After longtime member and former Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board President Anya Tanyavutti announced her resignation last week, the board announced in a Tuesday morning press release a plan to appoint her replacement next month.

Tanyavutti’s resignation comes on the heels of former board Vice President Marquise Weatherspoon stepping down in August. The board received 13 applications from parents and community members interested in filling Weatherspoon’s seat, ultimately selecting Evanston Public Library Family Engagement Coordinator Tracy Olasimbo for the job at a meeting held Monday, Sept. 19.

In the press release published Tuesday, the board said it would choose one of the other 12 candidates who applied for Weatherspoon’s vacancy to replace Tanyavutti at a special board meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 10.

“The board recently observed a thorough, timely process in seeking candidates to fill another vacancy,” the release said. “The application process resulted in the receipt of 13 completed applications from a diverse group of community members. The board will appoint a candidate from the very qualified pool to the new board vacancy seat.”

Below is a list of the other 12 applicants, not including Olasimbo. The RoundTable’s previous coverage has more detailed information about each candidate.

  • Erin Booker, a former early childhood educator who is currently a real estate broker with Engel and Volkers
  • Chanelle Brown, a personal stylist and the visual merchandising lead for Target
  • Joan Chiao, an assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern University who also has a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University
  • Robert “Bob” Easter, the managing director of Central Piedmont Investment Group, a finance committee member with the Evanston Community Foundation, a board member with Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development and a volunteer with the Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council
  • Jo Ann Flores-Deter, an interim site manager for the Ravinia Festival and a former school partnership specialist for nonprofit Communities in Schools of Chicago
  • Tammytha Johnson, a senior insurance broker at AON, a former Foundation 65 board member and a mentor and board member for Evanston Scholars
  • Jenna Morgan, an executive assistant at a Chicago law firm and a freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University
  • Sharon Riley Morris, an early childhood educator who works for Right At School, an organization that provides before- and after-school child care for District 65 families
  • Christine Percheski, an associate professor of sociology at Northwestern
  • Omar G. Salem, the professional issues director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers and a former teacher and coach at Niles North High School in Skokie
  • Henry Wilkins, the operations financial manager with SC Johnson and a leader with Stem School Evanston who has been involved in discussions about planning for the new Fifth Ward school
  • Mya Wilkins, the executive director of marketing research at JPMorgan Chase who holds a master’s in business administration from Northwestern

Kevin Jauch, regional superintendent for north Cook County school districts in Illinois, told the RoundTable that drawing from the same pool of applicants who applied for a different vacancy is a common practice when another vacancy occurs shortly after the previous one.

The school board has 60 days after the resignation announcement to appoint a replacement. As long as the members make a selection in a timely manner, they can choose the appointment process they think is the best, according to Jauch.

“I think it makes complete sense [to use the existing applicant pool]. As a board, they may have sat down and said, ‘Oh my gosh, look at this. We have two, three really good candidates, but we can only offer the position to one,’ and they offer the position to that one,” Jauch said. “They’ve just gone through the process, so this does not surprise me at all that they do it this way.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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