Education

Four Wake school board seats up for grabs Oct. 8

Posted October 1, 2013

— Up for grabs in this year's general election on Oct. 8 are four of nine seats on the Wake County Board of Education – the same seats filled four years ago by Republicans who made up a bloc responsible for a number of changes to how the school system operates.

Those changes included a controversial move away from the district's longstanding student assignment policy – in which students were bused to other schools for the purpose of socio-economic diversity – to a plan that gave parents more feedback when it comes to where their children go to school.

Four years later, Democrats have gained control over the school board – a nonpartisan governing body – and some members of the former Republican-backed majority have moved on to other endeavors.

Board member Chris Malone, who represented District 1 in northeast Wake County, left in December to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Debra Goldman, elected to the District 9 seat in eastern Wake County, left in February to serve as executive director for a nonprofit.

John Tedesco, of District 2, announced in July that he won't run for re-election for the southeastern Wake County seat. Deborah Prickett is the only one of the original four elected in 2009 who is seeking re-election for the District 7 seat in west Raleigh and Morrisville.

Here's a look at who's running in each seat:

District 1 – Tom Benton vs. Don McIntyre

Tom Benton, a retired principal who was appointed to replaced Malone, has more than 40 years' experience in public education, serving as a high school social studies teacher before a 24-year career as a principal.

"Our community wants every school to deliver a high-quality education to its students, and I am committed to this shared community goal," says Benton. "I am determined to make a difference and pledge to work relentlessly with our principals, teachers, parents and business and civic leaders to meet the high standards we will set for each of our schools."

Don McIntyre is an attorney and retired small-business owner who says student assignment is a "band-aid," not a solution, to the school system's desire to achieve economic balance in schools.

"As an attorney, I spent my career helping clients resolve what they consider problems. I don't see problems, I see opportunities to use creative thinking to make things better," McIntyre says. "I was very successful in doing that for my clients, and I can do the same for our schools."

District 2 – Monika Johnson-Hostler vs. Matt Scruggs

Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director for the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and PTA volunteer, says the fight to ensure students have access to a quality education is still going on.

"As an advocate, not a politician, I will listen and work hard to collaborate with parents, teachers, business leaders and community members," she says. "Putting students first and politics last will be the overriding principle in my decision-making."

Matt Scruggs, who works in the automotive industry, says he wants to make sure that children today are afforded the same opportunities he was given growing up.

"Matt realizes that children are the future in this country, and if we fail to invest properly in our future, we will not have one," according to a statement on his campaign website.

District 7 – Deborah Prickett, incumbent vs. Zora Felton

Deborah Prickett is a program administrator and education consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction who was elected to the Board of Education in 2009.

"As a parent who personally dealt with constant reassignment for my own son, in addition to working with youth from every part of the county struggling with some of the same concerns, I decided to jump in, stand firm on the promises you helped me to make and change it,” Prickett says. “From voting for fair, common-sense discipline policies that keep students in school to providing learning environments that are conducive to student success to hiring effective superintendents and quality staff to making sure schools are safe and our dollars are spent wisely, (my decisions) demonstrate effective leadership.”

Zora Felton, a retired educator who taught in Wake County for more than 25 years, says she wants to "promote sound policies and solutions for students, teachers and our community, not politics."

"Every decision made by the Wake County Baord of Education should be made with children's best interests in mind," she says. "I will keep the focus on student success."

District 9 – Bill Fletcher vs. Nancy Caggia

Real estate agent Bill Fletcher served 12 years on the Board of Education and was appointed earlier this year to Goldman's seat.

"Our singular focus must be to prepare students for success at the next level," says Fletcher. "To assure high student achievement, we must add rigor, engage the community in setting high goals and hold our schools accountable."

With 32 years of business experience, Nancy Caggia wants academic growth for all students, board accountability, nonpartisan collaboration and innovative opportunities for students.

"By expanding educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom, our students will become marketable and responsible citizens," she says.

Learn more about the school board candidates and others running for office on the October ballot here.

10 Comments

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  • bombayrunner Oct 2, 7:59 p.m.

    no on school bond

  • krimson Oct 2, 1:28 p.m.

