Updated: May 27
Milton E. Potter, Executive Director for the Virgin Islands Board of Education, was born on the island of Tortola, and is a proud product of the U.S. Virgin Islands Public School System from Head Start through the 12th grade. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University where he obtained a master’s degree in School Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Milton and his seven siblings grew up in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and were raised with three basic tenets: Education is the Great Equalizer; Family is the Bedrock of any Community; and A Good Name is a Prized Possession that Should be Nurtured and Cherished. Despite struggling to make ends meet for their large family of 10, his parents, Cecil, a Port Authority firefighter and Margaret a salesclerk, made service a way of life – taking in and raising several disadvantaged youngsters who remain family to this day. The tireless work ethic of his parents and their unwavering commitment to serving others, led to Milton’s lifelong commitment to public service culminating in his recent decision to run for a seat in the 34th Legislature.
Early in his career, Milton served as a School Psychologist and Counselor at Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida. He also served as Project Counselor for the Upward Bound Program at the University of the Virgin Islands where he served as advisor, counselor and role model to high school youth. In the late 1990s he made a career shift to the field of Human Resource Management and rose to the pinnacle of the HR field, heading significant Human Resources Divisions in the territory, to include HR Director for the Virgin Islands Port Authority and Director of Personnel for the Government of the Virgin Islands. He is a Senior Certified Professional with both the Society for Human Resources Management and the International Public Management Association. His calm and fair nature supports his success as a trained arbitrator & mediator.
During his five-year tenure at the Virgin Islands Port Authority as Director of Human Resources, Milton was responsible for recruiting qualified candidates for employment and managing the Authority’s human capital. He was charged with interpreting and implementing all internal, local, and federal employment laws and policies. As part of the executive team, Milton represented the Port Authority in employee grievances, led a major local and national search to fill the Executive Director vacancy and negotiated all five collective bargaining agreements, serving as the Authority’s Chief Negotiator.
As Director of Personnel for the Government of the Virgin Islands, Milton managed a $43 million departmental budget, a staff of 42 direct reports and 80 agency personnel officers disbursed throughout government. He oversaw the design, administration and implementation of recruitment, classification and placement initiatives, personnel rules and regulations, local and federal labor laws and employee development for a workforce of over 7,000 employees of the Virgin Islands Government and over 3,000 retirees covered on the Government’s Health Insurance Plan.
He also oversaw the modernization of the recruitment process through the implementation of the NEOGOV applicant tracking system, which has been a game changer in the manner in which government employees are recruited - reducing the GVI hiring time by an incredible 60% and allowing for online applications. Additionally, the CIGNA health insurance fund grew from $300,000 to $700,000 under his leadership, more than doubling the available funds for Government’s wellness program, GVI Health.
Dedicated to civic engagement, Milton volunteers as an elected member of the St. Thomas Federal Credit Union Board of Directors where he has served as past President and current Treasurer for this $70,000,000 home-grown financial institution. Under his stewardship, for the first time in the organization’s 68-year history, the St. Thomas Federal Credit Union was awarded the highly coveted Credit Union of the Year Award by the National Association of Credit Unions, in June 2019. He is a member of the WADADA I YA Cultural Fraternity, has served as a counselor for the Family Resource Center, where he taught conflict resolution skills to men who were charged with domestic violence infractions. As a part-time instructor in the School of Education at the University of the Virgin Islands, he taught a number of courses in the graduate Guidance and Counseling program. Milton was raised as a lifelong Methodist and currently he and his family worship at the Assembly of Yahweh on St. Thomas. He stands on the belief that with God all things are possible.
His most significant accomplishment to date was persuading his wife of 20 years, Paulette Venzen-Potter to marry him. The couple has two sons, Dakarai, a Senior at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jayvyn, a Junior in High School at the Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber Academy. Faith, family and community mean everything to him. In his spare time Milton enjoys traveling with his family and finding new things to explore in the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands.