Wayland board members Wood, Mellema, step down

Christmas card contest winner Brayden Miner

Trustee Gary Wood and President Cinnamon Mellema turned in their last meetings Monday night as members of the Wayland Board of Education.

Wood is retiring at the end of this year after serving for 12 years, twice as president. His colleagues praised him for his wisdom, calm demeanor and understanding of what it means to be a board member.

Mellema, who was on the board for four years, was defeated in her re-election bid last month.

Wood said her leadership in the past difficult year made her “the right person at the right time.” He said she did a terrific job of guiding the board through hiring a new superintendent and through the Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges.

Gary Wood

Cinnamon Mellema

Becky Hohnke and Jason Shane will be seated will be seated as new board members next month. Early indications are that Dan Cassini will be president, Pete Zondervan vice president, Theresa Dobry secretary and Toni Ordway treasurer.

In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the board:

  • Learned from Superintendent Dr. Christina Hinds that the winner of the annual Holiday Card Contest was Brayden Miner, a Steeby Elementary third-grader.
  • Was told by Patricia Velie, assistant superintendent for grounds and finances, that the bond and stadium turf project costs came in $62,000 under budget. Representatives from Tower-Pinkster and Triangle Construction appeared virtually to confirm the data.
  • Voted to discontinue accepting student applications to enroll in a special school-to-college program in 20-’21, run by Lake Michigan College, because it attracted only six students, two of whom dropped out.

Mellema, who noted the program is actually expensive, said at first she heavily favored it, but, “It looked good when we started, but it just hasn’t worked out like we had hoped.”

  • Was told by Dr. Hinds that Wayland High School, as well as others in Allegan County, will be sites for vaccinations against Covid-19 on days in which students are not present.
  • Agreed to return to the hybrid model of instruction Jan. 4. The high school is shut down now because of the state health department’s extension of the “pause to save lives” through Dec. 20.

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