Deborah Spencer



Deborah Spencer has more than 25 years of experience in research and development in mathematics curricula, instructional design for professional learning, and teacher leadership in mathematics. She has a particular interest in standards-based mathematics curricula and has partnered with school districts, curriculum developers, and researchers to strengthen implementation efforts across the country.

Spencer’s career is distinguished by her drive to help teachers and administrators make thoughtful, informed decisions about mathematics curriculum and instruction. She currently directs a large-scale study investigating the effects of a district-level improvement strategy centered on the use of high-quality materials in 153 elementary schools. She is also a co-principal investigator for a team developing an engaging professional development program for teachers who want to increase their understanding of the Common Core’s Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Spencer received an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in administration, planning, and social policy.

Awards: The SolveMe Mobiles app, developed by Nathan Dinsmore, Mary Fries, Paul Goldenberg, Jane Kang, June Mark, Deborah Spencer, and Rebecca Driscoll, won the 2015 New England Book Show’s Digital Media category.

Selected Publications

Spencer, D., Young, J., Reed, K., Mark, J., O’Dwyer, L., Anastasopoulos, L., & Schwinden, K. (2015). The effect of district support for implementation of mathematics materials: A longitudinal analysis of fourth grade student outcomes. Paper prepared for the 2015 AERA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Spencer, D., Creswell, J., Reed, K., Young, J., & Mark, J. (2013). Coherent implementation of mathematics instructional materials: A multilevel mixed methods study. Paper prepared for the 2013 AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Mark, J., Spencer, D., Zeringue, J., & Schwinden, K. (2010). How do districts choose mathematics textbooks? In B. Reys & R. Reys (eds.), NCTM 2010 yearbook, the K–12 mathematics curriculum: Issues, trends, and future directions. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Spencer, D., Mark, J., Zeringue, J. K., & Schwinden, K. (2010). Curriculum leadership in selecting mathematics instructional materials. Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 12(1), 4–11.

Selected Resources

Resource libraries

This website helps educators understand the role that the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) play within the larger context of the Common Core Standards themselves.