The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education inducted Rebeca Mendoza last night to replace Omar Brown, who resigned last month.
A graduate of Leadership Evanston, Ms. Mendoza served as a board member for the Evanston Coalition for Latino Residents for eight years, as a mentor for Project Soar for five years, and a member of the Evanston Arts Council for three years.
She currently volunteers with Books and Breakfast and remains a steadfast advocate for closing the achievement gap in Evanston’s public schools.
Born in Mexico City, she immigrated to Evanston at the age of five with her mother and attended Washington Elementary School, Nichols Middle School, and Evanston Township High School.
“From her years in District 65, both as a student and as a parent, and her experience as a community activist, she brings a perspective to the board that will help us support high quality education and equitable learning environments for our students," said Suni Kartha, board president.
Her term will expire in 2019, when she will be eligible to run for re-election.
Brown, who cited work and family commitments when he resigned, was vice president of human resources for the Chicago Transportation Authority when he was appointed in 2014 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Eileen Budde, but he later became a senior consultant at the management consulting firm of Deloitte.
Brown successfully ran for re-election to a full four-year term in 2015. School board elections are held every other year in odd-numbered years, but vacancies between elections are filled by the remaining six board members.
Some 23 residents of the district applied to fill the vacancy caused by Brown’s resignation. Interviews were held Aug. 7-8.
“I am greatly humbled by this opportunity to serve on the District 65 School Board,” Mendoza said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and fellow community members from District 65 in our shared determination to ensure the highest quality of education for all our students,” she added.
Professionally, Mendoza has worked for several Evanston-based organizations, including Family Focus Inc., McGaw YMCA, and Y.O.U. She currently works at The Rotary Foundation as a Regional Grants Officer, where she is responsible for evaluating and awarding grants to humanitarian service clubs in Europe and Africa.
The new board member holds a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan and recently completed her Master’s in Psychology at National Louis University. She is the mother of a 12-year-old girl.