District 65 Board President Sergio Hernandez swears in new member Mya Wilkins.

The executive director of marketing at Chase Bank has been named by the Evanston/Skokie District 65 Board of Education to fill the vacancy created last month when Anya Tanyavutti resigned.

Mya Wilkins was unanimously picked on Monday over eleven other applicants. She and all the other hopefuls had also applied for the previous school board opening, which became available when Marquese Weatherspoon stepped down in August.

Another applicant from that original pool, Tracy Olasimbo, was chosen by the board for the Weatherspoon vacancy last month. Olasimbo is the family engagement coordinator at the Evanston Public Library.

In her application, Wilkins highlighted being a District 65 parent, professional business and budgeting experience and a variety of education-related volunteer activities, particularly aimed at helping and honoring Black student achievement.

In the application, Wilkins said, “It will be my mission to make sure that every child is provided with the support, tools and resources they need to get the education they deserve.”

She also said she will use her voice to “make sure that the perspectives of marginalized groups are heard and taken into account.”

Wilkins has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree from Case Western in Cleveland.

Both Wilkins and Olasimbo will get the political advantage of incumbency when they run again, but they won’t be long in office before they have to face the voters next April.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  1. She can only be an improvement over Anya, but the practice of resigning and handing the seat over to political allies so they can run with the advantages of incumbency but without responsibility for the damage that has been done needs to come to an end.

    1. Well, the last person to quit–Weatherspoon–was appointed herself after losing the last election. She quit before she even could use the advantages of incumbency, only lasting about a year on the job.

      I think even though Wilkins and Olasimbo are incumbents, unless they do something to demonstrate some independence, the incumbency will not necessarily be an asset. Rather, their positions will be tainted by being appointed by the current reckless board.

      I do agree that the practice of resigning for no apparent reason is problematic and disrespectful to the voters. Tanyavutti’s case was especially bad since literally 3 weeks before she quit her term prematurely she was lobbying to become the 2nd ward alderman. When Mayor Biss appointed someone else she then apparently couldn’t finish out her board term.

      We never got the story about why Weatherspoon vanished overnight from the board. I guess in her case she didn’t owe an explanation to her voters since she was never voted in, but it shows the poor judgment of the board when they appoint people to fill out a term and they quit after a few months.

      We’ll see what happens with these two new members. But I think in the Spring voters will be looking for independent voices who have improving education at the forefront of their focus, rather than the culture war infatuation that marks the current board’s obsession.

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