Whiston prepares for state superintendent duties

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — With the school year ending and July fast approaching, Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston is preparing to take over as State Board of Education superintendent.

Whiston’s final DPS Board of Education meeting as superintendent will be on June 22 before heading to Lansing on July 1 to begin his new position.

Whiston said it is going to be tough and sad to leave Dearborn at the end of the month.

“Dearborn is a great community with great partnerships,” he said. “It’s a great place to live and I have made such great friendships during my time here.”

Whiston also admitted that he saw his career ending in Dearborn with retirement in three or four years and not at the state level.

“The thing I’m going to miss about Dearborn is working with great teams, teachers, administrators and board members,” he said.

Whiston is planning to take the accomplishments and lesson learned from Dearborn to the state level with him.

“The innovative programs that help parents and students will be the biggest thing I will take away from my time in Dearborn,” he said.

Transitioning to state superintendent will take some adjusting but Whiston already has issues in mind he wants to address.

“I want to explore how Michigan can become a top 10 performing state in 10 years and reduce the amount of state standardized testing,” he said.

Whiston also understands there are challenges ahead of him but is excited to get started.

“I want to work with legislators on investing more money in education,” he said. “There is currently so much money going toward health care and retirement.”

Whiston was offered the State superintendent position on March 18. He won the offer for the position with a 7-1 vote after two days of interviews.

The search for a new state superintendent came after current state Supt. Mike Flanagan announced he is retiring on July 1. Flanagan held the state position for 10 years.

The process began on March 3 when Whiston was chosen as one of six semifinalists from 54 applicants.

On March 11 the State Board conducted interviews and narrowed the list of six semifinalists to three.

Oakland Schools Supt. Vickie Markavitch and Washtenaw Intermediate School District Supt. Scott Menzel also made the final three.

Whiston joined the Dearborn Public Schools in 2008 developing award-winning programs for students and passing a $70 million bond proposal for infrastructure needs.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at znajm@bewickpublications.com.)