United States Air Force Academy

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Mr. Spencer Thomas

Director, Strategies for Academic Success Program

Academy Registrar and Student Academic Affairs, Academic Success Center

Spencer Thomas
Contact Information

(719) 333-8656



Mr. Spencer Thomas is the Director of the Strategies for Academic Success (SAS) Program at the United States Air Force Academy. Mr. Thomas is a prior-enlisted, retired Air Force Officer and former Instructor in the Academy’s Management Department. As Director of the SAS Program, he is responsible for equipping academically under-prepared cadets with the learning strategies necessary for academic success leading to graduation and commissioning. Mr. Thomas also assists in an ongoing research effort aimed at enhancing cadet performance.

Prior to this assignment, Mr. Thomas began his civilian service career as a flight line protocol specialist at Peterson AFB, CO and later served as the Acting Director of Protocol, United States Air Force Academy, where he led a 12-member team and assigned, managed, coordinated and oversaw the execution of more than 350 distinguished visitor events and visits annually.

Spencer was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio and he and his wife Jung have three children and one grandchild.


2021    Military Personnel Management Course Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2017    Advanced USAF Supervisors Course Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2017    Civilian Personnel Management Course Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2012    Air Command & Staff College Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2010    Squadron Officer School Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2005    MA Organizational Management (w/ High Honors) Southwest University, Kenner, LA

2002    Air & Space Basic Course Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

2002    Services Initial Skills Course Air Force Institute of Technology, WPAFB, OH

2002    BS Liberal Arts Excelsior College, Albany, NY

1997    AAS Environmental Medicine Technology Community College of the AF, Maxwell AFB, AL

1994    Airman Leadership School Wright-Patterson AFB, OH

Professional Experience

Director, Strategies for Academic Success Program, Dean of Faculty, USAFA, CO Jan 2018 – Present 

Ensures the Academic Success Program team is committed to equipping an annual cohort of more than 140 academically under-prepared Freshmen cadets with the learning strategies necessary for academic success leading to graduation through classroom, small group, and individualized instruction/advising.  Supervises two newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants in support of meeting program goals.  Develops program syllabi, lesson plans and course materials that thoroughly cover course topics and maintain student interest.  Keeps abreast of new developments in the educational, student development and training field affecting assigned courses, incorporates new developments into lessons to ensure innovation and relevancy is reflected in materials, content and instructional methods.  Serves as the Editor for USAFA’s annual Cadet Planner designed to assist cadets in developing effective time management skills and a high degree of personal and professional organization.  Evaluates cadets’ overall performance and appropriately counsels those who are deficient, advising & mentoring them on appropriate improvement strategies. 

Supervisory Protocol Specialist & Acting Director, HQ USAF Academy Protocol Jan 2017 – Dec 2017  

Director for United States Air Force’s busiest protocol office; 12 member directorate supporting 350+ visits and events per year.  Provides key support to3-star Academy Superintendent, senior staff, AOCs, Faculty, Coaches five wing equivalents and one tenant unit.  Manages planning, coordination and execution of special events & ceremonies supporting 4K+ cadets and 600+ DVs per year.  Overseas annual budget in excess of $200K and manages three separate non-appropriated/appropriated funding sources.  Performs first level supervisory personnel management responsibilities.  Structures assignments and reviews work of subordinates based on priorities and deadlines, selective consideration of the difficulty and requirements of assignments, and the capabilities of the employee.

Protocol Specialist, 21st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, CO Mar 2015 – Dec 2016

Plans, organizes, manages, advises and trains others on matters of protocol for the conducting of distinguished visitor (DV) visits, ceremonies, official social functions, and special commander’s conferences and writes related correspondences.  Serves as point of contact for coordinating, planning and directing visits directly to the 21st Space Wing and events and ceremonies for the 21st Space Wing and its geographically separated units worldwide.  Responsible for knowledge of fiscal regulations and laws pertaining to legal expenditure of Appropriated and Non-Appropriated funds for entertaining, ceremonies, and mementos.  Established/Maintained effective working relationships w/ serviced population which includes 4-star commander of NORAD/NORTHCOM, the 4-star commander of Air Force Space Command, the 3-star superintendent of USAFA and the 2-star commander of Fort Carson. 

Deputy Director, 460th Force Support Squadron, Buckley AFB, CO Nov 2013 – Nov 2014

Shared full scope of Squadron’s daily operations by providing leadership/management oversight of over 280 personnel servicing a population of more than 90,000 including 84 tenant organizations.  Oversaw facilities and programs valued at more than $46 million, associated maintenance and construction projects, marketing, commercial sponsorship, promotions and publicity.  Spearheaded initiatives related to a $3.8 million operating budget.  Directed front office operations, unit fitness, safety and security programs, base honor guard, civilian pay, military & civilian personnel services, labor relations, force development and squadron morale functions.

Officer In Charge, U.S. Transportation Command Protocol, Scott AFB, IL Oct 2010 – Oct 2013

​​​​​​​Selectively assigned to the Command Support Group directly supporting United States Transportation Command’s 4-star General/Commander, Deputy, and Chief of Staff.  Assisted Senior Leadership in effectively executing daily activities including coordination with global partners regarding critical distribution/transportation operations supporting national strategic objectives.  Maintained effective liaison with White House Staff, member of Congress and their staffs, Secretary of Defense Representatives, Ministers and Chiefs of Defense of foreign countries, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, members of state local government and various other departmental agencies.

Director of Operations, Academy Registrar’s Office, USAF Academy, CO Apr 2010 – Oct 2010

Oversaw operations of a General Officer’s staff directorate with four divisions of five officers and 40 civilians.  Formulated curriculum policies for 400 academic advisors; coordinated schedules for over 150 Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP) Cadets.  Academic coordinator for junior-year cadets supervising registration of over 1,000 cadets into 28,000 class enrollments annually.     

Advisor & Flight Lead, Air Force Officer Course, Rustamiyah/Taji Air Base, Iraq Jun 2009 – Apr 2010

Advised the Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) Wing Commander and 11-member staff on initial IqAF officer development, airmanship, and leadership training.  Oversaw all training aspects, sourcing/allocation of military instructors and  resources for classroom/testing assignments.  Developed strategic plans with IqAF and Iraqi Military Academy staffs for long-term sustainability of training initiatives.  Supported NATO joint operation force protection efforts.

Chief, Curriculum Advising/Exec Officer, Academy Registrar’s Office, USAF Academy, CO Jun 2005 – Jun 2009

Educated and motivated service academy cadets to become character-based, career Air Force Officers.  Authored bi-annual Curriculum Handbook Supplement.    Developed & conducted training for academic department advisors to first-year cadets.   Served as the staff directorate’s focal point for the Air Force’s Unit Compliance Inspection (UCI) Program.   Managed the Dean’s Academic Working Group impacting the academic policies for 4K+ cadets and 700+ faculty members.  Assisted in the creation/management of the First-Year Experience (FYE) Program.

​​​​​​​Adjunct Instructor, Department of Management, USAF Academy, CO Jan 2006 – Dec 2008

Charged with the responsibility of providing sophomore and junior-level cadets with a clear and meaningful understanding of the universality of management and how it applied to them as a future Air Force officer.  Prepared and presented an instructional framework based on: planning, leading, organizing, and controlling people and corresponding resources upholding the guiding philosophy that  Managers gather information and use models to make decisions that attempt to increase positive outcomes and reduce negative outcomes.  Supported the Academy’s and Department of Management’s learning outcomes of critical thinking, decision-making, and communicating.            



Honors & Awards

Team Lead for USAFA Protocol–earned distinction as HQ USAFA Team of the Quarter, Apr-Jun 2017

Category 3, Civilian of the Quarter, Apr-Jun 2017

Recipient of Wing Commander’s Golden Knight Award for exemplary professionalism, Peterson AFB, CO 2016

Nominee for the 2012 Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated National Convention Award, Scott AFB, IL

Rated #1 of 10 core management instructors on cadet ratings earning F. Theodore Helmer Award for “Teaching Excellence”, USAFA, 2007

Recognized with Dean of Faculty’s highest teaching award, the Outstanding Academy Educator, USAFA, 2007