Mrs Whitehead, head of St Mirin's primary in Glasgow and the SNP's Scottish parliamentary candidate in Glasgow Cathcart, lost to Bill Milligan, the salaries convener, by 496 votes to 508.
Mr Milligan is head of Dalmilling primary in South Ayrshire and has been chosen as one of three case studies to fight the high-profile claim for pay parity with secondary heads being pursued by the AHTS. He has also been elected to the General Teaching Council, ironically with the backing of the Educational Institute of Scotland which primary heads have loudly condemned in the past for failing to back their case on pay.
Meanwhile three leading EIS members have been ditched by Glasgow local association in the annual elections to the union's executive council.
Ian McCalman, who led the EIS negotiations with the Government during the Higher Still dispute until he resigned after criticising an executive council decision, appears to have been punished for his part in the saga. A former national president, he came 15th in the contest for the 10 Glasgow seats on the council.
This was one place ahead of George MacBride, the EIS's education convener. The third is Gill Mackay, former chair of the EIS in Glasgow.
Another familiar face departing the scene is Elizabeth Maginnis, education convener of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and leader of the management side in the current pay negotiations. Mrs Maginnis confirmed she is stepping down after the May council elections after 10 years as education chair first in Lothian and then in Edinburgh, but will stay a councillor.