A Teacher We Met: Torres Fulfills Lifelong Dream

Armando Torres was helped into his career by Belinda Karge, project director for California State University at Fullerton’s ON-TRACK Transition to Teaching Scholarship program. The Program is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education.

For 18 years Armando Torres worked as a paraprofessional for the Santa Ana Unified School district. But he longed for something more.

An as a teenage immigrant from Mexico, Torres had benefitted from caring teachers at Santa Ana High School. After graduation, he longed to help other young Latino boys and girls to get their education and carve out meaningful lives with choices. So he stayed connected to the school, coaching, tutoring and being and aide in bilingual and special education classes. At the same time, he worked second, and even third, jobs to pay the bills and support his family. He says he stuck with the school for so long because he had a dream, a dream to teach.

Torres was able to make the dream a reality when he enrolled to pursue his college degree and enter an alternative Teacher Corps certification program. Through the On Track Scholars Transition to Teaching program at CSU Fullerton, Torres earned his teaching credentials in math and special education so that he could serve low-income and Spanish speaking students in the Santa Ana community. While in the program, Torres said he benefitted from the veteran teaching workforce at Santa Ana High who supported him and mentored him through his fulltime career as a teacher.

Today, Torres is a teacher at Santa Ana High, teaching math to special education students. He says that he remembers himself as someone who went through many of the same struggles that his students deal with today. He is able to be a positive role model and show them that no matter what age, education is important and they can do it too. Because of his life experiences, Torres is able to relate to parents and explain to them the importance of being engaged in their student’s education, and he is able to connect with the students he serves and loves so much.

“Teaching has been the only career that has ever interested me, Torres said. “After working for over 18 years with the Hispanic youth of the city of Santa Ana, I have been motivated in pursuing a teaching career to be a positive role model and to demonstrate to this youth that with hard work and perseverance anything can be accomplished in this country.”

Beatriz Ceja-Williams

Bea Ceja-Williams is a Program Manager for School Leadership & Transition to Teaching Programs and for Teacher Quality Programs in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. Before joining the Department of Education, she was an elementary school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in California.

Find free resources for teaching English Language Learners at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.

Explore paths to teaching at www.TEACH.gov.


  1. Hello Mr torres thank you for your commitment of helping the spanish students through there education I am sure that you have a big heart and love to see other people happy you push them to get education more seriously and to believe that it is important to go to college and get a degree.

  2. An interesting book just came out on Hispanic student academic success. It was the result of interviews with hundreds of Hispanic students in Illinois, Florida, and California. “Hispanic Parental Involvement – 10 Competencies that Schools Need to Teach Hispanic Parents” by Dr. Lourdes Ferrer. These students were asked why they did not achieve the academic success of their White and Asian peers. Students talked about parents, home, and related issues more than teachers, schools, or classrooms. Dr. Lourdes Ferrer has been very successful in programs which teach Latino parents what they need to do to help their children succeed academically.

    Dr. Ferrer has a very insightful Youtube video where she discusses how the Hispanic immigration today is very different from other immigrations. One thing she notes is that previous immigrations (Irish, Italian, etc.) came during the Agricultural or Industrial ages while the current Latino immigration is occuring in the Information Age which means employment requires higher levels of education.

  3. Thank you Mr.Armando Torres for your commitment and for your positive attitude in teaching.I can easily feel that you like your job and you do it well and your contributions are praiseworthy.I think your experience is an important factor in your teaching career.The connection between the teacher and the parents and of course the school counselling service will make a great impact on student’s life long learning process.I am really influenced with your positive contributions you really make a difference on your beloved students’ lives.Congratulations from the heart.
    Buket ERTENU.

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