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State Board Selects Whiston for Next State Superintendent

March 18, 2015

LANSING – The State Board of Education today selected Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston as the next State Superintendent.  Current State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is retiring at the end of June.

“Brian Whiston, of all our very strong candidates, brought the strongest combination of game plan and ideas to improve education achievement; proven ability to move the needle and work well in support of educators and improving educational achievement and outcomes,” said State Board of Education President John C. Austin. “He has a real facility and ability to work effectively with all of the stakeholders, the field of educators, the Legislature, the Governor, and the State Board, as we work together to improve education outcomes in Michigan.”

Whiston was selected on a 7-1 vote, with State Board member Eileen Weiser voting no. Austin now will begin negotiating on behalf of the State Board with Whiston on his contract, which will begin July 1.

Whiston, who has a master’s degree in political science from Wayne State University, has been superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools since 2008. Dearborn Public Schools is a school district of over 19,000 students, located in Wayne County in southeast Michigan. He formerly was director of Government & Community Services for Oakland Schools, and previously held a program assistant to the director position at the Oakland County Road Commission.

He also was a school board member at the Waterford School District from 1991-2008 and was a Wayne State University instructor from 2001-2006. He was chief of staff for then state Sen. Rudy Nichols from 1986-1991.

The Board on March 3 announced Whiston and five other semifinalists for the next state superintendent, from among an applicant pool of 54 candidates.

After the first round of interviews, the State Board narrowed the list to three finalists: Whiston; Vickie Markavitch, superintendent of Oakland Schools; and Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. All three were interviewed today by the State Board.

Whiston said he wants to accomplish two things in his first 100 days as State Superintendent: a plan to improve achievement and accountability; and a plan to change how schools are funded.