Photo of Harry Spence

Lewis H. “Harry” Spence was appointed in April 2012, as the first Court Administrator of the Massachusetts Trial Court by the Commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court.  In this newly-created position, he works in collaboration with the Chief Judge of the Trial Court to oversee the operation of seven Trial Court departments with a budget of $560 million, 379 judges and 6,400 court staff across 101 court facilities.  He is focused on providing the support and systems to ensure that the Massachusetts Trial Court becomes the outstanding state court system for the twenty-first century.

Most recently, Spence served on the faculties of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Education, where he was a Professor of Practice and faculty co-director of the Doctorate in Education Leadership Program.

From 2001 to 2007, Spence served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the state’s child welfare program.  In that role he oversaw a budget of $750 million, 3,400 employees and the welfare of 40,000 children.  From 1995 to 2000, Spence served as Deputy Chancellor for Operations for the New York City Public Schools, the nation’s largest school system, which has a budget of $10 billion and 120,000 employees serving 1.1 million students

Prior to his work in New York, Spence was appointed by then-Gov. William F. Weld to the post of Receiver 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.  A lawyer by training, Spence also has worked in private real estate development and as a consultant to the College Board on the Advanced Placement program.

Spence, a resident of Boston, received a J.D. in 1974 from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Harvard College in 1969.