WPU Alumna impacts students, awarded Assistant Principal of the Year

May 12, 2023

WPU Alumna Torrey Flores ‘90 is intent on making a difference in the lives of her students every day. An Assistant Principal at Southwest Elementary School, she strives to make that difference through joy. 

“My mantra is to always choose joy, even when it’s easy or hard, joy can change your outlook on everything around you,” she said. She encourages joy in more than 35 classrooms through consistent smiles, kind words, and listening ears.

This April, her commitment to students was recognized when she was named the 2023 Durham Public School Assistant Principal of the Year. She has served in the role for 12 years.

When some of her fifth-grade students learned the news, they responded by giving her a “joy jar” they made and filled with numerous encouraging notes.

Flores was inspired to become an educator through her parents.  Her father was a coach and Physical Education teacher while her mother was a teacher and principal. They instilled in her the importance of positively influencing youth.

Her mother also inspired her to start her path toward being a teacher at what was then Peace College. Both Flores’ mother and grandmother had attended the school. 

Flores knew she wanted to graduate with roses in hand just like the generations before her. At Peace, she found close friends that she still has today. “It is such a tight-knit community, it was a great place to start my journey,” she said.

After Peace, Flores then went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to get her undergraduate degree and master’s degree. After, she worked as a Reading Recovery teacher, a District K-5 Literacy Specialist, and now as an Assistant Principal.

Flores is honored to be named Assistant Principal of the Year.

“It really means a lot that my peers and supervisors saw the value in my contributions to Southwest,” she said. “My work has always been for the kids. I would do it without any accolades or any recognition and I would love every minute of it but it is so meaningful to receive this.”