Laurence T. Spring
Laurence T. Spring is Superintendent of the Schenectady City School District, a K-12 public system that educates nearly 10,000 children. Since 2012, Mr. Spring has used his vast knowledge, leadership expertise and data-driven decision-making to lead the district through significant transformation that has resulted in cultural change, improved teaching and increased student proficiency.
The cornerstone of Mr. Spring’s work is to ensure that race, economics and disability are never predictors of student achievement. He is committed to ensuring that Schenectady is culturally competent and that educators are culturally responsive in order to meet the needs of a diverse student population. He applies extensive experience using systems and data to uncover inequities and is driven to ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed.
More than three years ago, Mr. Spring established the Schenectady Equity and Excellence Committee to complete an equity audit, study disproportionality data and review policy. He charged the committee with the development and presentation of a racial justice report card. This product continues to guide the district on matters of equity.
Mr. Spring is an advocate for the disadvantaged and those living in poverty. He continues to address the issue of childhood poverty and food insecurity and is a frequent speaker on the topic. He was a force in bringing the Community Eligibility Option to Schenectady, ensuring that all students receive free breakfast and lunch every day. The implementation and success of the program in Schenectady is used as a model for other districts across the country. Mr. Spring speaks about the program at nationwide conferences.
Under Mr. Spring’s leadership, a Weekend Backpack Program, that began serving 100 families three years ago, has grown to serve a thousand families in 2016.
In the winter of 2012, Mr. Spring launched an aggressive campaign advocating for Schenectady’s fair share of New York State school aid. In his work, Mr. Spring uncovered an issue of discrimination. After taking his findings to state leaders, to no avail, Mr. Spring filed a federal complaint demanding that the issue be resolved. In November 2014, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights opened the complaint. The department continues to investigate and has noted that the handling of this case and outcome will set national precedent.
Mr. Spring is a proven leader of organizational change and has developed a management tool to measure organizational tolerance for change capacity.
Under Mr. Spring’s leadership, student achievement and attendance rates have significantly improved. In 2016, the graduation rate of Schenectady High School was the highest it has been in over a decade. Since Mr. Spring’s arrival in Schenectady, four years ago, the graduation rate has climbed 11 percent.
Mr. Spring has received many accolades for his advocacy efforts, commitment to equity and the work that he is doing in the community. He has been recognized and honored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Human Rights Commission and Mediation Matters. In November 2014, Mr. Spring was honored by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) with the prestigious Ned Pattison award. He continues to speak at many conferences and serves as an expert panelist addressing poverty and mental health issues. He authored an article on the effects of the poverty.
Prior to coming to Schenectady in June 2012, Mr. Spring served as an assistant superintendent for instruction at Wayne Central School District in Ontario, NY for five years, director of student learning at Churchville-Chili Central School District for two years and was an assistant principal for a year. He spent the first five years of his educational career teaching social studies at East Irondequoit Central School District.
Mr. Spring obtained a B.A. in History/Psychology from SUNY Geneseo, M.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester. He is pursuing an Ed.D from Vanderbilt University.
He is an active member of the Schenectady community where he resides with his wife Karen and their two daughters.