Professor of Practice
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Massachusetts Department of Social Services
Former Deputy Chancellor of Operations
New York City Board of Education
Harry Spence was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services in November of 2001, managing an annual budget of approximately $670 million. From 1995 to 2000, Spence served as Deputy Chancellor for Operations for the New York City Public Schools, the nation’s largest school system. Prior to his work in New York, Spence was appointed to the posts of Receiver, Deputy Receiver and Chief Operating Officer for the bankrupt city of Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he served for four years. From 1989 to 1991, Spence was Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; from 1980 to 1984, he served as the Court-Appointed Receiver of the Boston Housing Authority, which became a model for public housing intervention across the nation; and from 1975 to 1978, he held the position of Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority. He has also worked in private real estate development and practiced law. He received a J.D. in 1974 from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Harvard College in 1969.
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