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State Superintendent of Education visits Denmark-Olar Schools Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mitchell M. “Mick” Zais paid a visit to Denmark-Olar High School and Denmark- Olar Middle School on Friday morning. Zais, who took office as State Superintendent of Education on January 12, 2011 is a former President of Newberry College, having served for 10-years in that capacity. As a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, having served 31-years on active duty in the U.S. Army and retiring as a Brigadier General, Zias has a learned a thing or two about leadership, which was the reason he gave for his visit to the schools in Denmark.

“One thing I’ve discovered after 40-years of leading organizations that you can’t lead anything from behind a desk,” he said. Zais, who became the 17th state superintendent of education after his election noted that it’s important that the state superintendent get out of Columbia and go out and visit with superintendents and principals and other instructional leaders to understand better the challenges that they face. He noted that visiting local schools gives him the opportunity to know about those programs and policies that are producing successful results and to help them “celebrate” their successes and to “coach” them to get better results when appropriate.

Zais noted that when he comes to a school he has “data” on the school’s performance and how it compares to other schools with similar levels of poverty. He stated he also brings data on finances and how their finances compare to other schools in other districts “and I share that,” he said. He stated paying visits to local school districts also gives him the opportunity to see the physical facility up close, adding “we know of course a building never hugged a child and the single most important component in a child’s education is the man or woman standing at the front of the classroom and so we talk a lot about teaching as well,” Zias said.

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