As a Wayland student, David Wallace had a penchant for getting into trouble. So it may seem ironic to his former classmates that not only had he served on the Wayland-Cohocton school board for the past 11 years, but more than half of his term had been spent as its board president.

As a Wayland student, David Wallace had a penchant for getting into trouble. So it may seem ironic to his former classmates that not only had he served on the Wayland-Cohocton school board for the past 11 years, but more than half of his term had been spent as its board president.

But then again, maybe not. Wallace’s father had served on the Naples and Wayland school boards for 16 years while Wallace was a student during the 1960s and ‘70s.

“Growing up, he set good examples,”?Wallace said about his father. “He spoke to us about that. Maybe I listened.”

His father, who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, considered himself to be one of the lucky ones. Lucky because he returned from the war unscathed while many of his friends didn’t. That’s how a sense of appreciating and serving his community came in.

Taking his father’s lead, Wallace served on the town of Wayland grievance board for 10 years, then decided to run for the school board.

Wallace said he waited until his children graduated before serving on the school board, adding it was to protect them. But in hindsight, he said that was not necessary, and having his children in school might have worked to his advantage, helping him know what happened in the classroom and elsewhere on campus on a daily basis.

Wallace said serving on a school board, as well as on the grievance board, isn’t what many people may think it is. Because of the many state mandates, “you have some day-to-day decisions, but it’s really limited to what you can do.”

In addition, Wallace said, “you can’t run for the board and have an agenda.” Not only do state mandates get in the way, but to get things accomplished, there needs to be cohesion on the board.

Wallace said that although the board members didn’t always agree, they would eventually come to terms that they could all agree upon.

“We’ve been fortunate in having, what I believe, to be a good board. When you look at people’s terms and how long they’ve served, that bears out.”

He considers the superintendent search seven years ago to be among his highlights as a board member. Wallace was not president at that time. “It was all new to me. I had been self-employed my whole life, so I’ve never been through an interview process.”

He said it was Michael Wetherbee’s youth and intelligence is what convinced him he was the right man for the job.

Among some of the more difficult moments have been dealing with unfunded mandates and other restrictions from the state, plus the sobering decisions the board has had to make in light of state aid losses in recent years.

“The district is expected to do more with less money,” Wallace said, adding that a board of education these days deals more with adult issues than with student issues.

Wallace decided it was time to pass the torch after a long and successful run, and to concentrate on his expanding potato farm, of which he recently acquired another 300 acres. While he’s leaving the president’s post, Wallace has agreed to stay on the district’s audit committee.

He was the only one nominated for president six years ago, even though he was not vice president at the time former president Don Walker retired, and Wallace did not ask to be placed in that position. But he accepted the nomination nonetheless.

“I feel thankful that I was able to do it, and that people trusted me to do it.”

Board vice president John Sick was appointed president during the board’s reorganizational meeting July 3.