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Ex-Supt. Norm Taylor back with schools, joins board

Norm Taylor

Retired Wayland Union Schools Superintendent Monday evening was selected as the newest trustee on the Board of Education.

Taylor, who was superintendent between 2010 and 2020, succeeds Board Treasurer Toni Ordway, who is leaving the district at the end of this month. Taylor also serves as a trustee of the Wayland City Council.

The school board interviewed two candidates, Taylor and Jake Gless. Both have strong ties to the district and the community.

Gless is a Wayland High School graduate who has been teaching art at Lakewood schools for the past five years. He is the son of former WHS special education teacher David Gless and Vicki Gless, who has been associated with the local Main Street program for some time.

Taylor told the school board he still has 12 grandchildren in the local district and one of his children will be graduating later this week.

“I have a passion for education,” he said. “I have the time and the energy.”

Taylor earlier this year applied for a seat after Trustee Jason Shane left, but Cinnamon Mellema won the position.

Taylor will serve at least until the end of the year and both he and Gless are eligible to run for that four-year post or the two-year seat currently held by Mellema in the November general election.

Ordway moved to appoint Taylor, saying, “With the short time (for the seat), someone with experience would be a good choice.”

Trustee Becky Hohnke agreed, “We have a lot of changes between now and December.”

Wayland next month will welcome new Superintendent Tim Reeves, new high school principal Santino DiCesare and a host of other administrators and new personnel. Furthermore, Assistant Supt. for Finances and Operations Patricia Velie will retire at the end of the year.

And this is not to mention the campaign for a $48.5 million bond project for a new pool and other repairs and renovations.

Board President Dan Casini said the choice Monday night was between a fresh voice and new face and experience and consistency. The latter won in a 7-0 vote.

Casini did ask the question, “What is it going to be like for a brand new superintendent (Reeves) to come in and work for a former superintendent? We have to take that under consideration as we deliberate.”

Some others have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest for Taylor as a member of the City Council, but checks with state officials revealed that shouldn’t be a problem.

In other business at its work session Monday, the board:

• Approved a 2.8% pay increase for building principals, who aren’t represented by a union. A 2.8 percent raise also was approved for non-affiliated employees such as secretaries, the security officer and directors of maintenance and transportation.

• Approved the purchase of a “smoker” for cooking some food items at the high school at a cost of $13,831.

• Took no action on a proposal to restrict students’ backpacks to their lockers.

Zondervan said, “If they’re left in the hallways, they’re accessible to others and in the classrooms they can be a distraction… What’s the point of having lockers if you don’t put backpacks in them?”

Theresa Dobry, however, said there haven’t been any problems with the items at the high school.

The issue was tabled.

4 Comments

  • As a Board of Education member, I worked with Mr. Taylor and found him to be more concerned about his ego and name on all the school and building plaques than all of the students of the district.
    I see him as portraying himself as the Grand Marshall of the situation and thus as a CONFLICT to the present situation.
    With a New team in place, let us see their NEW direction without a cancer looming over the NEW team.

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