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ORANGE : District Hires New Bilingual Official

Anaida Colon-Muniz, a bilingual education coordinator in Los Angeles County, has been hired as the administrator of bilingual education for the Orange Unified School District.

Colon-Muniz, 40, who works in the Rowland Unified School District, is scheduled to report to the new assignment Jan. 6.

District officials selected Colon-Muniz in November after a five-month search that included interviews with about 10 other candidates, said Tom Schroedi, director of instructional services.

Colon-Muniz replaces Tom Saenz, who served as special programs coordinator for 17 years before leaving last June to become principal of Prospect Elementary School.

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Colon-Muniz will also oversee the district’s programs for educationally and economically disadvantaged students in her job with an annual salary of $67,200.

She said she will visit school sites and seek support from parents and instructors before developing a master plan for the district.

“Most importantly, I need to understand the culture of the district and what people are feeling and get people to know and trust me,” she said.

She said some programs used at Rowland may also be effective in Orange.

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At Rowland, a district of 18,000 students who speak more than 35 languages, Colon-Muniz recently created “magnet classrooms” for Mandarin- and Korean-speaking students. Students in the magnet program are taught basic classes in their native languages, but spend 20% of their day in English-speaking classrooms. Students are slowly “mainstreamed” into a full English-speaking schedule as their language skills improve.

The new administrator has served as a bilingual consultant for San Diego State University and the Orange County Department of Education.


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