Prior to joining NewSchools, Mitchell served as the 12th president of Occidental College in Los Angeles. Mitchell's tenure at Occidental was marked by a dramatic improvement in both the College's national reputation it engagement in the community and by unprecedented financial growth. A former deputy to the president at Stanford and vice chancellor at UCLA, Mitchell is a national leader in the effort to provide high-quality education for all students and has long been active in California and Los Angeles educational reform initiatives. He currently chairs the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence, charged with making recommendations to improve California’s system of K – 12 finance and governance. He was appointed to the State Board of Education in March, 2007.
Mitchell received his BA in History and Economics, his MA in History, and Ph.D. in History of American Education all from Stanford. Mitchell also served as a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees from 1985-1990.
Mitchell’s other leadership roles in education include:
- Professor of Education at Dartmouth College: 1981-1991
- Dean and Professor of Education and Information Studies at UCLA: 1992-1998
- Vice President for Education and Strategic Initiatives, J. Paul Getty Trust: 1998-1999
Mitchell is married to Christine Beckman, Professor of Organizational Behavior and Strategy at the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI. They have two children, Caroline (6) and Theo (4).