Kerrie Torres - Jul / Aug 13

Like many successful school principals, Kerrie Torres (front left), who heads up Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School, relies on a topnotch team.  Also pictured here are Assistant Principal Tracy Knibb and School Counselor Adan Garcia.

Kerrie Torres,
Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School

Kerrie Torres first realized she enjoyed working with children when as a teen she helped out at the daycare center run by her mother.  “The center consisted of children from low income families, and in addition to care, we provided a variety of instructional activities,” says the principal of Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School in Orange.  “I really enjoyed making a difference in the lives of the children who attended.”

Although she initially planned to enter the medical profession, Torres soon discovered education was her calling.  She received her Bachelor’s from California State University, Los Angeles, her Master’s from the University of La Verne and has completed doctoral studies at California State, University Fullerton.  For the first seven years of her career, which started in 1998, Torres taught science, transitioning to administration in 2005 after demonstrating a talent and interest in the area.

Prior to taking the position at Yorba Academy of the Arts in 2010, Torres was a vice principal at a middle school and a high school.

“Going from an assistant principal position to principal at Yorba was exciting, intriguing and challenging all at once,” says Torres.  “I went from being completely student centered to also directing adults.  With 100 percent accountability, the pressures and responsibilities of being a principal are tremendous, but it’s exhilarating to see the students succeed.”

Since she signed on as principal, Yorba Academy of the Arts has seen significant increases in student performance, with a big jump in API, a decrease in suspension rates and an increase in enrollment and attendance.  Torres attributes the improvements to various intervention programs, including the school’s mentor program, which she started.

“Connecting students with teachers and members of the staff who can help them is making a huge difference with the kids in terms of their behaviors and accomplishments,” she says.

Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School
935 North Cambridge St, Orange CA 92867  /  714-997-6161

Published in the Jul / Aug 13 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Article Written by Kim Haman, Photo by Will Hare

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