    CJW: "And for the Wake voters who are not allowed to vote in this year's school board election, please remember that your not being able to vote on the tenure of 8 of the 9 Wake board members isn't personal. It's simply a decision by the progressive liberals and lawmakers who run the public school system. They know best what's good for your kids' education, and you don't."

    By the same logic, CJW demands to be able to vote in VA State Senate races...

  • niall Oct 2, 11:29 a.m.

    You may be sure I won't vote for the incumbent in my district. I'd rather elect some random guy with facial tattoos and a disturbing nose piercing than anyone that's been part of that atrocius soap opera in the past 5 or so years.

  • cjw6105 Oct 2, 11:03 a.m.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that the intellect in Wake County will manifest itself at the polls this month with a resounding YES for the school bonds. What's another couple of hundred bucks for the average taxpayer as long as it's spread out over a year, right?

    And I also have no doubt that the progressive voters in Wake County will do their best to rid the Wake School Board of any members who support neighborhood schools, parental choice, and fiscal common sense by electing Democrats only.

    And for the Wake voters who are not allowed to vote in this year's school board election, please remember that your not being able to vote on the tenure of 8 of the 9 Wake board members isn't personal. It's simply a decision by the progressive liberals and lawmakers who run the public school system. They know best what's good for your kids' education, and you don't.

  • Whiskey4one Oct 2, 9:18 a.m.

    LOL rushbot - you just acknowledged the fact that decades of liberal school board leadership have resulted in Wake schools failing the students and then, predictably, advocate to spend more money and vote in more liberals to perpetuate the problem.

    Sounds about right. I guess wasting tax payer money on decades of thinly veiled social engineering only failed because the policies weren't liberal enough and were underfunded. We should double-down now huh?

  • Bartmeister Oct 2, 9:01 a.m.

    With the recent blunders from the School Board and now the County Commissioners, there is no way the bond will pass in Wake County. Perhaps a shakeup on the school board will help the bond pass.

    @injames= I never understood why elections for positions like Sheriff or School Board needed to be partisan. It shouldn't matter and shouldn't be advertised or promoted. Just goes to show how the liberals and liberal media fight to win by tearing down.........at all cost.

  • injameswetrust2003 Oct 2, 8:43 a.m.

    Considering this is a "non-partisan" race, the liberal media sure seems to harp on who is in what party, and which party is responsible for which decisions. The elephant in the room ... or is it?

  • rushbot Oct 2, 8:22 a.m.

    with the success of romneycare in progress now you can bet that supporters of education will win at the poles next week.. ..as they should..who in their right mind would want to not have improved school facilities during these days of high incarceration costs and lower success in wake county schools..we don't know what skills will be needed in the future, but we need to ensure that our youth stay in schools and are prepared for whatever the future brings.. .. .. ..as for the board races, if you remember the regressive policies republicon members tried to institute when they were recently elected (anyone remember that terrible hiring of kingfish art pope protege tony tata) just wait until you elect the wrong ones from this crop of candidates..HERE ARE THE ONES TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!

    don mcintyre

    matt scruggs

    deborah p kett

    nancy caggia

    Vote for the others and allow the bond to pass..otherwise the new school board next year will be much much worse than the current us house of reps

  • Bartmeister Oct 2, 8:12 a.m.

    I personally know one of the persons listed below on NoTime's list. That list looks correct to me.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Oct 1, 7:41 p.m.

    With the Obamacare trainwreck in progress now you can bet the bond will get voted down next week. As it should. Who in their right mind would vote to raise their own taxes by even a penny at this junction in American history. A junction where almost no one knows what tomorrow is going to cost!

    As for the board races, if those of you with young kids in the Wake school system think it's a mess now just wait until you elect the wrong ones from this crop of candidates. Here are the ones worth your vote,

    Don McIntyre

    Matt Scruggs

    Deborah P.kett (apparently wral can use her name, but we can't)

    Nancy Caggia

    Allow the others to be elected, or the bond to pass, and the new assignment plan coming next year will make Obamacare look like a vacation.