Michael Froning (born c. 1941; died May 1, 2013) was the the first director of Russell Math and Science Center at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, dean of the UAB School of Education from 1999 to 2010, and director of the Birmingham Education Foundation from its founding in 2008 until his retirement in 2013.
Froning graduated from Kennett High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor of science in mathematics at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 1963, a master's in mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1964. He worked as a classroom teacher in Baltimore, American Samoa, Hawaii and Massachusetts before earning his doctorate in education at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1990.
Froning came to Birmingham to head math and science programs at ASFA in 1991. After 8 years there, he was appointed dean of UAB's School of Education, leaving in February 2010. As first director of the Birmingham Education Foundation, Froning helped implement career academies at Birmingham City Schools' high schools, saw expanded advanced course offerings, cooperated in the establishment of a "Parent University", and organized an annual Birmingham Education Summit. During his tenure with the BEF, infighting between Superintendent Craig Witherspoon and a majority of the Birmingham Board of Education produced a series of controversies which culminated with an Alabama Department of Education takeover of the system's finances.
Froning died unexpectedly at home in May 2013. He was survived by his wife, Lyn, two children and five grandchildren.