Jonathan Spear

Over more than 25 years, Jonathan has been a teacher, administrator, foundation staff, and start-up non-profiteer. He has worked in district, charter and parochial schools including his role as a founding teacher at the New York City Museum School.  Most recently, as co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Generation Schools Network, he helped to develop and refine a new model for public schools. By rethinking time, talent and the use of resources, the schools he worked with provided students not only more time but also a wider range of opportunities to connect learning to life – through Advocacy programs and College and Career Intensives.  At the same time, the schools provided teachers an hour a day and 20 days each year of collaborative time, built into their regular work, to plan for students’ success.  And because the model added time without increasing staff, schools were able to accomplish all of this without increasing costs. Generation Schools planned strategically and secured an agreement signed by both Chancellor Joel Klein and UFT President Randi Weingarten, enabling us to open Brooklyn Generation School (BGS) as a public, non-charter school. Jonathan was deeply engaged in the launch and support of BGS; at the same time he has coached existing schools and districts, and working with other non-profits, leveraging some of the initial insights and lessons learned to address their challenges and meet their needs, to be more effective and sustained over time.

Throughout his career, he has developed a deep understanding of pedagogy and instruction, the needs of our city’s children, especially the needs of students who are most vulnerable because they have not been well served by the institutions in their communities. He has developed a broad understanding of education policy and practice, the non-profit sector and the potential of organizations to collaborate and support students, families and communities. In each of his roles, he has demonstrated his ability to identify and think strategically about needs and opportunities, and a commitment to coaching colleagues and school leaders, so that they are consistently building their capacity to implement, support others, and improve their practice over time.  Jonathan has been a professional developer and frequent panelist, presenter and speaker at a wide range of local, state and national conferences.

Jonathan remains committed to improving equity and outcomes for a broad range of students, ensuring that students thrive not only academically but socially, emotionally, physically and creatively. In all of his work, he has worked to create opportunities for children and build stronger communities of support. He is most proud of the success he has had changing the trajectory of students’ lives.

Jonathan earned his B.A. in political science at the University of Chicago, and his Master’s degree in Early Adolescent Education at Bank Street College of Education.  In addition, he earned his administrative credentials at New York University where he was an Astor Fellow.