Yale athletic director returns to her roots

Posted on September 7, 2017

The story of Kim DeLand is similar to those heard in all small town communities across Michigan’s thumb region. After graduating from Marysville High and spending some time at the local community college, she took off for the Sparty green pastures of Michigan State University. From there she immediately moved to Royal Oak. 

“When you grow up in a small town, all you can dream about is the day you will get out of that place and start a life of your own,” DeLand said. “You dream of making a difference, of experiencing the world, of learning new cultures. I was fortunate enough to do that.”

Three years passed and soon DeLand and her new husband, Cameron Roehl, found themselves a new dream: returning home to St. Clair County.

“We were sick of the pace of the city, we were sick of commuting, we were sick of being far away from our families,” she said.

In June, DeLand and her husband moved into a condo in their hometown of Marysville and are saving money for their own home. Her involvement in her home communities, however, started years earlier.

DeLand recently accepted a job as athletic director (AD) at Yale High School, but the district is old territory for her. From 2014 to 2016 she immersed herself in the Yale community by serving as the high school’s college adviser and becoming the JV volleyball coach.

She repeatedly made the long, tedious drive from Royal Oak for one reason – her passion for the community and her students. 

DeLand is currently the only female AD in the county serving at the high school level, and the only female AD in the Blue Water Area Conference.

“As a coach of young female athletes and now also as a female AD, I can see how my administrative role in my community is a benefit to female students in our district,” she said. “It’s a great honor to be able to help be a role model for my students and is something I cherish about my role as an AD.”

DeLand got her start as a varsity volleyball player at Marysville High School from 2006-2008. Her primary role was as middle attacker, and during her tenure as a player she helped her team win four district championships, two regional championships, one quarterfinal championship, one semifinal championship, and one Class B State Championship.

“I bet if you asked any former Marysville volleyball player, we would all say that Marysville volleyball helped shape the people we are today,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that my involvement in Marysville volleyball is a clear stepping stone in my new career in athletic administration and education.”

DeLand also credits her predecessor, Maureen “Moe” Klocke, as a huge role model for her coming into her new position as AD at Yale Community Schools. Klocke served as an AD in St. Clair County her entire career.

Before accepting the position at Yale High School, her impact as a college adviser also led her to employment at St. Clair County Community College as an admissions representative.
“Working at SC4 has grown my passion for student development and encouraged me to pursue my Master of Arts degree in counseling,” DeLand said. “I am currently enrolled at Oakland University to earn my limited license in professional counseling, as well as my school counseling license.”

She still dreams of making a difference but now knows she can accomplish that in her home of St. Clair County. 

Her contribution to local students hasn’t gone unnoticed. DeLand and her husband moved back to the county with help from a $10,000 Come Home Award from the Community Foundation.

The Come Home Award is an innovative talent attraction program launched by the Community Foundation in 2016. It pays recent college grads with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) degrees up to $10,000 to move back to St. Clair County to live and work.

Learn more about the Come Home Award.

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