Star achiever chosen to lead schools

A central Mississippi educator who led his school district to become one of the state’s top three performing districts has been named the new superintendent of Biloxi Public Schools.

The Biloxi School Board this morning voted unanimously to hire Arthur H. McMillan to succeed Dr. Paul A. Tisdale as superintendent of the 4,900-student Biloxi Public Schools. Arthur McMillan

McMillan, 47, has served for 10 years as superintendent of the Enterprise School District, where he has guided the district from a Level 3.5 status to a Level 5 before reaching Star status, one of only three in Mississippi. Enterprise is about 150 miles north of Biloxi, in Clarke County.

McMillan, who begins work in Biloxi on July 1, was selected from a field of finalists identified by the Mississippi School Boards Association, which helped the Biloxi School Board recruit and identify candidates to replace the retiring Tisdale. The months-long process included seeking guidance from Biloxi teachers, administrators and the public about the qualities they’d like to see in a new superintendent.

“Arthur McMillan has a proven record of accomplishment,” said School Board President Kenny Holloway. “He has been an educator for 24 years. He has worked his way up through the ranks and has been successful by being a consensus builder.”

McMillan’s references included a trio of leading educators in Mississippi: Dr. Tom Burnham, the state superintendent of education and a former Biloxi superintendent; Dr. Hank Bounds, the commissioner of the Institutions of Higher Learning and a former state superintendent of education; and Dr. Sue Matheson, superintendent of education at Pass Christian Public Schools, the only school district to score higher than Enterprise in state academic evaluations.

McMillan has a master’s degree in Education from Mississippi State University, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. He also has received an associate’s degree from East Central Junior College.

McMillan began his career in 1987 at Lake High School, part of the Scott County School District, where for seven years he oversaw a successful girls basketball program, and served as teacher and assistant principal. In 1994, he began a four-year stint at the Newton Municipal School District, where he served as assistant principal, coached girls basketball, and later became Federal Programs Director. In 1998, he became principal of Carthage High School, where he was challenged to restore student discipline and improve morale of teachers and students.

He was appointed superintendent in Enterprise in 2001.

McMillan and his wife, Alisia, have two children: a daughter, Annedrea, who will be a freshman at Mississippi State; and a son, Amis, who will be a fourth grader in Biloxi Public Schools.

His strongest asset, McMillan said, is his ability to deal with people in a straight-forward, honest manner. “This leads to building trustworthy relationships with others,” he said. “I strive to promote integrity in not only the workplace, but also with family relationships and friendships.”