Dr. Mitchell M. "Mick" Zais took the oath of office as State Superintendent of Education on January 12, 2011.
grew up in a military family, attending ten public schools in twelve years.
Before winning public election as the seventeenth State Superintendent of Education, he served as President of Newberry College for ten years.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served thirty-one years on active duty in the United States Army, retiring as a Brigadier General.
In addition to a Bachelor's of Science degree in engineering from West Point, Dr. Zais earned Masters of Science and Doctorate degrees in social psychology and organizational behavior from the University of Washington, a Master of Arts degree in military history from the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
He was also a Research Fellow in National Security Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
During his military career, Dr. Zais served in a wide variety of infantry units in Vietnam, the United States, and Korea.
He commanded two rifle companies, an infantry battalion, a light infantry brigade, and served as deputy commanding general at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Dr. Zais was also the Pentagon's Chief of War Plans.
As an assistant professor at West Point
for three years, he
taught organizational behavior, leadership, and management consulting.
Dr. Zais served as a White House aide and in Panama as executive assistant to the four-star commander of all U.S. forces in Central and South America.
In Kuwait, he
was commanding general of U.S. and Allied forces.
He also served as commanding general of Operation Provide Refuge, the task force that cared for 4,000 Kosovo refugees who entered the United States.
Dr. Zais' last military assignment was as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, the headquarters that administers the 184,000 part-time Reservists, 9,000 civilian employees, and 11,000 full-time military members of the Army Reserve.
military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Air Medal; the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; the Humanitarian Service Medal; the Ranger, Airborne, and Combat Infantryman's Badges; and the South Carolina Meritorious Service Medal.
wife Susan are the parents of two married adult children who graduated from public schools in Newberry