Arthur Mills IV
The Broad Residency Class of 2010-2012
Executive Director, Talent Management and Organizational Strategy, Fulton County Schools
In my career, true collaboration has come about more often through the lens of mutual respect and shared purpose.
When he was in high school, Arthur Mills was invited to participate in a mentoring program in which he was paired with a junior high school student. “I sensed that my little brother’s educational development was nowhere near where mine had been at the same age, driven by lack of exposure and family economic difficulty,” he said. The experience planted a seed that Arthur would nurture by volunteering in schools as he attended college and began a career in finance and analysis.
During business school, Arthur got a taste of how he might apply his business acumen to challenges faced by non-profit organizations. He was accepted into a prestigious program in which student teams were paired with local organizations to tackle specific issues facing communities in Austin, Texas. “The experience helped me develop my listening skills to better understand and involve key stakeholders when undergoing change,” Arthur recalls.
He worked his way up the ranks of companies like Dell and General Mills, continuing to volunteer and carrying the lessons he learned about connecting with people to create positive change. It was while he was at General Mills that he learned about The Broad Residency in Urban Education. “The Residency presented the ideal opportunity for me to connect my prior mentoring and volunteering experiences, the analytical and communication skills I developed in the private sector and my passion for helping all children access world-class educational opportunities.”
As a Resident, Arthur was director of project management with Fulton County Schools in Georgia. As Arthur began his Residency, Fulton — a truly diverse countywide district spanning more than 70 miles — had begun considering ways to shift the district’s model for school governance, allowing more decisions to be made at each school site.
Arthur established open lines of communication between the Board of Education and all stakeholders in the process, from staff to students, helping community members share their input with the board and stay abreast of the latest developments. Though long and complicated, the transition was a success, and Fulton County Schools’ decision to decentralize its operations was approved by the state in 2012. The change in structure, known in Georgia as “charterizing” the district, gave parents, teachers and local community members more flexibility to support the unique needs of their schools and students.
After his Residency, Arthur continued to work with FCS as executive director of talent management and organizational strategy. In this role, he helped shepherd the transformation of teacher recruitment and retention strategies to meet the growing district’s changing needs. The first step: To create a new teacher selection and support model that produced a stronger pool of new teachers, particularly for the schools and classrooms that were struggling the most.
Once again, Arthur sought ways to reach all stakeholders and provide clear, helpful information at every step. He found that principals appreciated the clarity of the process, potential candidates were energized by the district’s commitment to its people and new teachers felt valued by the foundational supports —including peer mentors and virtual coaching — that allowed them to become more effective.
The initiative, known as GO Fulton, earned the district several awards from the Georgia Association of School Personnel. They were awarded Platinum Awards for Transforming Teacher Selection and Reimagining Teacher Induction in 2014 and 2015, respectively. More importantly, GO Fulton showed results. Three months after implementing the teacher selection model, FCS welcomed its first cohort under the new system, with more than 600 new teachers attending the new teacher orientation.
But Arthur’s work is never done, and he continues to look for ways to recruit, attract, select, place and develop top K-12 talent that will drive significant and sustainable student achievement gains across the district. His motivation? “Each time I leave a school, I am energized by the potential that exists in our children and emboldened by the challenge at hand.”
The Broad Residency
Class of 2010-2012
Residency Role: Director, Project Manangement, Fulton County Schools, Georgia
M.B.A., McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
B.A., finance, University of Texas at Austin