Chris Spence is a renowned educator and dedicated community advocate. Throughout his career, Spence has been dedicated to improving the student experience, creating links to the community, and supporting innovation. He is a passionate champion of public outreach, and the important role education plays in the development of individuals and the prosperity of the nation.
This philosophy has never changed since the first time Chris Spence stepped foot in classroom as a teacher. The only thing that has changed is his ability to impact the community, and it’s students, in more profound ways as he moved up the ranks and the walls expanded.
Most recently, Chris Spence served as Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in Canada, with 600 schools, 250,000 students, 40,000 employees, 22 elected trustees and a 2.8 billion dollar operating budget. Exciting ventures to improve the Board locally, nationally, and internationally have been a hallmark of Spence’s leadership.
As Director, Chris Spence improved access and outcomes for students of all economic backgrounds and advocated for increased funding. He has broadened the Toronto District School Board’s international reach, raised the profile of the arts and STEM, embraced sustainability, launched the Vision of Hope and promoted collaboration across academic disciplines and administrative units as he guided the Board through a period of significant financial challenges.
A leader in innovation, Chris Spence also spearheaded the transformation of education, pushing for the migration from textbooks to digital content, increased access to technology for students and developed cutting edge educational environments to meet the demands of today’s learners.
Chris Spence set forth a vision that will ultimately transform the TDSB into the “modern urban board of the future”—an institution that will harness both its long-established and still-emerging strengths to serve its students, its neighborhood, its city and the nation.
Previously, Chris Spence served as Director of Education for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. During this time, he led a series of transformational initiatives, including the development of project Art Smart, the Enrolment Task Force, and Learning Community Days.
His leadership role in working with the broader educational community to manage issues, develop policy and promote causes that benefit students and achieve measurable results has been widely recognized. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to education and the community, Chris Spence has received numerous awards, including outstanding alumni award from Simon Fraser University, Educational Leader of the Year, Niagara University’s College of Education, Phi Delta Kappa, Outstanding Educator Award, a John C Holland Award for Professional Achievement, a Harry Jerome Award, a Dare Arts Award and recently a Harmony Leadership in Education Award.
Chris Spence is a graduate of Simon Fraser University, located in Burnaby, B.C., where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. He later went on to earn his Bachelor’s of Education and Doctorate of Education from York University, followed by his Masters of Education from the University of Toronto.