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LRSD School Board Candidates: Monica Wiley, Zone 3

Arkansas Baptist College

Why did you decide to run for the Little Rock School Board?

“Well, my choosing to do this is to be an advocate for the children in the community… just being someone that’s a spokesperson for the children and parents of the community. Because that’s the breakdown with the schools that I solely believe is that the parents are not getting the understanding of what’s going on at the schools when things are related back to them about what’s going on with the students, what’s going on at the school period. So I feel like, with myself, I could be a good communicator between all parties that are involved.”

What experience in education do you have?

“I’ve actually been a paraprofessional in the school district. I’ve also, for many years, about 10 years I was a substitute, but I also worked as a paraprofessional not too long ago, about two years ago.”

Did you and/or your children go to public school?

“Sure did. I actually attended the Little Rock School District and my children are all graduates of the Little Rock School District.”

And what are your main goals/policy points, things you would want to change if you are elected?

“What I’m standing for is creating equity in education and my way of doing that would be by inspiring students [with] the possibilities, impacting parents and communities with information, improving the morale between students, parents and teachers and increasing student achievement. Those are my four ‘I’s.’”

How do you feel schools in the Little Rock School District have fared without a school board these past years?

“Without the school board, I think it has ran as well as it has ran, but I honestly believe that the school board is needed communication-wise and for someone to be able to be a bridge between the school and the parents and the community.”

How do you believe you should reintroduce the concept of a school board to a community that’s been without one?

“I think to reintroduce the board back to the community will be by making sure that the board members are available too. Making the board members to the parents and the community. I just believe hands-on works better than just ‘Okay, let’s sit back and not be involved.’ I think if the board is very much involved, that way it will help on all aspects.”

Do you think that the state takeover of the Little Rock School District in 2015 was fair?

“I’ll say this. If it was fair, I hope there was something gained from it. That is what would make it fair.”

What would you do to try to avoid another state takeover?

“I believe that the board needs to be very much involved, going in and out of the schools in my zone, making sure I know what’s going on, staying up on what’s involved in the schools that are in my zone.” 

And do you feel like you’re going to need to build trust with educators, with parents, with the community as the school board is reintroduced?

“I believe that is true, building their trust. And that’s what I’m saying, making myself available will build that trust.”

Are you worried that expectations will be more than what you can accomplish being on the school board?

“I don’t. Everything is everything and the challenge is what it is. I think it will be fine.”

The state has imposed some guard rails on what the board can and cannot do…So do you feel like those guardrails limit what the school board can accomplish?

“No. I don’t believe that is so. I believe the school board will be able to accomplish still a lot with those guardrails in place.”

How do you feel you will handle any disagreements, whether it’s within the board members themselves, or it’s with the community?

“By being a good listener, that’s first. And then always making a judgement on my beliefs and not what is going on, but making a judgement on what I believe in.”