In full disclosure, I am a friend of Elena Garcia Ansani. I am also her colleague and associate.

I know Elena as someone who fiercely believes that all voices of an institution need to be heard in order for the institution to be successful. She is one who asks, “Who is not present?” and “What would they say if they were present?” in order to make sure that a diverse range of perspectives are considered before decisions are made. As a community advisory group member of the North Lawndale Employment Network where I work, Elena has enriched our discussions and decisions.

Simply put, Elena advocates for an excellent education for all ETHS students.

Elena is passionate about helping create win-win’s for everybody at ETHS. The constituents of ETHS—students, teachers, parents, administrators, and community members– cannot afford to see life at the school as a zero sum game. Elena would like us all to believe that everyone can succeed at the school if everyone is looking out for one another.

I know firsthand from Elena’s demeanor and leadership as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the YMCA that she takes the name of her committee to heart. She routinely seeks out experts to present to the committee members facets of the areas under discussion. These experts help ground our viewpoints and discussions in statistically factual information that complement our experiences.

From Elena’s experience as a board member of the YMCA and the Evanston Coalition for Latino Resources, she knows how to support the vision and goals of an organization and how to ask the questions that will help it reach those goals and achieve that vision.

As a parent of an ETHS freshman and a Chute seventh grader, Elena recognizes the critical role that parents play in helping children embrace learning as a lifelong habit.

Elena’s intelligence, inclusiveness, and integrity have been honed repeatedly through her experiences as educator, student, board member, business owner and parent. Her breadth of experiences will contribute greatly to the 202 Board.

Terry Soto