Community education programs in the Mahtomedi and Stillwater Area school districts will have one thing in common for the 2012-13 school year: Annette Sallman.

The two east metro districts recently signed an agreement that will allow Sallman to work half time as the new director of community education in Mahtomedi and spend the remainder of her work week in Stillwater, where she has served as assistant community education director for the past eight years.

In her dual role, Sallman will look for ways that the two districts can jointly provide classes and programs that serve everybody from toddlers and their parents to senior citizens.

"We believe that by collaborating with Stillwater, and the expertise Annette brings, that we will be able to continue and even expand our programming," said Mahtomedi Superintendent Mark Larson. "We think the energy and passion she brings will be a great addition to the district."

Larson said the arrangement will allow Mahtomedi to tap her wealth of experience as it prepares to move its early childhood programs into the new Wildwood Elementary School that is currently under construction and is to open in 2013. Stillwater is set to open a new Early Childhood Education Center this fall.

Sallman called the one-year agreement a "wonderful opportunity" that will help enrich the community.

"There have not been overt instances where we have done partnering in the past, but now there are opportunities to look at special interests," Sallman said. "One district might not have enough of a population to support an interest, but if we combine energies, now we have critical mass to offer it. This will allow us to serve people in ways we have not be able to do so before."

On average, Stillwater serves 7,500 youth and 3,500 adults through community education programs. Mahtomedi serves an average of 3,700 youth and 500 adults, Sallman said.

Both districts will review the arrangement at the end of the school year.

The two districts have worked together on other initiatives. For the past eight years, Stillwater has provided leadership for Mahtomedi's food service program.

"This does not decrease our programming or services," said Lori Brink, Stillwater's director of community education. "This is an example of efficiencies and shared services."

Tim Harlow • 651-925-5039, Twitter: @timstrib