School History

DeKeyser Born March 12, 1899, Edward J. DeKeyser was the third child and only son of Vital and Romanie Van Landegham DeKeyser. He spent a happy childhood with his sisters, Edith and Mary, in a large home in Mount Clemens close to his father's blacksmith shop.

The third resident pastor to be assigned to St. Lawrence, Father DeKeyser took over a parish of some 200 families. The parish embraced 80 square miles, from 16 Mile to 26 Mile, and from Dequindre to Romeo Plank Road.

Named for Monsignor Edward J. DeKeyser, a prominent member of the Sterling Heights community and supporter of education throughout the district, the school opened it doors in September 1971. DeKeyser was one of five Utica Schools designed and constructed with an open classroom floor plan that remains to this day.

The first principal, David DeView, served for ten years, and was an energetic and enthusiastic leader. By 1981, Mr. DeView’s intern, Cheryl Snell, was named as the second building administrator with the enthusiastic endorsement and support of the staff and community. Mrs. Snell had a vision for the school and its community, which further encouraged staff development, team building, consensus decision making, shared leadership, and active teaching and learning. Upon her retirement in 1997, Gail VanHorn joined the staff as principal. She continued to support and encourage the established vision for the school until she retired in 1999.

Nancy Dodson succeeded her in 1999, and during her five years as principal, the staff and community implemented the Positive Behavior Support program. In June of 2004, Ms. Dodson retired, and Sally Klatt joined the staff with a level of support and encouragement that was welcomed by staff, students, and community. In 2009-2010 DeKeyser was led by Mr. Don Santilli.

Our current principal, Mrs. Mary Beth Merlo, feels honored to be named principal in 2010 and is committed to building on the tradition of excellence here at DeKeyser Elementary.