For Immediate Release

Tracy S. Weeks, Ph.D.
Executive Director
202-715-6636 x700
[email protected]

SETDA Honors Rick Snyder, Governor and
Brian Whiston, the late Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michigan
with 2018 State Policy Maker of the Year Award

November 13, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) SETDA, the principal membership association of the U.S. state and territorial educational technology leaders today announced Michigan leaders, Governor Rick Snyder and the late State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Brian Whiston as the recipients of the 2018 SETDA State Policy Maker of the Year Award. Governor Snyder and Superintendent Whiston were honored for their vision and leadership in support for the effective use of technology in Michigan at SETDA’s 2018 Leadership Summit – Championing Education Leaders in the Digital Age in Arlington, Virginia.

“Brian was a great partner in working toward making Michigan a top 10 education state. Although we have made good progress in the STEM fields through programs like FIRST Robotics and the Marshall Plan for Talent, we need to keep this momentum going,” Snyder said. “We owe it to our future generations to continue to utilize new technologies to create educational opportunities and provide residents with the resources they need to be successful. It’s an honor to receive this award, and an even bigger honor to accept it on behalf of my friend and colleague Brian Whiston.”

Since his first year in office, State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, has been a staunch supporter of education and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) efforts in support of increased student achievement. Under Governor Snyder’s leadership, the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant, which began in 2013, successfully prepared schools to implement digital state assessments. In 2013, the State School Aid Act appropriated $3 million for FIRST Robotics. Governor Snyder has attended the Michigan state FIRST championship since 2013, encouraging student participation in STEM. FIRST funding at the state level has continued every year since.. Michigan is also hosting the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit through 2020! Beyond Governor Snyder’s initial work in support of online assessments and STEM, he has also charged a commission with increasing broadband access to under and unserved areas. Additionally, he has developed the “Marshall Plan for Talent,” a comprehensive plan to increase career exploration, help schools evolve to competency-based learning, and create multiple pathways for entry into the education workforce, particularly for critical shortage areas. The Marshall Plan is a revolutionary approach to building a stronger Michigan, leveraging business and industry.

Along with Governor Snyder, the late State Superintendent Brian Whiston established a vision through the Top 10 in 10 with the goal being to make Michigan a Top 10 Education State. According to the Top 10 in 10, “Every learner in Michigan’s public schools will have an inspiring, engaging, and caring learning environment that fosters creative and critical thinkers who believe in their ability to positively influence Michigan and the world beyond.” The vision that State Superintendent Whiston had set the State of Michigan on a path to becoming a Top 10 education state in 10 years. The Michigan Department of Education continues to work toward making that vision come a reality, to support learners and learning.

“Having not one, but two leaders in the state who have a vision for how digital teaching and learning can support students allows for innovation and creativity throughout the state,” said Tracy Weeks, Executive Director, SETDA.

“This co-award, presented to both Governor Snyder and the late State Superintendent Brian Whiston, represents the hard work of leaders to make Michigan a Top 10 education state. Their vision has helped put us on the map in terms of access to broadband and technology, STEM and robotics opportunities, educational technology, digital literacy, and computer science. We are fortunate to have such visionaries leading the way in Michigan” – Ann-Marie Mapes, Educational Technology Manager, MDE


Founded in 2001, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal non-profit membership association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology leaders. Our mission is to build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through technology policy and practice. For more information, please visit


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