Chris Spence is the author of several books, most recently Snowball, Dear B, and Touchdown in the Classroom. He has several more books set to be released later this year, including The Adventures of Bobby Allen, Ice Cold, and Skin He’s In: Racism, Sport, and Educational Leadership.
Chris Spence’s work is very issue driven and urges readers to think differently about the ways that they treat each other. Throughout his career, Chris has worked to create equality and level the playing field, and this philosophy is reflected in each of his books. At the end of the day, Chris Spence wants people to look in the mirror and take the time to understand the impact of how they treat other people.
Chris Spence also has five film credits to his name, including Silence the Violence, No J (No Job), Teammates, Skin Games and Football’s Pioneering Duo.
One of the projects aired on CBC and another was screened at the Reel World Film Festival in March 2004.
Silence the Violence
They’re young, scared, and often ignored, and have discovered their voice. They know what needs to be done to create safer communities and the role the police should play. They know the inclination to join gangs comes from social alienation and the circumstances of their life.
Almost every day, they face news of someone who looks like them being shot in Chicago.
I live in constant fear that I’ll get a call or text stating one of the guys I mentor has been shot. Whenever there’s a shooting and there’s been a lot:
Shot & Killed: 660
Shot & Wounded: 3425
Total Shot: 4085
Total Homicides: 736
I watch the news and check social media praying that I don’t recognize the name of the victim. And yet, I know my fear is nothing compared to what they must feel every single day, having to navigate the stigma of race.
No J (No Job)
The story of a student who drops out of the academic culture and has to face the harsh, uncompromising job market with inadequate credentials and job skills. This was something I was concerned about with too many of the kids I was teaching. Their hoop dreams trumped everything.
A screenplay in response to the fight against HIV and AIDS. What concerned me was that even the massive amount of media publicity around this largely sexual disease had not fully convinced a large number of youth to change their sexual lifestyle.
Uses the prism of basketball to discuss race and differential opportunity as the one and only viable alternative to a quality life. It showed how basketball turns into a sense of duty rather than a game. In many instances, the athletic accomplishments or defeat of these inner city Black kids unmistakably becomes a matter of life and death.
Football’s Pioneering Duo
The documentary “Football’s Pioneering Duo” explores the issue of race and sport as they relate to the Canadian Football League and the hiring of General Manager Roy Shivers and Coach Danny Barrett. In 1999, Roy Shivers, became the general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Shivers hired Danny Barrett as the head coach. The Roughriders made football history by being the first professional team with a Black general manager and head coach.
Chris Spence is the former Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board as well as the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. Throughout his career, Chris has been dedicated to improving the student experience, creating links to the community, and supporting innovation. He has also provided national and international leadership through invited lectures and participation in numerous roundtable discussions.
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. The success of these initiatives were featured in a documentary about his life, “Person to Person” and in an article in Reader’s Digest entitled “Man on a Mission.”
He has also won many awards for his outstanding contributions to education and the community, 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 was born in England and raised in Windsor, Ontario. He went on to attend Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1985. Shortly thereafter, Chris earned his Bachelor of Education and Doctorate of Education from York University as well as his Masters of Education from the University of Toronto.
Chris Spence on Twitter