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Jon Spence honored as a 2020 Icon of Education by Ingram’s Magazine

Published on Jun 4, 2020 by Paul K. Logsdon

Dr. Jon Spence
Dr. Jon Spence


SPRINGFIELD, MODr. Jon Spence of Evangel University has been recognized by Ingram’s Magazine as one of their 2020 Icons of Education.

The Kansas City-based business magazine selected 10 distinguished educators from the states of Kansas and Missouri for this honor. Nine serve at the college and university level, and one serves as superintendent of the Topeka School District.

This is the 12th class of Icons of Education. The names were announced in the May edition of the magazine.

Jon Spence is the director of the Center for Student Success at Evangel University, a department where faculty and staff assist students with strengths-based leadership, academic support and accommodations, career development and retention strategies.

He also serves as an instructor in Leadership Studies, a faculty advisor for the EU Scholars Honors program, an academic consultant for Evangel football, and advisor to Social Science student teachers.

“I am honored to be a part of a team committed to helping students understand their identity in Christ while pursuing their vocational calling,” said Spence.

“We’re proud of you, Jon, for all you do for our Evangel community and especially your tremendous dedication to our EU students,” said Dr. Mike McCorcle, provost, when he announced the honor to the campus.

The Ingram’s staff recognized the servant leadership mindset of those who choose to be career educators.

“It wasn’t about the money then; it was about the mission. Today, their choices and that mission have produced a regional work force that drives economic growth and improves the quality of life for millions living in Missouri and Kansas,” said Joe Sweeney, editor-in-chief and publisher.

“I was honored to be considered by Ingram’s,” said Spence. “Then when I saw the list of those being recognized, I was really humbled to be among such outstanding achievers in education.”


Career path

Born in Alabama, most of Spence’s life has revolved around the campus where his father served as president for 40 years.

Jon played football for the Crusaders in 1984 and 1985, earning two varsity letters. In addition to football, he was also involved in various student leadership roles and graduated with a B.S. in social sciences in 1988.

After graduation, Spence taught social science at Mt. Paran Christian School in Marietta, Georgia. He returned to work with the Springfield Public Schools, where he taught and coached football at Pershing Jr. High, Carver Middle School and Kickapoo High School. He also earned his master’s degree at Missouri State University during that time.

Spence has been a member of the Evangel faculty since 1998. Since then, he has earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from University of Missouri at Columbia. In addition, he has become a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a Younique Life Design Certified Coach.

Jon and his wife, Danica, have been married for 26 years and reside in Nixa, Mo. They have four children,

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.



The Ingram’s Magazine 2020 Icons of Education

  • Linda Adams-Wendling, chair of the Department of Nursing Education at Emporia State University
  • Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of the Topeka School District
  • Roger Best, president of the University of Central Missouri
  • David Darwin, chair the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas
  • Schoen Kruse, associate dean for curriculum and integrated learning of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
  • Joe Sopchich, president of Johnson County Community College
  • Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and distance learning for the University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Jon Spence, director of the Center for Student Success at Evangel University
  • Connie White, interim associate dean for clinical programs and assistant dean for community relations and communication at the UMKC School of Dentistry
  • Thad Wilson, president of the Research College of Nursing in KC