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In Memoriam: Van Mueller, Coordinator Emeritus Minnesota EPFP

Thursday, March 15, 2012   (2 Comments)
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In Memoriam

Van D. Mueller, long time (1977-Present) Coordinator of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s (IEL) Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) in Minnesota passed away on March 8, 2012. His many contributions to the field of education and to IEL personified the advice often attributed to another Minnesota-based leader of note, Harlan Cleveland: think globally; act locally.

Van, a "Yooper” (a native of Manistique in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), earned degrees from Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan; he earned his Ed.D. from Michigan State University. He spent 10 years as a teacher and administrator in Michigan public schools and in the Michigan Department of Education.

For thirty-three years, Van taught in the University of Minnesota’s Educational Administration Department (now Health and Human Development). In addition to his teaching duties at the ‘U’, he advised over 150 graduate students, completed school finance studies in ten states and testified in equity law suits in state courts in seven states. Van was passionate about education and equity.

In his "spare time,” Van coordinated the Minnesota EPFP (most recently with Dan Loritz, Randy Johnson, Tim McDonald, and Mary Donaldson), helping to prepare over 300 leaders for education – individuals who had a deeper understanding of national education policy and its implications for state and local education systems. In addition, these leaders had access to a broader national network of professional colleagues on whom to call for assistance. In 2007, IEL awarded Van its Distinguished Service Award.

For two years, Van served as president of the Minnesota PTA, and as vice-president and treasurer of the National PTA. He co-founded the American Education Finance Association where he served as a board member, vice-president, president, and co-edited two AEFA yearbooks; one of his specialty areas was a focus on rural school finance. Van also held several offices with the local, state and national Phi Delta Kappa, an honorary professional education association.

Van is survived by his wife of sixty years, Mildred (Mike), EPFP 1984-1985; two daughters, Vanessa Mueller, Kerry Fritze; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Edith Irene in 1982. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Edith I. Mueller scholarship fund at the Department of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota or the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter in Manistique, Michigan.


Melissa R. Newman (Russell) says...
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012
He was a true educator and leader. His voice on school finance made a difference. He will be missed.
Angela C. Irving says...
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012
I will truly miss my friend and mentor, Van Mueller. I will always remember his great sense of humor and sage wisdom. My sincerest sympathy to his family, extended family and friends, Angie Irving

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