Editorial

So what ‘s the truth with Wayland school admins?

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

“Dave tried to tell us the truth. We didn’t want to hear it.” — What I’d like on my tombstone.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

I have fancied myself as a seeker of truth since I began my career as a community journalist. All I have learned is that the truth is as elusive as Barry Sanders carrying a football.

I’d be a rich man if I was given a dollar for every time a corporate CEO or public relations flak has failed to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have learned to be mistrustful of mucky mucks when they speak with forked tongue because I have been burned too often, like Charlie Brown approaching the football while Lucy is the holder.

These thoughts came to me last Friday when I learned that Wayland Schools Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Patricia Velie will retire June 30, the same day Supt. Dr. Christina Hinds, High School Principal Tom Cutler and Middle School Asst. Principal T.J. Restau will leave their posts. All four indicated they’re moving on during the same month of March. Three are retiring and Dr. Hinds resigned to seek greener pastures as a deputy superintendent at Grand Rapids Northview.

I won’t accuse them of telling bald-faced lies, but instead I would expect responses that will leave out important information in explanations for their moves. Once again, the nasty concept of the corporate-style lie comes into play.

I have no hard evidence for my suspicions, but when a school system’s top two administrators step down at the same time, something seems wrong. This reminds me of the Kenny Rogers song from 1978, “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille.”

The Wayland Union School District right now is at a vulnerable point. It faces a very difficult public relations struggle with a skeptical public in trying to win approval for a $48 million bond project for a new swimming pool. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — without the leadership of Pat Velie this bond is doomed. She is the only school official with the public relations support to get it passed. She is even well liked by perennial anti-taxers Ranger Rick and John Wilkens.

But the understanding that she’ll be gone by July 1 and the bond election is Aug. 2 makes the task ahead even more difficult.

A quote from George Orwell.

This may seem a bit harsh, but the school board has been plagued by public relations missteps lately during admittedly trying times in the era of Covid and invasions by torches and pitchforks. So I don’t see them as huge assets in the campaign.

I haven’t spoken with Ms. Velie since her announcement, but I suppose it may be true that she’s retiring “to spend more time with her family,” but the timing is awful. Perhaps she’s just had enough and is throwing in the towel.

I remain unconvinced that Dr. Hinds’ explanation of her move, that when opportunity knocks she won’t complain about the noise, is comprehensive. Wayland did not treat her well, making it a lot easier for her to give up being a Wildcat (though Northview’s nickname is the Wildcats as well).

High praise is due the district for having the foresight to make an immediate quality choice for principal, Santino DiCesare, succeeding the dearly departed Tom Cutler. However, the challenge in finding someone to succeed Hinds and Velie appears be more daunting. With its top two administrators leaving at the same time, the Wayland jobs may not seem all that attractive to prospective newcomers.

I repeat: I really don’t have hard evidence that there’s trouble in River City, but signs seem abundant. Though no one has confirmed my suspicions, I sincerely hope I am wrong and brighter days await.

1 Comment

  • Amazing, all those Pro-Abortion supporters so adamant about their stance have already been born. If your mothers had abortion available in the 40’s and 50’s, would you have been born? Guess all of you are glad Momma never had a choice! We need to love our neighbors, even those in the womb.

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