Name as it appears on the ballot: Monika Johnson Hostler

Age: 47

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer: NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Years lived in the area: 23

1. In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the school board do differently or better over the course of your term?

An education is the foundation to lifelong success. I feel a sense of urgency to ensure all students have access to an exceptional education. I ran for school board to share the voices of parents/community members, educators and our families who feel disenfranchised in the public education process. Education is an experience, it’s something you do, not something that is done to you and too many families feel like school is “done to them” and that they have no advocate or voice in decisions that impact their children and families. I am the wife of a WCPSS educator and the mother of a WCPSS senior, I am fully committed to our schools.

I believe all students deserve access to a high quality education beginning with early childhood. Likewise our educators should have the resources to provide that high quality education. Parental engagement and community organization participation are an asset to creating the conditions for every student to succeed in our school district.

2. Given the direction of the school district, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?

Our community has been supportive in numerous ways. During COVID organizations and individuals alike stepped in to deliver food, tutor students and that has continued with partnerships like Wake Together. We have made strides towards better pay for our non-certified and certified staff with the support of our community. The County Commissioners have supported those increases as well as ongoing support for early childhood education. Our school district alongside our community continues to work towards addressing resources for Pre-K through our early college opportunities for our students.

3. What are the three main issues that you believe the Wake County Board of Education needs to address in the upcoming year?

The well being of our students and staff. We have introduced and continue to grow mental health and well being practices and offerings for our students. I am committed to seeing those services offered to families and educators as well. Recruiting and retaining educators to ensure our students have access to quality educators for successful academic outcomes for all students. Better ratios for students to adults including school social workers and counselors to address students mental health and academic needs.

4. Describe something you think the school board should have prioritized differently in the current budget. Do you think the budget supports students from lower income families as well as from affluent families? Does the budget meet the district’s infrastructure needs?

Our updated strategic framework includes community wide participation and input to better meet the needs of all students and families.

5) What is your understanding of what Critical Race Theory is? Is CRT currently taught in K-12  public schools? What are your thoughts on House Bill 324, the bill Gov. Cooper vetoed because he said it “pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education?” Would you support such a bill?

Critical Race Theory is a framework that to my understanding is taught at the collegiate level not a curriculum for  Pre-K- 12th. However  I am committed to addressing the impact of equity in our district for our most marginalized communities which to my knowledge is not CRT.

This is a bill for the NC General Assembly, if I were a member I would not support it.

6) Does the General Assembly have a constitutional obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro case to fully fund public schools and give every child in North Carolina a sound basic education?


7) Orange County’s Board of Education has passed some of the most progressive policies in the state around strengthening racial equity and providing a safe, inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students to learn. Should Wake follow Orange’s lead and implement Gender Support guidelines that create a protocol for students who are transitioning or want to?

I am not intricately familiar with their policy before seeing the link above. However I do believe it is important that all students are safe and free from discrimination. I also believe it is important to acknowledge safety as a part of mental health and well-being as well as the right to be safe. There are best practices written by reputable organizations that the district follows.

8) How do you think the current school board handled the COVID-19 pandemic? Please explain your answer.

Given the guidance and  knowledge we had, I do believe we did the best given those circumstances.

9) Recently, groups of parents with students in WCPSS have mounted efforts to ban certain books from school classrooms and libraries. The school board and school administrators pushed back on these efforts. Did the board and school system handle this controversy appropriately? What more, if anything, should be done to address efforts to ban books in schools?

Yes, we have qualified media coordinators and educators who we entrust to make age appropriate decisions on reading materials. Additionally, the district has guidance to address concerns or objects to library resources and materials.

10) Do police officers (School Resource Officers) have a role in schools? Do you agree with the way the current board is trying to address the role of SROs in Wake County Schools?

School Resource Officers have a role in our schools to assist in creating safe and welcoming environments. WCPSS provided an opportunity for community feedback to the Memorandum of Understanding. The board and staff reviewed the feedback on the role and training of SROs and shared that feedback with our municipal and county partners to update the MOU.

11) Research has shown an achievement gap for Wake County Schools students based on race and socioeconomic status. What specific policies would you support or what actions would you take to help close the gap so that race and socioeconomic status don’t persist as predictive factors?

As previously mentioned our recently updated strategic plan acknowledges the need to address equity to achieve excellence. Our resources must align with our goal to achieve excellence in all subgroups. I am hopeful our community will be partners in this commitment to meet the needs of all students to achieve academic success.

12) How should WCPSS address its ongoing shortage of educators, support staff, bus drivers, school nurses, mental health professionals, and other key staff?

WCPSS must value our  teachers and staff. For too long, North Carolina’s elected leaders have underfunded schools.  Leandro set forth the priorities to achieve this goal by requesting fair, equitable and adequate funding for all schools. I will continue to advocate for a livable wage that factors in inflation, growing housing costs for all personnel. The more instructional assistants, social workers, nurses and other key adults we have to meet the wholist needs of our students the better the working conditions for all of our personnel. We have to create the environment to retain and recruit.

13) Is the district currently doing enough to assist disabled students? What more could it do?

I believe the district is doing the best they can with limited resources to meet the needs of the students and the administrative job requirements. The Federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act is not fully funded and our students deserve the resources to meet their needs.

14) If there is anything else you would like to address, please do so here.

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