Educating at every level

Life is full of twists and turns, according to Dale Milam (‘00). For example, he intended to pursue medical school after obtaining his bachelor’s degree but decided to teach at a junior academy for a year while his fiancé finished college. Surprisingly, Milam discovered that teaching was his true calling.

Raised in the Washington D.C. area, Milam attended Seventh-day Adventist schools his entire life – all within a mile of each other. But when he and his wife welcomed their first child, the East Coast native searched for better prospects and the family headed West.

“It’s a modern-day Oregon Trail story,” Milam says. “We asked ourselves if this was where we really wanted to raise our kids. We were surrounded by corn and soybean fields with no place to camp or hike, and those are the things we love to do.”

Innovative program

Milam landed a job as a school principal and teacher at Mid-Columbia Adventist School in Hood River. When he learned that the Oregon Conference of Seventh Day Adventists offered financial assistance for advanced degrees, and he joined a locally based PSU cohort program. Although he had a fulltime job and two young children by then, Milam obtained his master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

“PSU’s innovative program allowed me to receive a high-quality education in my hometown,” he recalls. “I learned how to really improve the educational experience for students, and it gave me a support network with other local educators in the program. I can’t imagine a better way to have earned my master’s.”

Student centered

After serving as the first Chief Educational Officer for Orcas Christian School in Washington, Milam was lured to Oregon’s Milo Adventist Academy by a former colleague. He wore multiple hats as the school’s Vice Principal, guidance counselor, sports coach, and teacher. In 2011, Milam shifted to fulltime administration as the Oregon Conference of Seventh Day Adventists’ Associate Superintendent of Education. But he missed the classroom so much, he volunteered to teach a class despite his grueling work schedule. “That experience convinced me where my real love was,” Milam admits.

Following his heart, Milam returned to his former position at Milo for another five years. The one missing piece of his career puzzle was university-level work, so in 2018, he took a job as Director for Admissions and International Student Liaison at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.

“My biggest concern was that I’d miss the classroom, but I get to work with virtually every freshman, incoming, or transfer student, and their families.” Milam says. “The crux of it for me is that I really want to give students the best experience, and here, I get to help students achieve their dreams.”