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.[1]

Born in England to Jamaican parents, Spence has lived in Canada since he was three and received his early education in Windsor, Ontario.[2] Spence received a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University in 1985.[3] 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.[2]

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.[1][2][4]

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.[5]

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." [6][7] 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.[8] Passages of his 1996 Ed.D. dissertation were also revealed to have been copied from other sources without attribution;[9] the University of Toronto is investigating the allegations.[10]

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).[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "TDSB Announces New Director of Education". Toronto District School Board. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Christine Cox (July 13, 2004). "Former B.C. Lion is schools' QB - Education activist named director of Hamilton's public board". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  3. "Alumni Watching". Simon Fraser University. May 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  4. "OISE In the News". OISE. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  5. Gee, Marcus (2009-09-04). "Making every head count". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  6. Rushowy, Kristin (January 9, 2013). "Toronto school board director admits plagiarism in Star article". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  7. Defrantz, Anita L. (February 19, 1989). "An Open Letter to President Bush". New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  9. "TDSB director resigns over plagiarism, PhD dissertation includes unattributed passages". Globe and Mail. January 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  10. "U of T checking Chris Spence’s dissertation for plagiarism". Toronto Star. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  11. "Christopher M. Spence". Fernwood Publishing Company. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
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