A "Celebration of Life" service is planned Monday to remember an Arizona educator whose body was found just off a school campus.
Art Wagner, 43, was Higley Unified School District's executive director of support services. His body was discovered by a school employee about 8:45 a.m. The incident was reported to police as a suicide.
Monday's service is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts, 4132 E. Pecos Rd. in Gilbert.
Wagner served as executive board president for the Arizona Interscholastic Association, a statewide organization which oversees high school athletics, and recently was honored as an outstanding educator by the Arizona School Administrators, which represents school administrators statewide.
He joined Higley Unified School District in 2009. The school district said in a release that he forged new partnerships with parents and business leaders while overseeing community education, transportation, facilities, and district athletics.
Wagner had recently earned a master's level national certification for athletic directors from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Wagner is one of only 11 Arizonans to have achieved this certification.
He is survived by his wife, Kat Hughes, principal of Higley Elementary and Middle School, his mother, Nancy Wagne, his brother, Francis R. Wagner and his sister, Charlotte Wagner.
In Mr. Wagner's honor, the James Megellas Foundation, an educational nonprofit group, has established the "Art Wagner Memorial and Scholarship Fund."
People wanting to contribute should make checks written to the "James Megellas Foundation, care of Higley Unified School District" with the memo, "The Art Wagner Memorial and Scholarship Fund."
Checks can be mailed or dropped off at the Higley District Office, 2935 S. Recker Rd., Gilbert, AZ, 85295. With the exception of Memorial Day, the District Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through May 31.
"Art Wagner was a dedicated educator who has touched many lives," Superintendent A. Denise Birdwell said in a letter to staff. "We honor his legacy and commitment to education."
Birdwell called Wagner's death "a tremendous loss."
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