Longtime employee will be principal
A 23-year employee with the Camas School District will soon become principal at one of its elementary schools.
Julie Mueller, 46, will take the helm at Lacamas Heights Elementary this fall. She will replace Jan Strohmaier, who will serve as principal at the new Woodburn Elementary School.
Mueller is a former teacher at Lacamas, and currently the associate principal of Liberty Middle School.
She was selected from a pool of five internal candidates, after an interview by a panel of teachers, support staff and administrators. Each candidate gave a formal presentation, led a lesson with students, and was interviewed by Superintendent Mike Nerland and Assistant Superintendent Jeff Snell.
“We had an excellent pool of candidates, which made the process even more challenging,” said Nerland. “Julie is extremely talented, and I am confident that she is a leader who will motivate students and staff members to reach their highest potential.
Mueller, a Camas resident, decided to apply for the position because of her desire to become a building administrator.
“When the Lacamas job opened up, there couldn’t have been a more perfect opportunity,” she said. “That’s where I spent over half my time as an educator.”
Another interesting tie-in is that Mueller’s husband, David, and children all attended Lacamas Heights, which originally opened in 1963. In addition, her husband chose the school colors.
“David wanted it to be the Lacamas Lakers, with the colors being purple and gold,” she said. “Well, the Leopards ended up getting the winning vote, but they kept his color suggestion. As you can see, I have a family of Leopards. I’m honored that I’ll be working with and serving the Lacamas Heights community.”
Mueller attended Camas High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from George Fox University. She also holds a master’s in education and an administrative certification from City University.
Her first job was teaching first-grade in Sherwood, Ore. in 1988.
“I worked with a lot of high-risk kids,” she said. “We had a program where I and a school counselor would do home visits with families to help them learn how to work with their kids. We would also leave school supplies. It was a huge breakthrough for me because I saw the environment they were raised in and what some of these little children had to go through. I saw the reality of their home life and my reality for supporting them emotionally, physically and socially. It was a real heart moment.”
One of Mueller said her greatest accomplishment in education is the children she has worked with.
“I have students that I taught who are teachers today,” she said.
Mueller’s goals the first year as principal is to get to know the school community again.
“I have been gone for seven years, so that is definitely the first piece,” she said. “I want to support the teachers in their work and move it forward.”