The Cleveland Metropolitan School District board announced the final two candidates for district CEO. Community members will join the board in conducting final interviews next week.
Ricardo “Rocky” Torres and Warren Morgan have both worked for Cleveland schools. Read their bios below:
Ricardo “Rocky” Torres served CMSD as a school administrator from August 2014 through June 2019 before becoming assistant superintendent of Student Services for Seattle Public Schools. Torres is bilingual in English and Spanish and proficient in French. He began his career as a bilingual special education teacher in New York City. He earned a Ph.D. in urban education from Cleveland State University. Torres was born and raised in the city of Cleveland, between the Ohio City and West Park neighborhoods.
Warren Morgan grew up on Chicago’s South Side and attended schools with demographics similar to CMSD’s. He worked as a network leader for CMSD’s Phase 2 Investment schools from July 2014 through August 2016. He currently serves as chief academic officer for Indianapolis Public Schools. He also has been executive director of an education nonprofit in St. Louis and a White House Fellow under U.S. Presidents Obama and Trump. He earned an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
How the final interview process works
On April 24 and 25, the board and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb–along with eight different panels–will interview the candidates. The panels include teachers, licensed staff, principals, parents, students, central office staff, community partners, union leaders, and other district leaders. The student panel and the parent/caregiver panel will be livestreamed on Monday.
Community members watching can submit feedback on each candidate via CMSD’s website. Feedback forms will open at 4 p.m. on Monday as the interviews begin and will close at 5 p.m. next Thursday.
After the finalist interviews, the board will review interview notes, public comments, and community feedback. The board and the mayor then will meet to select the new district CEO.
The end of a four-month process
The CMSD Board of Education started the process to choose a new CEO for Cleveland schools in November 2022, when members voted to hire Alma Advisory Group, a woman-of-color-led CEO search firm based in Chicago.
Since then, Alma has worked with the board to conduct community listening sessions with parents/caregivers, community members, students, teachers and district leaders. The board then used this input to create a job description, which it posted in February.
The process received little criticism from the public and was praised by the school board, but it did not sit well with the Cleveland Teachers Union, which argued in late March that teachers were not given enough say in the process.
Student and parent interviews will be recorded and available for public review on CMSD’s website until 5 p.m. next Thursday, April 27.
The feedback form, also available at this site, will remain open until then as well.
This story has been updated to reflect updates from CMSD on Rocky Torres’ bio.