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Travel-loving, pizza-eating, action movie fan to students: ‘I’ll always believe in them’

Meet Your Administrator: Joe Scotto

GrandvilleJoe Scotto is the new principal at Grand View Elementary School. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet Your Administrators. 

Other positions you have held in education: A native of New York, Scotto began his education career in Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia, first as a fifth-grade teacher and later as an assistant principal for Leesylvania Elementary School. 

Upon moving to Michigan to be closer to family, he served for the past three years as principal of Pine Trails Elementary School in Allegan Public Schools. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education; master’s degree in early childhood literacy, both from St. Bonaventure University
  • Master’s degree in educational leadership, George Mason University
The Scotto family enjoys some time at Lake Leelanau (courtesy)
The Scotto family enjoys some time at Lake Leelanau (courtesy)

What would you like to share about your family? Scotto and wife, Alaina, have three children: Addison, 6; Asher, 5; and Archer, 2. Alaina is a former educator who is taking time to stay at home and help raise their family.

“We’re a fun family,” Scotto said. “We’re always busy. If we’re not outside playing sports or jumping on the trampoline or doing something in the water, we’re either at the beach or we might be doing a family movie night. We like to be together a lot.” 

What is one thing you want Grand View students to know about you right away? “I want them to know that I’ll always believe in them, that I’ll be a champion for them, that I care about them and that I will always make sure that I help them be the best person they can be — whether that be through good conversations or teaching them right from wrong. Truly, I truly care about them.”

What book, podcast, movie or TV show have you been loving lately? “Professionally speaking, in June I had an opportunity to go to the Solution Tree PLC Institute (event) in Minnesota, so I’ve been reading a lot of books about professional learning communities. For our admin group, we’ve been reading the book ‘Talk to Me’ (by Kim Bearden), and it’s been great.

“At home, I love watching movies with my family or just with my wife. I love action movies — ‘The Covenant,’ with Jake Gyllenhaal, was excellent. ‘Oppenheimer’ is on my list and I’m excited to watch that one. … I also love watching anything sports related; we just finished watching ‘Untold’ on Netflix — those are fun documentaries to watch.” 

 ‘We’re a fun family,’ says Principal Joe Scotto, pictured here with kids Addison and Asher (courtesy)
‘We’re a fun family,’ says Principal Joe Scotto, pictured here with kids Addison and Asher (courtesy)

How will you encourage student voice in your building? “One thing I’d love to do is create an advisory council and maybe weekly or monthly sit-down with those students to talk about different topics in the building. ‘How’s recess going? How’s lunch going? Talk to me about engagement in the classroom.’ I think any time you can get kids involved in leading activities in the building, it’s great for everyone.”

What was your favorite grade as a kid? “I remember third grade very well; I had one of my favorite teachers that year and she taught me how to love school and the love of reading. She engaged me in some pretty neat chapter books at the time. I was kind of quiet and just soaked it all in. I also had a lot of friends and we would always hang out and play sports together.” 

What is one thing on your bucket list? A lover of cruises, Scotto’s goals are all travel-focused: visiting national parks out west, taking a cross-country road trip and going on an international cruise outside of the Caribbean. Italy, in particular, is a destination high on his list. 

Describe your leadership style in seven words: “Patient. Compassionate. Kind. High expectations. Build culture.” 

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? “Peppino’s pepperoni pizza, Detroit style. That deep-dish crust, that’s the best. I would not get sick of it — just give me some ranch and I’ll go to town.” 

Read more from Grandville: 
‘Go out and learn together’
Shake on it!

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is associate editor, reporter and copy editor. She is an award-winning journalist who got her professional start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate and proud former Chimes editor, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio


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