Biography

Dr. Aaron Spence has served as Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) since June 2014. As Superintendent, he oversees the operation of 86 schools (serving almost 68,000 students) as well as all administrative support functions for the school division. As has been the case throughout his 23-year career, Dr. Spence leads with his passion for both public education and for providing all students with the best possible opportunities in school. His commitment and leadership were key factors in his selection as the 2018 Region II Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.

During his time in Virginia Beach, Dr. Spence has brought innovative initiatives and groundbreaking work to the division. For example, he directed the creation of an Entrepreneurship and Business Academy at one of the division’s 12 comprehensive high schools and he led the launch of the division’s Digital Learning Anchor School initiative which serves as a pilot for a divisionwide digital 1:1 technology program. In addition, he developed expanded partnerships with leading community organizations, businesses and the military. For example, working with the United States Navy, all 5,000 fifth-grade students in the division took part in an interactive learning experience at the NAS Oceana Air Show.

In this same spirit, Dr. Spence has taken on leadership roles in the community, joining the boards of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce (Virginia Beach division), United Way of South Hampton Roads, Opportunity, Inc., the Access College Foundation and the Public Education Foundation. In January 2017, Spence was the recipient of the Creating Unity in Our Community “Lead Like King” Award for his leadership of the division’s work to ensure equitable access to resources and rigorous courses for every student, every day.

Dr. Spence’s work in Virginia Beach has led to national acclaim. He has been asked to present at conferences for the National School Board Association and the American Association of School Administrators. He was a contributor to Dr. Mark Edwards’ 2017 book, “Thank you for your leadership: the power of distributed leadership in a digital conversion model.” He also was featured in a white paper on education technology, which was published by the Center for Digital Education. In addition, Dr. Spence was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to serve as a member on the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact for Educational Opportunity for Military Children; he was asked to serve as the 2017 national chair for the Consortium of Large Countywide and Suburban School Districts; and he is the national vice chair for the EdLeader21 Professional Learning Community (PLC) Advisory Committee. In addition, in 2010, Dr. Spence was selected as an Emerging Leader by ASCD (formerly Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) and invited to participate in its national leadership program.

Dr. Spence came to VBCPS after serving as superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina. During his tenure there, he launched a divisionwide digital learning initiative designed to put a digital device, such as a laptop or tablet, in the hands of every student and teacher. He and his staff worked strategically to improve the school district’s End of Grade Proficiency Scores. They were successful on that front, moving up Moore County Public Schools 20 places in state rankings.

Before his service in Moore County, Dr. Spence was Chief High School Officer of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the nation's seventh largest school district. He also served as Chief Academic Officer and Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Chesterfield County, Virginia, as well as principal of Deep Run High School in Henrico County, Virginia. Spence began his career in 1994 as a French and photojournalism teacher in Stafford County Public Schools.

He attended the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor's degree in French studies, a master's degree in secondary education and a doctorate in educational administration and supervision. Dr. Spence is a proud graduate of Green Run High School in Virginia Beach.

He and his wife, Krista, have six children; Bella (Isabella), Mattingly, Christopher, Kristianna, Ian and Aaron.

Follow Dr. Spence on Twitter. @BeachSupe