Mirah Anti, D202 board incumbent, talks mental health and redesigning class structures


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Mirah Anti. Anti is running for reelection to the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education.

Aviva Bechky, City Editor

Mirah Anti doesn’t shy away from asking hard questions.

In Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education meetings, Anti pushes fellow board members to acknowledge how their racially lived experiences impact the choices they’re making, she said.

“I may challenge … one of my fellow board members’ point of view,” Anti said. “I don’t use a fear of conflict as a reason to not discuss something.”

Anti was appointed to the Board of Education in June 2021, after an election in which too few candidates ran to fill the open seats. She’s now running as a write-in candidate in the April election to fulfill two more years of her term. 

An ETHS parent and the director of equity and inclusion at Township High School District 113, Anti said she’s focused on listening to teenage voices, improving mental health services and advancing equity by redesigning class structures.

She said she hopes to emphasize community schooling, a model where schools partner with organizations to provide outside resources to students. For instance, Anti said she’d like to see ETHS’ partnership with NorthShore University HealthSystem — which currently provides health services in school — expand to a mental health space that provides therapists as well.

Mental health services are critical to improving school safety, Anti added. ETHS has recently faced multiple gun scares, including an incident where a student brought a loaded handgun to school.

“It’s not about metal detectors. It’s not about more police officers in our schools. It’s not about teaching kids how to do fewer drugs or be in fewer violent situations,” Anti said. “It’s about giving them a safe space.”

Loren Stillwell, an ETHS parent who’s worked with Anti in District 113, said Anti would be a valuable asset to the Board of Education team.

She called Anti compassionate and deeply knowledgeable.

“She knows education, clearly — it’s her life’s work,” Stillwell said. “She has an acute and deep understanding of equity and how that intersects with education.”

Anti said she’s also interested in examining how ETHS places students into different educational tracks, with some students taking Advanced Placement or honors classes.

Anti said she’d like to get rid of academic tracks altogether and have students with different abilities learn together — though she acknowledged that may require a comprehensive rethinking of how classes are structured.

“You have to believe that what someone else is bringing to the table could actually help you,” she said. “It’s a whole level of redesign, that, I think, is beyond most of the ways in which we are taught.”

Design and creativity are two of Anti’s strong suits, according to her friend and colleague Janet Salmon. 

When they taught in District 113 together, Salmon said Anti hung “curiosities” from the ceiling and placed relics like an old rotary phone around the room just to pique students’ interest. That changed how Salmon thought about her own classroom space.

“She’s a one-of-a-kind individual, to be quite honest,” Salmon said. “She is a visionary thinker and just thinks of things and sees the world in a way that I think helps other people see the world in new ways.”

Going forward, Anti said she wants the city to rethink the way it treats teens.

She’d love to see more spaces for dances, or more skateparks — places students can find community safely outside of school — she said.

“You don’t invite kids to the table where all the adults are and then get mad at them for not acting in ways that you want,” Anti said. “Redesign the table with them in mind.”

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