Why Mills

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The Mills College School of Education was founded in 1920 in Oakland, California.

History Photo 1Our curriculum began with a five-year program leading to a master's degree and state certification in teaching—making Mills one of the first colleges in California to offer a teaching credential. The Mills College Children's School was established in 1926 as the first laboratory school west of the Mississippi, designed to prepare early childhood professionals and elementary school teachers. In 1999, the School of Education began offering Mills' first doctoral degree, an EdD in educational leadership.

History Photo 2From its inception, the Mills College School of Education had a mission to serve the neighboring community as well as the children of Mills faculty and students. This mission has evolved over the years to support changing social needs. For example, in the 1940s, we offered programs for young children in Japanese American relocation camps and for the children of migrant workers.

For most of its history the School of Education was a department of the College; in 2006 we established a school to reflect our growing size, range of degree programs, and importance to the local community. In the current year, we have more than 200 students, representing approximately 30 percent of the Mills graduate student body and close to 15 percent of the student body as a whole.

History Photo 3The Mills College School of Education has a strong local and national reputation in the areas of early childhood education, teacher preparation, and school leadership. We are known for our commitment to social justice, which permeates our teaching and research. We are also recognized for our preparation of highly skilled educational leaders at the early childhood, classroom, institutional (e.g., hospital), school, and district levels.

Throughout our history, the Mills College School of Education has had a close relationship with the Oakland Unified School District and other neighboring school districts. Our graduates are highly regarded teachers and administrators in many of our local schools; childcare workers in our early childhood centers; and child life workers in local hospitals. Their impact makes a difference in our communities every day.


Last Updated: 7/12/17