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Shelley Mitchell takes special services director role in Banks district

Banks Middle School will be seeing some shuffled positions next school year.Current Banks Middle School Principal Shelley Mitchell will become the Banks School District's fulltime special services director starting in the 2017-18 school year.

It's a new position created in part because of increased enrollment districtwide — about 60 more students than last year, district officials said. Mitchell will be responsible for monitoring the district's special programs, including special education, tutoring services and homeless-student assistance.

Daniel Van Winkle will take over Mitchell's position as Banks Middle School principal. He is currently a teacher in eastern Oregon, where he also runs a summer school program.

Both Mitchell's and Van Winkle's positions will be full time, a step up from the two formerly halftime jobs. In addition to increased enrollment at Banks Middle School, the campus was expanded to three grade levels instead of two with the remodeled building's debut in 2014.

The decision to reduce both the principal and special services positions to halftime took place during budget cuts several years ago, said Banks Superintendent Jeff Leo.

The increased enrollment brings more money "but regardless of that, this is a necessary change," said Leo, with more special-services students districtwide and nearly double the middle school student population with the addition of sixth grade.

Van Winkle is a graduate of Century High School in Hillsboro. After starting at Western Oregon University in 2003, he took a year off when he was deployed to Iraq in 2003. After returning, Van Winkle studied in Spain for a semester and then returned to Western Oregon University, where he received bachelors degrees in history and philosophy.

He went on to earn a masters degree from New York University in 2008 in interdisciplinary humanities and social thought.

Van Winkle completed his administrative licensure through Concordia University in 2016. He also continues to serve in the Army Reserves as a first sergeant of the 455th Combat Engineer Company based in Hayden, Idaho.

"Mr. Van Winkle is an excellent addition to our administrative staff and the Banks School District," Leo said. "[He] has the middle school experience we were looking for and also has shown in his past experiences to be a great leader in many different capacities. We look forward to the transition for the upcoming school year and what educational knowledge he will bring to our students."

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