Ed Whitener was educated in the Lenoir City Schools and graduated from Appalachian State University with Honors in 1971. He began his teaching career with the Surry County Schools serving as Band Director in the East Surry School District from 1971-76. He became Band Director at William Lenoir Middle School in 1979, where he served until his retirement in 2005. During that tenure, his bands earned 23 Superior Ratings at the Northwest District Concert Band Festival with his Eighth Grade Band earning 21 consecutive Superior Ratings. His students consistently placed high in the All District Honors Band, frequently earning first chair. He credits his mentors in this distinguished profession for giving him the foundation and desire to teach instrumental music. Among them are: John D. Miller, Bernard Hirsch, Madeline Mullis, Camilla Graeber, Phillip Paul, Bob Love and Charles Isley. Numerous former students have gone on to be successful band or choral directors and music teachers in their own right.
Mr. Whitener was the Educator of the Year for the Caldwell County School System in 1997 and was a regional semi-finalist for the Northwest District of North Carolina for State Teacher of the Year in 1998. He was the recipient of the State Human Relations Award for the North Carolina Association of Educators for 1998. He is a Past Chairman of the Northwest District Bandmasters Association and served on the North Carolina Bandmasters Board of Directors from 1990 - 2002. He chaired the Northwest District Senior High Band Festival 1993 - 2002. He is also a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Northwest District Bandmasters Association. He has served as a clinician, adjudicator and consultant in North and South Carolina as well as Virginia and Tennessee. He was inducted into the prestigious American School Band Directors Association in July 1999. In May of 2016 he was inducted into the North Carolina Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame and in July 2016 he was presented with the Achievement Award from the City of Lenoir Harambe Festival for his contributions to the community. He is currently serving as an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State University and is a conductor and participant with the James C. Harper School of Performing Arts Concert Band.
Mr. Whitener is chairman of The Whitener Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to serving many needs and causes throughout North Carolina. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Caldwell People and the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University as well as the Caldwell Arts Council and has served previously with the LHS Foundation and the Caldwell Heritage Museum.
Mr. Whitener is also very active in his church serving as host team leader and life group leader. Mr. Whitener and his wife, Karen, have been married for 51+ years and have a son and a daughter, five grandsons and one granddaughter.