The start of the 2019-2020 school year means the Torres Teaching Family Tree just got a little bigger.
While Sandel and Tina Torres have been teaching together within Hillsborough County Public Schools for the past 16 years, this year is a little more special.
“Two of our children, Savannah and Marc Anthony, started their first year of teaching today. I’m so proud of them,” said Sandel, a Physical Education teacher at Town & Country Elementary.
Savannah is now a 2nd grade teacher at Davis Elementary and Marc Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps as a Physical Education teacher at Sgt. Smith Middle.
“They (my parents) inspired me to become a teacher because I saw how much they loved it and how much passion they have for it,” explained Savannah.
“I’ve always played sports and had great mentors and teachers. I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and allowing them to have that great experience that I remember—all those teachers that impacted me,” said Marc Anthony.
Sandel’s advice to his son was simple, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The Torres lineage doesn’t stop with these four. Students and parents within with the Town & Country community have likely been impacted by a member of the Torres family.
In addition to Tina, Sandel, Savannah, and Marc Anthony, two of Sandel’s sisters are also teachers—Martha Alicia is a 5th grade teacher at Davis Elementary and Rosemary Guadalupe is the Reading Coach at Pierce Middle.
“We are just a family of teachers. It’s something that we all got involved in and just love it,” explained Savannah.
Marc Anthony loves that he has so many family members who can provide insight into the profession. "It takes a village,” he said.
The village will grow even more when Trinity and Alliya, the two youngest Torres children, graduate from the University of Central Florida. Their degree? Education.
Sandel credits coming from a large family—he is one of 14 siblings—for instilling his passion in teaching. “I think it’s our calling and comes natural to all of us.” He and Tina also teach English classes to minor league baseball players for the New York Yankees.
Although they always loved working with children, teaching wasn’t Sandel and Tina’s initial career. He was a financial advisor and she was a regional manager for a popular restaurant chain.
“We have four beautiful children and we realized that we were making a living, but we weren’t really making a life,” explained Sandel. “We transitioned to being teachers and it’s the best move we’ve ever made.”
His only regret is simple. “I wish that we would have become teachers when we were younger.”