Jeffrey Spector smiling with glasses.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Spector

The College of Education and Human Development is proud to highlight the Andrew Spector Special Education Foundation and its founder, Jeffrey Spector. Spector is a dedicated philanthropist whose unwavering commitment to supporting individuals with special needs led to the establishment of this impactful organization.


Spector graciously shared insights into the foundation's mission and its profound impact on promoting education and health within the special needs community.


Founded in memory of Spector's brother, Andrew Spector, who passed away five years ago in his early 50's, the foundation is a testament to Andrew's enduring legacy. Spector, alongside his parents Harvey and Naomi, his wife Nancy, and their three children, Zachary, Tyler, and Hannah, oversees the foundation's operations with unwavering commitment and compassion.


The Andrew Spector Special Education Foundation supports innovative programs prioritizing the education and well-being of individuals with special needs, particularly in underserved communities. Through strategic partnerships and targeted initiatives, the foundation addresses critical challenges individuals with special needs and their families face, striving to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.


"We wanted to do something in my brother's memory, so we created a foundation to support the development of teachers, case workers and other people who support families who have individuals with special needs, particularly in communities that might not have the same resources as other communities," said Spector.


Spector shared that fifty years ago, it was uncommon for parents to bring their Down syndrome children home with them. They would often go to an institution. 


Spector's parents were the first generation that brought their children back with them from the hospital and more support was available to them. 


"My parents did a wonderful job with my brother and afforded him many opportunities, and he had many excellent teachers and role models. Whether it was through school or socialization groups or in a workshop, he was working, he had role models and teachers. We were hoping to be able to give the type of support or enable the kind of support that Andrew received or many others who may not have been in the same type of situation that my brother was that's why we initially set up the foundation," added Spector. 


After researching different types of special needs and education programs, Spector was impressed with what the College of Education and Human Development had to offer and reached out and connected to Tamara Sniad, associate dean of teacher education and professional experiences.


One of the impactful initiatives supported by the Andrew Spector Special Education Foundation is the Temple Teacher Residency (TTR) program at Temple University's College of Education and Human Development. 


"Faculty member Joseph Boyle introduced me to Jeffrey Spector in 2019. Since then, Mr. Spector has been a generous supporter of our Special Education teacher preparation programs and partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. He and his family are truly committed to helping ensure that all children with disabilities in Philadelphia have access to great teachers," said Sniad. 


TTR is an accelerated teacher education program that prepares diverse and highly motivated individuals to teach middle or high school mathematics, science, Spanish, or special education in high-need schools in Philadelphia. In only 12 months (13.5 for special education), graduates earn a master's in education (MEd) and complete the necessary courses and fieldwork for Instructional certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


Jeffrey Spector's generous support of TTR and other initiatives at Temple University's College of Education and Human Development demonstrates his unwavering commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society. His dedication to supporting special education initiatives serves as an inspiration to us all.