SU Associate Professor Michael Silver Taught and Mentored K-12 Educators

Washington state’s education community loses “great friend and leader”

August 19, 2014



January 30, 1948 - August 19, 2014




SEATTLE – Seattle University Associate Professor Michael Silver, who led the College of Education’s educational leadership program for the past 10 years, died after a long illness. He was 66.

A former superintendent, Silver was hired by the College of Education in 2004 as director of the educational administration program, developing and teaching courses in leadership and administration for principals, superintendents and program administrators. He was also chair of the Department of Professional Studies.

“Michael generously shared his passion and expertise in leadership and administration with students, faculty and colleagues,” said SU College of Education Dean Deanna Iceman Sands. “He was devoted to the work of preparing and supporting leaders in education to create opportunities and access for all children and youth.”

Prior to coming to Seattle University, Silver was superintendent of schools in the Tukwila School District. He spent 17 years in Tukwila, successfully leading the district through a period of change and growth. “Michael made a huge impact there by opening the doors for the community to work in partnership with the staff – a big challenge in the most ethnically diverse school district in Washington state,” said Sue Lerner, who worked with Silver as director of human and education support services for Tukwila schools.

“As a superintendent, Michael was visionary, committed, and highly effective in leading change that impacted everything from the district's buildings to classroom curricula,” SU College of Education Associate Dean Bob Hughes said. “He carried those strengths to his work preparing administrators to meet challenges in their work. His students learned from his example to remain committed, principled, and hard working.”

A lifelong educator, Silver completed a BA in political science, an MA in social studies education and a PhD in education at Washington University in St. Louis. He was a teacher and served in school and district office administrative positions in the Parkway School District in St. Louis from 1972 to 1986 before moving to Washington state.

“The Seattle University family and Washington state’s education community has lost a great friend and leader,” said Mary Alice Heuschel, who was previously superintendent of Renton Public School District and taught at Seattle University. “Michael taught so many about leadership, service to the community and making a difference in this world,” she said. “For Michael, to be good, kind and gracious was a way of life – he lived by model and example.”

Silver brought his many years of experience as K-12 educator and administrator to Seattle University, where his academic interests centered on educational leadership, principal and superintendent preparation, and school improvement. He created a nationally recognized mentoring program at Seattle University that supported new principals.

Working in partnership with the Archdiocese of Seattle Office for Catholic Schools, Silver developed The Northwest Catholic Educational Leadership Institute for Catholic School Leaders at Seattle University, a program that trained and supported hundreds of educators every summer beginning in 2007. “Through his vision and support the Catholic schools of the Northwest have had the opportunity to learn and implement best practices in education reform to improve student learning,” said Kay Purcell, Assistant Superintendent at the Office for Catholic Schools.

Silver frequently lectured and wrote on school reform and leadership issues, and served on many boards and committees focused on youth and education in the greater Seattle area. His many professional honors include Arts Education Tribute Award, by the Washington Art Education Association (2001); Superintendent of the Year Award by the Washington Library Media Association (2000); Excellence in Educational Leadership Award by the University Council for Educational Administration (1998), and an A+ Award by the Washington Council for Economic Education (1992).

Laurie Stevahn, professor of educational leadership at Seattle University, remembers her colleague “ for his unwavering commitment to his students and the support he provided each one of them, for his wisdom in times of change, for his positive "can do" attitude even in the face of challenging circumstances, and for his love of God as the foundation of his life.”

Silver is survived by his wife, Beverley Silver, who coordinates the Educational Career Services at the College of Education, son and daughter-in-law, Joe and Meghan Silver; daughter and son-in-law, Sabina and Evan Shapiro; and grandchildren Gabby and Alec Shapiro.

Anyone who wishes to send a card  is asked to please mail it to the college (address below) or drop it off at the front desk located in Loyola 500.

College of Education
Silver Family, c/o Dean's Office
901 12th Ave P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122

Seattle University will be holding a memorial service Tuesday, November 4 at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University. A reception will be held in the LeRoux Room in the Student Center following the service.