Her students called her “Auntie Em,” a play on her name, Mirah Anti.
Now, Anti, the director of equity and inclusion for Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools, is the newest member of Evanston Township High School’s Board of Education.
District 202 board members appointed Anti during a special meeting Monday night. She was chosen over seven other applicants to fill a vacancy created when Jude Laude decided not to run for re-election earlier this year.
Anti told Evanston Now she approaches school board membership “through a parental lens and a teacher lens.”
She and her husband Lucas have two children at ETHS. Daughter Bijou will be a junior, and son Sebastien will be a freshman.
Before becoming equity and inclusion director at District 113, Anti taught social studies for 25 years at Highland Park High School.
Anti says she is “constantly engaged in a systems-thinking mindset,” analyzing issues beneath the surface, to make sure that “our values are embedded” in what we do.
She hopes to apply that philosophy to issues on the board, ranging from the best way to offer classes, to the physical layout of classrooms themselves.
Anti also brings a unique perspective of what it’s like to be a member of groups which have historically faced repression, discrimination, and persecution. Anti is both African-American and Jewish.
Her mother was Jewish and her father was Black. Growing up with a multi-cultural background “shaped my entire career,” Anti said, with the ability to “not allow stereotypes” to fester.
“As I teach about race,” she said, “I also understand what it means to be told ‘You’re Jewish?'”
Despite Evanston’s diversity on paper, Anti said, “proximity is what’s missing for many of us.” People may go to school together, or work together, but “we’re not playing with each other,” she said.
Of course, one person cannot resolve that issue alone. But with a background in teaching as well as in equity and inclusion, Anti could be a point person in helping to bring people together.
“I operate,” she said, “from a lot of love.”