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Trump Taps Former Newberry College President to Serve as Deputy Secretary of Education

October 4, 2017


THE WHITE HOUSE -- Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts


President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:


R.D. James of Missouri to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works.  Mr. James has most recently served as a civilian member and engineer on the Mississippi River Commission, originally appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, where he provided water resources engineering direction and policy advice to several Administrations, Congress, and the Army for a drainage basin that covers roughly 41 percent of the United States.  He is a self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins and grain elevators in New Madrid, Missouri.  Over the past 35 years, Mr. James has developed a wealth of knowledge about our nation's critical infrastructure.  He previously served as president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, he served on the board of directors and executive committee of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, the Cotton Producers of Missouri, the Board of Directors of U.S. Bank of Sikeston, and the board of directors of Osceola Products.  Mr. James is the recipient of the prestigious Bronze de Fleury medal for his significant contributions to Army engineering, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Award, and was formerly named the New Madrid County Outstanding Conservation Farmer.  Mr. James received his degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky.



Mitchell Zais of South Carolina to be Deputy Secretary of Education.  Most recently, Mr. Zais served as South Carolina's elected State Superintendent of Education.  During his term in office, the department's budget was reduced while on-time high school graduation rates increased every year to an all-time high.  The number of public charter schools increased 78 percent, the number of public charter school students increased 155 percent, and the number of students taking online courses grew 130 percent.  Prior to that, he served 10 years as president of Newberry College in South Carolina.  The College was recognized for the first time by U.S. News as one of "America's Best Colleges."  He served 31 years as an infantry soldier in the U.S. Army.  He retired as a Brigadier General.  Mr. Zais holds a B.S. in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an M.A. degree in military history, plus M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organizational behavior and social psychology from the University of Washington.  He served as South Carolina Commissioner of Higher Education and is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the states’ highest civilian award. 

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