TDSB Director of Education Chris Spence resigns

Chris Spence has stepped down as Director of Education with the Toronto District School Board

Chris Spence has stepped down as Director of Education with the Toronto District School Board.

His resignation comes after it was revealed he had passed off others' words as his own in an op-ed piece published last week in the Toronto Star. The National Post alleges it has happened other times too.

Spence's resignation is effective immediately. Board Chair Chris Bolton says the TDSB is "taking steps to appoint an interim Director to ensure stability across the system".

Spence has been Director of Education for the country's largest school board since 2009.

Spence writes that he quits with "a profoundly heavy heart". He goes on to say that "more than anything else, I regret that I have not set a good or proper example for the many thousands of young people I've been privileged to meet and know."

Spence vows to carry on with self-imposed punishments for plagiarism, including having the op-ed that ultimately led to his demise being removed from the web & enrolling in an ethics course at Ryerson's School of Journalism.

Chris Spence has hired a PR firm to handle media requests in the wake of his resignation. Daisy Consulting Group tells Newstalk 1010 he wouldn't be speaking Thursday.

Before stepping down, Spence apologized in his office before a TDSB meeting Wednesday night. He was obviously shaken as he spoke with images of Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Junior & Nelson Mandela looking on.

His face was stern as he delivered a 90 second statement and took a few questions. His hands trembled a little, he took a few long, painful pauses, wiping his face once in apparent stress.

Spence revealed he is "ashamed and embarrassed" about what he has done. He says he knows he will be widely condemned for his actions & says "I deserve it".

Chris Spence's resignation letter:

"It is with great sadness and regret that I am writing to tender my resignation as Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board.

I have come to this decision after a great deal of reflection, and no small amount of consultation with family, friends and colleagues. I do so with a profoundly heavy heart.

My life's work has been education, and the education of young people. More than anything else, I regret that I have not set a good or proper example for the many thousands of young people I've been privileged to meet and know.

I intend to continue to do the things I pledged to do - to restore my reputation, and to uphold the academic integrity I consider to be so important. But most importantly, to make amends for what I have done.

I do not wish to be a further distraction to the Trustees, or my many friends and colleagues at the Toronto District School Board. I therefore submit my letter of resignation and, once again, offer my sincerest apologies."

Statement from TDSB Chair Chris Bolton:

Today, I have accepted the resignation of Director of Education Chris Spence from his position with the Toronto District School Board. This resignation is effective immediately.

Given the unexpected nature of this situation, we are taking steps to appoint an interim Director to ensure stability across the system.

As soon as information is available, staff, students and their families will be informed of any further developments.

Thank you.

Chris Bolton, Chair

Toronto District School Board

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  1. Stephen Smith posted on 01/10/2013 05:06 PM
    What hire a PR firm. Here's what you do Mr. Spence. You call a news conference, you fully admit your guilt, you unreservedly apologise, say what actions you are taking to correct your behaviour.

    Then take the questions from the dullard media scrum who no doubtedly will ask questions that you answered in your prepare speech to which politely and firmly say I covered that in my statement and point to the next question and repeat what you said before because the media are dumb as dirt and will ask the same questions because they're lazt listeners.

    Thank everyone for coming and say goodbye.

    There a free PR lesson. Your welcome.
  2. Sandy posted on 01/10/2013 05:37 PM
    Bye now. Don't call us, we'll (not) call you. Just watch, they will dig up all kinds of plagiarism from this guy. Why is it that so many people within our education systems are so morally challenged or have bad judgement?
  3. Nick posted on 01/10/2013 06:36 PM
    Sorry, Mr. Tory, I called in and stated my piece, but just as you started to speak the line got dropped.
  4. Avenue E posted on 01/10/2013 07:07 PM
    This man admitted his mistake immediately, resigned and is trying to make ammends- he did not profit one penny from this mistake. Our mayor on the other hand VOTED in his own defence in a conflict of interest FOR $$$$, has denied, stalled and avoided and he says that Spence should pay a price - that is laughable.
    1. Nick posted on 01/10/2013 08:44 PM
      @Avenue E Almost as laughable as George Smitherman's 'Touchdown for accountability!'
    2. Only Common Sense posted on 01/11/2013 07:36 AM
      @Avenue E Well said and completely accurate.
      Too bad that Nick doesn't get it (or can't).
  5. proton posted on 01/11/2013 10:11 AM
    Based on the Star's article today he may have plagiarized part of his doctoral thesis. Considering the computer programs used to verify students' work for plagiarism I would have thought something like this would have been picked up.

    It will be interesting to see whether the Star is right or wrong.
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