Dr. Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at the Ysleta Independent School District, was unanimously elected to serve as the 2019 chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents, a network of the state’s largest urban school districts that meets regularly to discuss governance, leadership, management, governmental relations, and other topics relevant to traditional urban public schools.
“It is my honor and a pleasure to provide leadership to the largest school districts in Texas as the 2019 Chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents,” De La Torre said. “In my new role as Chair, I am eager to lead the discussion on the areas of greatest opportunity and challenge in our school districts, and give El Paso and Ysleta ISD a much-needed voice at both the state and national levels.”
The Council, which was founded nearly 50 years ago, consists of nine school districts in Corpus Christi, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth areas that represent nearly 800,000 students and 50,000 teachers.
Because these districts serve large urban communities, their schools share similar interests and challenges, such as second-language learning; increasing college access; and school turnaround.
These urban districts also routinely serve larger percentages of children living in poverty who are less likely to have parents with high levels of education, and are constantly balancing different barriers.
De La Torre, who joined YISD in 2014, has a 30-year history of dedicated service to large, diverse student populations, and a career chronicled by recognized achievements and awards, including an El Pasoan of the Year nomination (2016); two Broad Prize Award finalist nominations (2009, 2010); and the Edgar L. Morphet Award for the nation’s most outstanding dissertation aimed at the educational issues (2005).
During De La Torre’s tenure at YISD, the district’s most vulnerable student groups have seen increased achievement under the state of Texas’ STAAR/EOC accountability system. English Language Learners and Special Education students have routinely outperformed their peers in the region and across the state, while student achievement on the state’s End of Course exams has led the region and the state when considering comparable school districts and demographics.
Coupled with the introduction of El Paso’s first single-gender, college preparatory school for girls; two new Early College High School programs; new STEM programs; and the passage of a $430.5 million facilities bond, De La Torre has emerged as a regional authority in El Paso relative to the American public school system.
“Dr. De La Torre embodies the type of leader we need guiding our school systems,” said Richard Castro, board chairman of the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) and CEO of Castro Enterprises. “His desire and willingness to provide creative and innovative education experiences will help push the needle forward for El Paso’s educational attainment.”