Tom Benton has announced that he is running to maintain his seat on the Wake County Board of Education representing District One. He has postponed making his announcement due to the redrawing of the district lines and the active court case questioning the new plan. However, Benton feels strongly that he has represented his present district well while serving all students in Wake County.
His three years on the board has seen a renewed focus on academic achievement and success for every student. Efforts to redesign schools in the Knightdale area are well underway and have started in Zebulon and Wendell. The Elementary Support Model is being implemented to offer additional support to schools that have high percentages of students that bring challenging environmental issues to the classroom. And, just recently the board has formally approved a plan for the school system to jointly plan two new community responsive schools. One is in southeast Raleigh and is a partnership with the Triangle YMCA to provide more access to education, wellness, affordable housing and healthy food as a part of a community revitalization effort. Benton is looking forward to working with the Garner area, which is new to his district and the opportunities that opening several new schools in that area will provide.
The second is an agreement with Wake Tech to open a Career and Technical High School in Wake Forest that will model after the successful Vernon Malone College and Career Academy in southeastern Wake County.
However, Benton is most proud of his advocacy at the local and state level to raise teacher and staff salaries so that a quality staff can be maintained. “You can have the best programs and facilities in the world, but without a highly qualified teacher in the classroom and high quality staff providing the services necessary to provide safety and comforts, you will not have successful schools” according to Benton.
Benton also said, “Much has been done to provide a quality education to EVERY student but much is left to be done to guarantee every child and every parent that you are going to receive the education your child needs and deserves regardless of where you live. I believe that I am uniquely qualified based on my experiences as a teacher, principal, and leadership coach to schools seeking improvement and the accomplishments on the board during my present term.”