Mick Zais

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Mick Zais
17th South Carolina Superintendent of Education
Assumed office
January 12, 2011
Preceded by Jim Rex
Personal details
Born December 10, 1946
Political party Republican
Alma mater United States Military Academy
University of Washington
Occupation Educator

Mitchell M. "Mick" Zais (born December 10, 1946) is the 17th South Carolina Superintendent of Education. Zais took the oath of office on January 12, 2011. Before winning the election, he served as President of Newberry College for ten years.[1]

Education background[edit]

Zais earned a bachelor's of science degree in engineering from West Point, a masters of science and a doctorate in social psychology and organizational behavior both from the University of Washington and a masters of art in military history from the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Military career[edit]

During his military career, 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. 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.

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. 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.

Zais' 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.

Newberry College[edit]

Zais became the president of Newberry College in August 2000. During his time at Newberry, both enrollment and endowment nearly doubled. The college added forensic chemistry and nursing to the academic curriculum. He retired in June 2010, just prior to running for state superintendent.[2]

2010 election[edit]

Zais ran in a crowded field for the Republican nomination. Zais was the top vote getter in the primary but did not clear the necessary 50% threshold. Zais defeated Elizabeth Moffly in the run-off. He faced Democrat Frank Holleman, Libertarian Tim Moultrie and two minor party candidates in the November general election. Zais won with 51% of the vote.[3][4]


  1. ^ "State Superintendent Of Education Mick Zais". South Carolina Department Of Education. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  2. ^ "2009-2010 Bill 5090: Dr. Michael M. Zais". South Carolina Legislature Online. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  3. ^ "Republican Mick Zais Takes Victory in Race for State Superintendent of Education in South Carolina". WSPA. 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  4. ^ "Mick Zais". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2013-10-27.