Tuesday night saw the election of new leadership on the Wake County Board of Education. Tom Benton was elected chair and Monika Johnson-Hostler was elected vice chair. Both were elected unanimously. They will serve one year terms between now and next fall’s school board race where all nine seats will be up for election.
In her last remarks as chair, Christine Kushner referenced proud accomplishments of the board. Improved collaboration with local leaders like the county commission, “resulted in the largest increase in our local budget appropriation in the history of the school district.” Advocacy for teachers and staff included “steps to counter the attempt to take away career status from teachers who have earned it” and “differentiated pay for high demand areas—including bus drivers, math and science teachers, and special education teachers.” And finally, and a strategic plan, “that will continue to improve teaching and learning into the future…focusing on the four C’s—creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.”
Newly elected chair Tom Benton made referenced his life as a principal no one ever thought would run for school board, much less serve as its chair. He admitted that, “to be quite frank, as a principal, I didn’t particularly care for board members. I respected them, but…it was one of those things you just had to put up with.”
Benton laid out his view of the challenges the Board of Education faces. They must continue to support the strategic plan set forth by the district and lobby for resources to support the implementation of that plan. They must also continue to build on the relationship established with the Wake County Commission. “We owe them a bit debt of gratitude,” Benton noted, referencing the increased local appropriation. And with that, he stated that the district needed to address equity issues, provide innovative and competitive programs, and renovate and build new facilities. Finally, Benton spoke at length about the need to “establish dialogue with state leaders…our main source of revenue and resources” to build salary schedules that help, “recruit, retain, and rebuild” the teaching corps.
The next school board meeting will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 16. The public is invited to attend.
WakeEd will be there, and we would love to have you join us.