Di Cesare selection proves the value of hiring local ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.Kudos to the administration at Wayland Union Schools for selecting Santino Di Cesare as the new high school principal.

Judging by all the comments I’ve been reading about this development, the move is wildly popular. One of the biggest reasons is that “Tino” is a local boy who made good, home grown. 

Di Cesare is a former Wildcat athlete and graduate from Wayland High School who went on to do good things in the classroom and on the football field at Hope College. 

He was hired as athletic director at Potter’s House, a religious private school in the Grand Rapids area and then was hired as athletic director for the middle school and junior high at Muskegon Oakridge. He finally came back to his alma mater nearly five years ago to serve first as athletic director and then was elevated to assistant principal at the high school. 

So it shouldn’t have been surprising that he would take the next step to be principal.

Being home grown and having so many people know him, like him and respect him goes a long way toward restoring good relations between the community and school district after suffering a rupture during the pandemic and subsequent rules applied to combatting the spread of Covid-19.

A huge part of this is the public’s resentment over selection of outsiders who might take a position here and work for a few years before using it as a stepping stone in the search for greener pastures. City managers rarely last longer than five years before moving on and the leadership at Henika Library has been a revolving door after Lynn Mandaville stepped down as only the fourth library director in 98 years.

The battle is between bright, eager young professionals who don’t stick around for long and loyal local public servants who demonstrate they are “lifers.” It is the latter that the Wayland area seems to prefer.

Perhaps the Wayland Board of Education would do well to have that clearly in mind as it attempts to hire a new superintendent later this spring. Selecting someone well known and already here might go a long way in the public relations department, especially as a difficult bond issue for a new pool will be decided in the Aug. 2 primary election.

In my humble, but correct opinion Patricia Velie is the only human being in the school district who can accomplish that task. She has shown a strong ability in handling financial issues and she is a “near lifer” whose children graduated from Wayland High School. She is identified as bleeding green and white for the Wildcats

I urge the school board resolutely to choose Pat Velie, if she is willing to accept the challenge. 


  • Editor,

    This is very interesting. So….paraphrasing your opinion regarding the Superintendent position, when all else fails hire from within. Such an original idea.

    The Doctor they hired was job shopping within one year and gone in two. The Doctor certainly wasn’t interested in WUS…………

    My hope is hope that the WUS board doesn’t embarrass themselves again and dump on Ms Velie……

    Kudos for hiring within for the new Principle.

    Editor, why the new format for the subject line? Trying to create a stronger message?


  • It is my opinion that hiring “from within” doesn’t always get the results everyone thinks they will get.
    Introducing new progressive ideas and programs is healthy. Sticking to the status quo quickly leads to failure.
    If Ms Velie did accept the Superintendent position will she be expected to do both jobs? Who will replace her and have the same ability to be as successful in managing the finances?
    You can always find a Superintendent…but finding a capable financial manager to keep a school system running smoothly may not be so easy.
    It seems to me, people are not recognizing the fact that person handling the finances, developing a workable budget, finding grants, etc . Happens to be more valuable ( especially if they are as successful as Ms Velie has been) than any Superintendent the Board could hire either “within” or ” outside “

    • Certainly having balanced spreadsheets is vital to any district, however a good superintendent needs to have a vision for the district and a thorough understanding of the issues facing classroom education. Above all else hopefully our next superintendent with fully support our teachers to provide the best experiences possible for our kids.

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