Newberry College President Dr. Mick Zais is tossing his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination for South Carolina Superintendent of Education. Zais has served as President of Newberry College since 2000. Zais views the state superintendent’s job as his new calling.
“Serving as Superintendent of Education is a way to serve the citizens of the great state of South Carolina and what could be a more precious commodity than our children. I’ll work to insure that each child has he opportunity to attend an excellent school led by an excellent principal and taught by excellent teachers.”
Zais graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) in 1969. He served 31 years in the Army as a paratrooper and ranger.
Zais says as State Superintendent his main focus will be on teachers. Zais says the state needs more qualified, dedicated teachers who care about their students. “A good teacher will motivate students, inspire students, fan into flames the embers of their curiosity, and really get them excited about learning. The thing that is most critical about teachers is that they have to love children. It’s a cliche but it is true that children don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. The first requirement for good teachers is that you have to love the kids.”
Zais says to be more effective teachers must be alleviated of the responsibilities of generating a large number of reports to various bureaucracies. Zais says a teacher’s energies must be focused on educating the student. “They’re frustrated by redundant reports, the number of reports. Some of which are useful, while some are just C.Y.A. All of that just takes time away from students in the classroom. Unless there is a teacher working with a student there’s probably not a lot of learning going on.”
Zais says it is time for the education system to recognize that each student has individual needs and motivations. Zais says to properly satisfy these needs and motivations and properly educate each individual student, more school choices must be provided for parents. “Americans like choices. They like choices in their coffee, in their cereal, in their cars, and everything. The one area parents have no choice is in how and where their child is being educated. We need to find the educational niche that fits the student. We don’t need to make the student fit the educational opportunity, we need to make the educational opportunity fit the student. Unless there’s choice, unless there’s options, you don’t have that.”