(CBS Connecticut) — The Hartford Board of Education tonight appointed Leslie Torres-Rodriguez as superintendent of schools.
Parents and city residents gave a standing ovation and held up signs in support of the new school leader, in the West Middle School gym where the meeting was held.
They cheered each time she walked into the gym, and some posed for photographs with her after the meeting.
Some parents say they see the new school leader as one of their own because she graduated from Hartford Public High School.
Torres-Rodriguez says systemic changes are needed to ensure the safety of school children.
“We are embarking on a very difficult task of consolidating schools, and we do this in the face of very difficult fiscal challenges,” Torres-Rodriguez said.
She says the Hartford Public School system will have fewer school buildings, and it will have to do more with less.
The school budget will be approved in the coming weeks.