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Audience in Lecture






Chief Academic Officer


College Achieve Public Schools


Dr. Gemar Mills, renowned as the "turnaround principal," has left an indelible mark on the field of education through his unwavering dedication and innovative approaches. Born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, he recognized the transformative power of education in his own life, driving his passion to provide urban youth with new perspectives. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Math Education from Montclair State University, he embarked on a teaching career at East Side High School in Newark.

Mills's meteoric rise saw him becoming the chair of the math department at Malcolm X Shabazz High School within two years and, astonishingly, the principal at the age of 27, making him the youngest in the school's history. When he took the helm, Shabazz was plagued by low test scores, violence, and dismal attendance rates. However, under Mills's transformative leadership, the school underwent a remarkable turnaround. Within four years, attendance soared, the school environment became safe, and student performance drastically improved. His initiatives raised the percentage of proficient students in language arts to 74% and math to 37%, impressively altering the school's trajectory.

Dr. Mills's impact extends far beyond Shabazz. As the Chief Academic Officer at College Achieve Public Schools, a network of public schools in New Jersey. His work has garnered widespread recognition, featured in prominent media outlets, and documented in an Emmy Award-winning film, "Saving Shabazz: The Long-Shot Battle to Transform a Failing School." Furthermore, he authored "The Turnaround: 180 Days of Change," a resource guide empowering educators to implement his successful reform strategies.

Driven by a profound desire to leave a lasting legacy, Dr. Mills continues to shape the future of education, empowering generations to come and ensuring that decisions are made based on his groundbreaking contributions to education and society.

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