Wake Ed

Wake County school board members talk about their level of consensus

The Kumbaya level of the Wake County school board was on full blast Friday at the start of a two-day planning retreat.

As noted in today’s article, board members and the meeting facilitators talked about how much agreement exists now compared to the often heated infighting in the past four years. It’s not surprising considering that you’ve got a board that’s now seven Democrats, a former Democrat and a Republican who wasn’t endorsed by his own party.

"It’s like we have this healthy level of trust we don’t mind having conflict,” said school board member Susan Evans.

Evans said it’s “a breath of fresh air” compared to the prior board. She said that there’s now a “respectful level of trust on this board” that allows people to not be afraid of saying things and “having the dagger thrown” at them.

“We now have a board of nine people dedicated to public education, dedicated to this school system,” said school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner.

Board members noted how quickly they came to a consensus that equity is one of the top issues they believe needs to be addressed.

“It speaks highly of us as a group that we came to consensus,” said school board vice chairman Tom Benton. “There’s no one that has come on this board with just that one thing we want to fix.”

As part of the teambuilding on Friday, board members interviewed each other and then gave a presentation to the group.

The board’s interaction impressed John Connolly, one of the two retreat facilitators.

"If any board has the ingredients to be great, you have it in Wake County," Connolly said.