Mark Biedron, former president of the New Jersey State Board of Education, died on Friday, Nov. 6, after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. A resident of Gladstone, he was 68 years old.

In 2011, he was appointed to the State Board and served as president from 2014 to 2017.

“Mark Biedron was the epitome of an education advocate,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “As State Board of Education president, he based every decision on his belief of what was best for children. Mark also recognized that communication with all stakeholders is essential to maintaining educational excellence. He was a truly extraordinary person and will be sorely missed.”

Gov. Phil Murphy, in a tweet on Tuesday, noted, “Saddened by the passing of Mark Biedron, my friend and former president of the New Jersey State Board of Education. Mark was a giant.”

After leaving the State Board, he continued his involvement in public education. In November 2017, he was appointed by Gov. Murphy to be co-chair of the Governor’s Education, Access and Opportunity Transition Committee and since 2015, also served as the co-chair of the N.J. Juvenile Justice School/Justice Partnership Task Force.

He was a trustee of the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for NJ, chair of UVM’s Rubenstein School Board of Advisors, and a volunteer for Junior Achievement of NJ.  Earlier this year he received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Arts Education in N.J.

Mark Biedron was a founder of the Willow School, a private pre-K-8 school in Gladstone, N.J., which focuses on character development, and is well-known for its achievements in environmental sustainability.

He earned a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and attended graduate school at the University of Colorado where he studied business administration. He began his business career in 1975, when he joined the family business, Con-Lux Coatings, Inc., a manufacturer of low VOC paints and coatings. After the company was sold to Sherwin Williams in 1995, he founded Solid Wood Construction, LLC, a general contracting company, specializing in green construction and historic renovation and Sustainable Growth Technologies, a green building and design consulting company.

He is survived by his wife Christy Tighe Biedron, a former NJSBA vice president for county activities, by his children Laura, Matthew (Brooke), Loring, Henry, and Rose, his brother Scott (Tracey), and many nieces and nephews.

Donations in Mark Biedron’s memory may be made to Junior Achievement of New Jersey at; Stein Hospice at 354 Demott Ln, Somerset NJ 08873; and the ALS Association Greater NY Chapter at 42 Broadway, Suite 1724 New York, NY 10004.