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Education Obituary


By Ross Brenneman — June 02, 2015 1 min read

Grant Wiggins, a nationally prominent educator and author who helped usher in a shift in pedagogy, died May 26 of a heart condition. He was 64.

In 1998, with Jay McTighe, Mr. Wiggins wrote Understanding by Design, a book that extolled the virtues of backward planning, in which teachers focus on learning goals and craft a curriculum that drives toward the desired outcomes. The book had a major influence on instructional practices.

He was also the president of Authentic Education, a New Jersey-based education training and consulting firm. He previously worked in secondary education for 14 years, as an English and philosophy teacher, as well as a coach.

Grant Wiggins

Mr. Wiggins wrote like an unstoppable engine, whether through his personal blog “Granted, and ...,” op-ed essays, Twitter, his Authentic Education blog, or letters to the editor. He sought to “facilitate serious and spirited discourse about educational topics of import,” his wife, Denise Wilbur, said last week.

Of Mr. Wiggins’ impact on classroom practice, Diana Neebe, an English teacher and instructional technology coach in California, blogged last week: “The best units, the best lessons, the biggest ‘aha!’ moments in my classes have been fueled by his work.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 03, 2015 edition of Education Week as Obituary