Wake School Board District 2: Monika Johnson-Hostler

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Monika Johnson-Hostler

District: Wake School Board, District 2
Age: 38
Occupation: Executive Director of the nonprofit North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
City of Residence: Raleigh
Incumbent: No

Do you have children in the district? If so, explain.

I do have a 7-year-old daughter who is a rising third grader. She is currently not in school in the district we live in. She’s actually in school in proximity to my husband’s school, so that she is in a feeder school to his school.

The school board has been divided over partisan politics in recent years. How do you think that’s affected how the district has been run?

So I definitely think politics and partisanship have played a part in the school board overall decision-making body. I like the current change. We’ve seen some current changes, but I think the makeup has been made up of folks with politics, ideologies that may not necessarily represent all the districts that they represent individually, which makes sense because the district. Once you’re elected you become a full active school board member for the entire county. But I think it’s important that elected officials maintain listening to their constituents in their district, and I don’t think that that’s what has happened. And so for me, I think what’s important is we see a little bit of more movement of that by watching the school board. Elected officials were not at the time hearing what their constituents needed. Which is why a large part of my initiative is remembering that my career and skill-set bring to the table that I know how to listen to constituents and facilitate those conversations.

What do you think about the current reassignment plan and what would you do, if anything to change it?

The current reassignment plan is in progress and it has changed, that’s what I’ll say, since the new board was elected in 2011. So, I definitely think the current place we’re in is forward movement in the right place, you know, placing the emphasis on ensuring that we are shoring up magnet and non-magnet schools that have progressive, innovative programs that are going to give all kids, no matter magnet or non-magnet schools, the same opportunities, and so that’s what’s important to me about the changes. And in terms of assignment, it feels like we’ve been able to see that the school board is moving toward what constituents are saying that they need and the biggest thing is they want their kid to finish where they start.

What is your main priority for the new superintendent for the next year or two?

I think the main thing is to work with the school board and listen to the schools’ teachers, principals and parents. And that’s not a specific priority, because I think that priority should be driven by those stakeholders- the school board, the parents, the schools themselves, parents and teachers. But I think the number one priority should be decided based on all of those stakeholders determining the number one priority.

Do you support the proposed school bond? And, if so, what are your priorities for spending that money?

So, you know, what I’ll say is, I know pieces of the school bond. I’m just now getting my feet wet in this. But absolutely I support the decision to support the school bond largely because I’m running in a large district. Garner is the largest part of the municipality in the district and having visited those schools, I can completely hear the voices of those constituents that I’ve already met with and the need to upfit their schools there physically. But also they’ve already started to make some of those changes with their programs, and so for me that spending starts in that place where people really need to see those changes that it’s making sure that, again, that students who attend the schools in Garner have the same both physical and internal programming and resources that all the other schools do regardless of their magnet or non-magnet status. And so that’s why I support the school bond because, again, it can be voted on and decisions have to be made how it would be spent, but I would definitely still make Garner a priority.

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