New School Superintendent From Houston
Aaron Spence will take over as the new superintendent of Moore County schools in February.
During a special meeting late Tuesday afternoon, the Moore County Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Spence to replace current Superintendent Susan Purser, who is retiring at the end of the month.
Spence will take over the position Feb. 6. Mike Griffin, the school system’s chief finance officer, will serve as interim superintendent in January.
After conducting a nationwide search through the N.C. School Boards Association, the board reviewed applications and supporting documentation for more than 25 candidates and considered information collected in community and staff surveys before narrowing its choices.
Board chairwoman Kathy Farren said that early on in the board’s search, Spence stood out among a large applicant pool of qualified candidates.
“When the board started this process, we had no idea what our pool of applicants would be like,” she said. “However, we were extremely pleased with the caliber of candidates who responded and with whom we met. Among these, Dr. Spence stood out from the very beginning, and throughout the process, we continued to be impressed with his experience, vision and enthusiasm.”
Farren added that she and her fellow board members are confident that Spence will be able to lead the Moore County school system to the next level of achievement, given his previous successes in other school systems.
This will be Spence’s first job as superintendent.
"This is an honor for me to be here," Spence said after the board voted. "I am absolutely thrilled to be joining this district."
Since 2010, he has served as the chief high school officer for the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Houston. In that position, which is equivalent to that of an assistant superintendent in North Carolina — Spence oversees the operation of 35 high schools with more than 200,000 students.
During his time in Houston, Spence has been credited with helping the HISD decrease its dropout rate, while also raising graduation rates to a historic high. The district has also seen an increase in science and math scores along with more students taking advanced courses under his supervision.
Before taking his current position in Houston, Spence served as the chief academic officer and director of curriculum and instruction for Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia.
Spence also served as a principal and assistant principal in Henrico County, Va. He was chosen to open Deep Run High School in 2002 after a nationwide search. He served as principal for seven years. During that time, the school received the distinction as one of “America’s Best High Schools” from U.S. News and World Report. It also received honors as one of the top-performing high schools in Virginia under his leadership.
Spence is a recipient of the R.E.B. award for distinguished educational leadership, an award presented by the R.E.B. Foundation in Richmond, Va., that recognizes principals who create exceptional education environments at their schools.
In 2010, he was recognized as an “Emerging Leader” by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and was one of only 30 educators chosen to participate in its national leadership program. The association recognizes and prepares young educators to help influence education programs, practice and policy on the national and local level.
Spence began his career in education teaching high school French and photojournalism in Stafford County, Va. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in French studies, a master’s degree in secondary education and a doctorate in educational administration and supervision.
He and his wife, Krista, have five children — Isabella, Mattingly, Christopher, Kristianna and Ian. The Spences expect a baby boy in January.
Contact Hannah Sharpe by firstname.lastname@example.org.
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