Dr. Vance Mills has devoted his entire 45-year career to advancing and promoting excellence in the instruction of mathematics, science and technology. His vision and leadership dramatically changed teaching methods for mathematics, science and technology at the San Diego Unified School District by encouraging and mentoring teachers to teach creatively for the benefit of thousands of students.
As the SDUSD Director of Mathematics, Science and Educational Technology from 1983 to 1999, Mills coordinated instruction for 174 schools that serve a highly diverse population of 140,000 students. He developed and implemented the SDUSD technology plan, which included the networking of all middle-school classrooms; secured six million dollars in funding from the National Science Foundation to implement Urban Systematic Initiative for all SDUSD schools for mathematics, science and educational technology instruction; developed partnerships with San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego that resulted in projects funded by the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.
Mills was the School-Based manager for California State Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) for 54 low-achieving middle schools across the state from 1999 – 2011. GEAR UP aims to increase the number of lower socio-economic students who are academically prepared for college education by providing support to middle school staff and families.
Additionally, Mills has served as the President of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Education Fund from 1999 to 2010 and continues as an active board member. During his tenure as board president, nearly 200 high school students were awarded Future Educator scholarships, five-year scholarships that include the teacher credential year. Additionally, he led SDEF in establishing a new scholarship fund for Mathematics and Science, which SEDF has now awarded to 16 students.