Monika Johnson-Hostler was elected last week by her fellow Wake County Board of Education members to serve as that body’s chairwoman.
With that vote, Johnson-Hostler assumes the leadership of arguably the single most important local government institution in our region.
She will assume the mantle of leadership at a time of relative peace among school board members, something that hasn’t always been the case in the recent past. She will work with largely like-minded school board members who seem willing to work together.
But Johnson-Hostler also must lead the school system through several a landscape fraught with trouble spots. The legislature remains firmly in the hands of lawmakers who aren’t friendly to local government in general and education in particular. The General Assembly seems poised to continue its assault on public education by pushing for a stronger presence by charter schools and endorsing financial incentives to encourage parents to seek alternative means of educating their children.
It will be up to Johnson-Hostler, among others, to limit the damage the General Assembly does to our public school system.
In addition, she will need to continue the work of her predecessor, Tom Benton, in considering the best way to allocate local resources to ensure that schools which need more help are getting it.
A school board chairwoman’s job is never an easy one. Voters have said they trust Johnson-Hostler to represent their interests. As the school board’s new leader she will have a say in moving the school system ship in a direction of her choosing. We look forward to the year ahead with the hope that the Garner area will benefit from having its local school board member steering that ship.