Anya Tanyavutti, Evanston/Skokie District 65 Board of Education’s first Black woman president, has announced her resignation from the board, seven months before her term is set to expire, during the Sept. 19 board meeting.
Tanyavutti, who recently ran for Evanston’s 2nd Ward City Council seat, served as District 65 board president from June 2020 through May 2022. She held a seat on the board since 2016.
Tanyavutti said she felt compelled to do something after hearing that “disparaging information about her race” was said to her then 2-year-old child at day care. Tanyavutti said that educators were “highly resistant to being accountable to correct it” and that the experience was heartbreaking.
From there, she joined the school board where she served on the Head Start Parent Policy Committee, Evanston Community School Initiative, Park School Advisory Committee, City-School Liaison Committee, Joint D65/202 Committee and chair of the Curriculum & Policy Committee.
Tanyavutti said there has been progress during her time with the board and knows that progress will only grow.
“I will still be here and still be a proud and engaged stakeholder of District 65. I love you all tremendously and I am proud of you and our children,” said Tanyavutti. “I have no doubt D65 will continue to be brave, bold, and unapologetically for what is right for the most vulnerable in our community and for human rights for all in our institution.”
Board President Sergio Hernadez described her as the “perfect board member” and an inspiration to him and other board members.
“You’re the type of people that we need on this board. Along with the folks who have the degrees, who have the expertise,” he said. “We need that balance and you’ve brought it.”
Board Member Joseph Hailpern said Tanyavutti is leaving the board better than how she found it.
“You have been an exemplary model — for all humans — about what leadership sounds like, and let’s not forget what it looks like,” he said. “This board of education had never seen a president of color until during your time on the board and we’re on a streak. You have not let the fight for equity and opportunity slow down.”
The board has received 13 applications to fill her seat and expect to have a decision on the Oct. 10 special board meeting. Whoever is selected will serve until the April 4, 2023 election.