Chris Spence (educator)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Christopher Spence
Director of Education,
Toronto District School Board
In office
Preceded by Gerry Connelly
Succeeded by Donna Quan
Director of Education,
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
In office
Succeeded by John Malloy
Personal details
Born 1962 (age 55–56)[1]
Nationality Canadian
Children 3
Residence Toronto
Alma mater York University
University of Toronto
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Simon Fraser University
Occupation educator, public servant
Profession football player

Christopher M. Spence is a Canadian educator, author, and former Canadian football player. He is the former Director of Education of the Toronto District School Board and former Director of Education of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.[2]


Born in England to Jamaican parents, Spence has lived in Canada since he was three years old and received his early education in Windsor, Ontario.[3] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University in 1985.[4] A running back, he was drafted by the BC Lions in the third round of the 1985 CFL Draft, but his CFL career was ended in 1988 by an Achilles tendon injury.[3]

Spence received a Bachelor of Education degree from York University, a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto in 1993 and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1996.[2][3][5]

He became Director of Education for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board on September 1, 2004, and served until July 2009, when he became the Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board.[6]

On January 9, 2013, Spence apologized for plagiarizing several passages in an op-ed piece he wrote for the Toronto Star on extracurricular activities. The plagiarism was verified by the Star's public editor. Among the plagiarized material was this paragraph lifted from a 1989 opinion piece in the New York Times: "We are challenged through sport to use our minds in guiding our bodies through the dimensions of time and space on the field of play. Learning the skills of sport provides opportunity to experience success."[7][8] On January 10, 2013, Spence tendered his resignation as director effective immediately after additional incidents of plagiarism in earlier articles and blog entries were uncovered.[9] Passages of his 1996 Ed.D. dissertation were also revealed to have been copied from other sources without attribution;[10] the University of Toronto is investigating the allegations.[11]

On December 20, 2016, the Ontario College of Teachers announced that Spence's teaching license had been revoked as a result of the findings of the investigation.[12]

His Doctor of Education has been recommended to be revoked by an independent tribunal due to 67 counts of plagiarism in his dissertation.[13] On June 20, 2017, an independent tribunal at the University of Toronto recommended that Chris Spence be stripped of his Doctor of Education degree and that he be expelled from the university based on 67 instances of plagiarism in his 1996 doctorate dissertation that show a clear intention to plagiarize such as paragraph after paragraph and page after page of plagiarism that was edited from American to Canadian spelling and edited to appear as his own opinion.[13]

In 2018, Spence lost his fight to keep his PhD. The appeals tribunal stated that the "nature and extent [of plagiarism] found in Spence's thesis is a very serious offence." The matter, however is not settled. His lawyer, Darryl Singer, wrote in an email that Spence intends to seek judicial review of the decision in Ontario divisional court.[14]

From 2012 through until the present time (2018), Chris Spence has repeatedly claimed to the Ontario College of Teachers as well as to the University of Toronto, that he has been battling with mental health issues such as depressive episodes and anxiety attacks. This can be substantiated from the various articles already referenced on this page, however not by googling "Chris Spence" and "anxiety attacks" or "depression" or "mental health" for more news articles referencing these claims.

He is the author of Skin I'm in: Racism, Sports and Education (Fernwood Publishing Company, 2000, ISBN 978-1-55266-017-1) and On Time! On Task! On a Mission! (Fernwood Publishing Company, 2002, ISBN 978-1-55266-094-2).[15]


  1. ^ "All-Star educator plays to stay sharp". November 13, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2009. says Spence, 45 
  2. ^ a b "TDSB Announces New Director of Education". Toronto District School Board. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c Christine Cox (July 13, 2004). "Former B.C. Lion is schools' QB - Education activist named director of Hamilton's public board". Hamilton Spectator. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Alumni Watching". Simon Fraser University. May 2002. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  5. ^ "OISE In the News". OISE. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Gee, Marcus (2009-09-04). "Making every head count". Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved September 6, 2009. 
  7. ^ Rushowy, Kristin (January 9, 2013). "Toronto school board director admits plagiarism in Star article". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ Defrantz, Anita L. (February 19, 1989). "An Open Letter to President Bush". New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Toronto school board head resigns, plagiarism allegations grow". CBC News. 
  10. ^ "TDSB director resigns over plagiarism, PhD dissertation includes unattributed passages". Globe and Mail. Toronto. January 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ "U of T checking Chris Spence's dissertation for plagiarism". Toronto Star. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Siekierska, Alicja (December 19, 2016). "Chris Spence, former TDSB education director, stripped of teaching licence". Retrieved January 1, 2018 – via Toronto Star. 
  13. ^ a b Gordon, Andrea (June 20, 2017). "Tribunal recommends Chris Spence be stripped of doctorate". Retrieved January 1, 2018 – via Toronto Star. 
  14. ^ Gordon, Andrea (2018-02-07). "Chris Spence loses appeal to keep PhD amid plagiarism findings". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2018-02-08. 
  15. ^ "Christopher M. Spence". Fernwood Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved February 23, 2009.