By Kirk Moss
Your apology for acting out of character is respectful and one which I appreciate. It shows your depth of character and the courageous man you truly are, who admits without question or hesitation the wrongs of his actions and takes full, unequivocal and immediate responsibility.
We teach students to be honest in their work, and expect professionals to conduct themselves in the highest regard. Without question, plagiarism is an act we do not condone under any circumstance.
However, the news of your resignation was painful to digest and bitter to swallow. I tried desperately to hold back my tears of loss, and taught the entire day with a burdened heart, and a half-tank of energy in my soul, not to mention a bruised spirit. Immediately, my students sensed something was not right with Mr. Moss.
Your actions and educational dedication over the decades towards our students, schooling community and broader society, shined magnificently, effectively and progressively impacting our schools, parents and teaching staff.
For many educators, myself included, who admire your tireless efforts to inspire greatness in our students and teachers, demonstrating leadership at school and at the board level, your presence will be severely missed. Your passionate quest for educational excellence and illustrating with heartfelt vigor the critical role informed, active citizenship plays in all our lives is priceless. The examples and legacy you’ve built include your vigorous efforts at Lawrence Heights with an enriching Boys to Men program which I’ve implemented with immense success at various secondary schools across the city.
Being a mentor to these boys who are becoming young men is quite a challenge for any teacher. However, your pointers, key insights and supportive resources allowed me to have patience and firmly observe the growth, educational development and life-changes within these boys once they took on leadership roles, designed activities and grasped the importance of finding their own voice.
The diverse school choices you’ve designed for parents, including gender and athletics, together with music-based schools, gripped my imagination, allowing me to see the value of using such spaces to nurture, mould and enhance the learning capacity of students from all walks of life.
Such initiatives show clearly that educational success emerges from a myriad of learning methods, not a singular one. More importantly, these settings highlight that education is attainable from a wide variety of learning environments, and the days of one system, process and method of teaching and learning fits all are finally over and behind us.
Your writings and presentations continue to invigorate our practice as teachers and educators to become innovators of learning; teaching to transform the way students conceptualize our society and their stake within it, coupled with ways to work towards its betterment.
On a personal note, your writing on gender, culture and identity in both The Skin I’m In and your second book On Time, On Task, On A Mission, truly influenced my decision to become a proactive educator, working to erase barriers that unjustly and unfairly hinder and impede the educational success of all students, especially those who face unfortunate circumstances and other disadvantages.
You opened my eyes to realize my role as an educator in leveling the playing field of societal access by equitably treating our students, allowing their creativity, individuality and dynamic personalities to enlighten our classrooms and beyond.
When you challenged us to “teach the students we have in front of us and not the ones we wish for” with a loud and powerful voice it struck my conscience and reshaped my identity as a teacher who strives to engage, motivate and ignite a passion for learning within all my students.
Dr. Spence, I write these lines with the utmost respect for previous (and future) directors of education, but I strongly affirm that you’ve been the best we’ve had in quite a few generations, simply because you were much more than a director, educator or leader.
Your actions towards the large issues affecting learning and student success, your vision of education and philosophy of learning touched us in such powerful and joyful ways, and it made us so proud to work in stride with your leadership, and reminded us to constantly reflect and find ways to improve our teaching practices.
You uplifted our confidence in our board and overall education system, re-affirming the impact of our work, and how our daily duties can move mountains, shape minds and change the future of our society and the world beyond our school boundaries. Without question; I continue to witness the results and impact your influence on me has had on my students, making them more effective life-long learners.
I trust your time away from education refreshes your perspective, sharpens your vision and invigorates you with the passion, focus and resilience necessary to progressively educate our students and society at large.
Your respectful and grateful colleague,
Kirk Moss B.A, B.Ed & M.Ed