RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Former Virginia Superintendent for Public Instruction Dr. Bill Bosher passed away Sunday night.
Dr. Bosher began his career as a teacher, served as superintendent in both Henrico and Chesterfield and helped lead education policy in the state for several years. He also served as NBC12's educational expert.
Bosher served as Dean of Education at VCU then as Executive Director of the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute at VCU. He also served on the Virginia State University Board of Visitors. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Richmond, later received his masters from Virginia Commonwealth University and his doctorate from the University of Virginia.
He was the only superintendent in Virginia to twice be named Superintendent of the Year and was honored by the Kennedy Center as arts administrator of the year. He served as an education consultant in dozens of states and foreign countries.
"He was very welcoming, very open, very nice, pleasant person," remembers LeQuan Hylton.
Hylton first met Bill Bosher when he was a teen and new student in Chesterfield County. Now, nearly 20-years later, Dr. Bosher was his dissertation chair as he worked on his PhD at VCU. He says news of his passing is comparable to losing his own father a few years ago.
"A lot of people really respected him and valued his opinion, so definitely a person I want to be like. Definitely one of my role models," explains Hylton.
Tributes for the distinguished educator began pouring in Monday morning.
"Bill dedicated his life to changing lives, and we are all testament to his wonderful legacy," wrote VCU President Michael Rao. "We will always remember his extraordinary kindness, his heart-warming smile, and how compassionate and caring he was to every person he met. He will be missed."
"We are saddened by the passing of Dr. Bill Bosher, a towering figure in Virginia education," wrote Henrico Superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw. "Dr. Bosher's vision, wisdom, and caring demeanor impacted so many lives throughout his distinguished career. His good work lives on through the many people he touched. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."
"Dr. Bosher's positive impact on public education in the Commonwealth of Virginia is profound," said Chesterfield Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome. "I valued my friendship with him, and always appreciated his availability as a sounding board for me and many of my colleagues on education issues. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
"We are shocked at the news of Dr. Bosher's passing," said Virginia State University Rector Harry Black. "Our sincerest condolences go to his family. Bill was a valuable colleague whose demeanor and wisdom elicited the utmost respect from his fellow board members. It was an honor to serve with one of the most trusted and respected educators of our day."
"Bill's life epitomized public service. He was a very empathetic and thoughtful man. His contribution to our community through the years is immeasurable," VSU President Keith T. Miller said, " His passing is a tremendous loss not only to VSU, but to all students, from kindergarten to college, in the Commonwealth. We will miss Bill's steady leadership and I will miss him as a dear friend. The entire VSU community sends our thoughts and prayers to Bill's family."
"I am so sorry to learn of the passing of Dr. Bill Bosher," wrote Sen. Mark Warner. "Bill Bosher was a thoughtful policymaker and effective administrator. He demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the power of quality public schools to create opportunities for all of Virginia's young people. I offer my condolences to his family, friends and many colleagues."
"Bill Bosher was one of the great Virginia education leaders of the last century," said Sen. Tim Kaine. "He will be sorely missed."
"Bill Bosher was a man of great faith and good cheer," current Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. "As an educator and reformer, Bill always put the interests of children first. He believed that public schools have a moral obligation to educate all children to their highest potential and should be held accountable for doing so."
"Bill Bosher stood tall in establishing the standards and accountability system that led to the excellence that today characterizes the commonwealth's public schools," Board of Education President Christian Braunlich said. "And he was a presence in the current discussion about K-12 policy whose departure creates a vacuum not easily filled. Bill knew where we started, how we got to where we are today, and he had a vision of where we need to go to continue expanding opportunity for Virginia students."
No plans have yet been announced for memorial services.