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Milton-Freewater schools opening two new positions to better serve students

New M-F school positions

Ami Muilenberg, current principal of Gib Olinger Elementary School, will become Milton-Freewater’s new director of Student Services in the fall.

MILTON-FREEWATER — Some changes at the school district here will make for better use of taxpayers’ money, officials say.

Aaron Duff, superintendent of the Milton-Freewater Unified School District, told board members Monday he has appointed Ami Muilenburg as the new director of Student Services, effective next school year.

Muilenburg is the principal at Gib Olinger Elementary School. She begins the new job July 1.

In the newly created position, Muilenberg will oversee Student Success Act programs in the district, such as mental health, teacher and staff mentoring, curriculum adoption, before- and after-school programs and state reporting requirements.

The position will be funded by a mix of state and district dollars. Oregon’s Student Success Act, signed into law last May, is making a real difference in school districts around the state, Duff said Monday.

“We have opportunities for programs we haven’t had in this district since 2004.”

The law was intended to provide school districts with the ability to offer new and improved services for children and families.

Muilenberg’s experience made her the right choice for the job, Duff said.

“This position will help ensure that our students receive more resources, and she will be a strong advocate for students and staff.”

Muilenburg has worked in education for 23 years, including in family advocate positions and as a home visitor for preschool programs. She came to the Milton-Freewater district in 2013. Her departure from that office means Gib Olinger Elementary’s principal position will be open.

“We have some good staff there,” Duff told the board about his decision to open the job internally.

The superintendent said he’s also opening another spot — an overall director of programs for low-income students, English language learners, migrant students and dual-language classrooms.

The work under each of those programs is currently being done by a mishmash of people but without cohesion or the necessary hours, Duff said last week.

“This is a better use of taxpayers’ money.”

This new position will also be funded by state and local money and begin July 1.

The need for it is in direct response to serving under-served students in the area, he said.

“We’re at the point we need to serve students better at the district level, make sure those kids are getting what they need and help those teachers get what they need.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers education in the Walla Walla Valley. She also writes a column, Home Place, usually highlighting family life and slices of local life.