Along with so many others in the education community, MASA is mourning the loss of State Superintendent Brian Whiston, who died on Monday after a battle with cancer.

“Brian was a longtime colleague and a longtime friend, and his contributions to public education in this state cannot be overstated,” said MASA Executive Director Chris Wigent. “Brian was a relentless supporter of public education, and a tireless champion for children. He listened to superintendents, having served in the job himself, and was a true collaborator in many ways. His loss is felt deeply by the education community in Michigan.”

Whiston was named State Superintendent in 2015. Prior to that appointment, he had a long career in public education, serving as the superintendent in Dearborn Public Schools and Director of Government and Community Services for the Oakland County ISD. He was a longtime member of MASA, and earned the association’s Superintendent of the Year Award in 2014. His nomination letter, signed by a broad coalition of Dearborn educators and supporters, stated: “Brian Whiston is an outstanding leader. He has great vision and a strong focus. He knows where to direct his focus and how to move others toward his vision. Brian collaborates with others as he readily engages colleagues, staff, students and parents in the learning process. He is a great communicator who listens, guides and leads.” 

Whiston also served as a school board member for 17 years, during which he was named Michigan PTA Board Member of the Year. Additionally, he held the position of President of the Michigan Parent Teacher Association.

A visitation will be held today from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Riverside Chapel, Simpson-Modetz Funeral Home, 5630 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford; and at St. Perpetua Catholic Church, 134 Airport Road, Waterford, on Friday, starting at noon. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Perpetua on Friday at 1 p.m.

Memorials may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, the Waterford Foundation for Public Education or the Dearborn Foundation. The online guest book can be viewed at www.modetzfuneralhomes.com.