top of page
Mick Zais headshot

Washington, D.C.



Mick Zais



Mick has lived a lifetime of public service, with over 50 years of leading and persuading. He has a record of success in multiple, diverse organizations: political, government, academic, and military. He is a skilled communicator, effective team builder, motivational leader, successful fundraiser, adept financial manager, and a talented public speaker. He claims a solid foundation of integrity was built at home, nurtured at West Point, and reinforced through a life of service to his country, his state, his faith, and America’s students and parents.


As Deputy US Secretary of Education and as the South Carolina State Superintendent of education, he has visited over 300 schools in 19 states.


As state superintendent of education, he oversaw the operation of and advocated policy for 82 school districts, 1250 schools, 51,000 teachers, and 720,000 students. During his tenure, on time graduation rates increased from 72% to an all-time high of 80%.


He assumed the presidency of a struggling college, on probation and about to lose its accreditation. He turned the institution around, more than doubling endowment and almost doubling enrollment. The last three years of his presidency, the institution was identified by US News as one of “America’s Best Colleges.”


Mick has published over 30 op-ed pieces in local and national outlets focused on education and military policy. He has also published over 20 articles in scholarly and professional journals on leadership, military affairs, and education policy.


From a West Point class of over 1100, he is one of only 11 selected for active duty general.


He served in the Middle East as the commanding general of US and Allied Forces in Kuwait.


Mick also served as commanding general of Operation Provide Refuge, the task force that brought 4000 Kosovo refugees out of Macedonia and resettled them across America.


He was the Pentagon’s chief of war plans.


As an associate professor at West Point, Mick taught courses on leadership, organizational behavior, and management consulting.


His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Ranger, Airborne, and Combat Infantryman’s Badges.


  • BS, General Engineering, West Point.

    • MA, Military History and Operations, Command and General Staff College.

  • MS and Ph.D., Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology, University of Washington.

    • Research Fellow, National Security Studies, National War College


Mick won the primary, a runoff, and state-wide general elections to become South Carolina‘s State Superintendent of Education. In this capacity, he worked with a broad range of constituents including House and Senate budget and education committees; state-wide party leadership; education special interest and lobby groups; and television, radio, and print media.


He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina, Winthrop University, and The Citadel.


The Governor appointed him Commissioner of Higher Education where he served six years representing the 21 private colleges and universities in South Carolina.


As a private college president for 10 years, Mick networked with alumni, students and parents, faculty and coaches, the local community, media, and the General Assembly.


Mick was elected by the institutional presidents to serve as their Chairman of the Board for the South Atlantic Athletic Conference and for the association of South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.


He was also elected or appointed to the boards of directors of:

  • The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce,

  • The Lutheran Education Conference of North America,

  • The Foundation for Independent Higher Education,

  • The Southern Region Education Board.


He has made numerous appearances on CNN, local television stations, and ETV as a commentator on military and education policy.


Mick worked closely with allied military and local government officials in the Middle East, Panama, Korea, and Vietnam.


He was elected President and Chairman of the Board by the 24,000 dues-paying members of the American Philatelic Society.


As a junior officer, Mick was selected to serve in the Nixon administration has a White House Social Aide.

bottom of page