Zais endorses Atwater in GOP primary runoff (copy)

Former S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.

Former S.C. Education Superintendent Mick Zais is being nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. deputy secretary of education.

The move would put Zais answering to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Zais served as South Carolina's elected education superintendent from 2011-2015. He opted against seeking a second term.

A conservative Republican and ex-military officer, he previously served as president of Newberry College for 10 years.

Zais retired from the Army as a brigadier general.

He originally endorsed Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 South Carolina presidential primary.

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The White House announcement that Zais was being nominated for the post credited education improvements in the state that were achieved under Zais' tenure, including higher on-time high school graduation rates and increasing the number of public charter schools and charter school students in the state.

The pick increases the number of South Carolinians in prominent positions in the administration that also features former Gov. Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador and former U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney as budget director.

Ed McMullen, chairman of  Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in the state, was nominated as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland.

McMullen, a Columbia-based political and communications strategist, needs confirmation from the U.S. Senate before taking the post.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.