations, and we’re excited for the community to meet with them next week.”
Eight community panels will interview Torres and Morgan on April 24-25, in addition to the Cleveland Board of Education and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. The interview panels include teachers, licensed staff, principals, parents, students, classified central office staff, community partners, union leaders, and senior leaders in the district.
Board leaders say after the completion of the finalist interviews, it will hold a review and with the concurrence of Bibb, will select the candidate to replace Eric Gordon as the next CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Gordon announced last September that he will step down when the school year ends on June 30. Gordon, who has held the position of CEO of Cleveland schools since 2011, said he wanted to provide Bibb and the school board "with sufficient time to conduct a thorough, high-quality search for the next CEO."
"The conditions are precisely right to hand off the baton and to ensure that the next CEO takes forward the progress and momentum we have made and built together," Gordon said in his final State of the Schools address.
During his State of the City address on Wednesday, Bibb praised Gordon for his leadership of CMSD over the last 11 years. "Eric, thank you for showing us every single day what empathetic, purpose-driven leadership looks like. Because of your tireless dedication and unwavering commitment, our kids have made significant and remarkable progress over the last decade."