Mya Wilkins, D65 board incumbent, talks opportunity gap and social-emotional learning


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Mya Wilkins. Wilkins is running for reelection to the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education.

Kunjal Bastola, Assistant Sports Editor

The memory of her grandfather helped inspire Mya Wilkins’ passion for education, eventually leading to her run for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education.

“My grandfather had to stop going to school in the third grade,” Wilkins said. “Because of that, it was always communicated and put on us that we did have opportunities and so because of that, we should fully take advantage of it.”   

A current District 65 Board of Education member, Wilkins is now running for her first full four-year term. In October, she was unanimously selected by her fellow Board members to fill a vacant seat on the District 65 Board of Education after former member Anya Tanyavutti stepped down. Wilkins works as an executive director in marketing research at JPMorgan Chase.

Wilkins’ platform prioritizes equity for all students, social and emotional learning and fiscal responsibility. Her work on the school board has focused on bridging opportunity gaps, strengthening school safety, decreasing racial inequities in student performance, supporting LGBTQ+ students and promoting sustainability. 

Two of Wilkins’ children attend District 65 schools, which she said provides her with a different perspective — that of a parent’s — to work to provide a supportive learning environment for all students.

In her next term, Wilkins said she hopes to focus on academic achievement gaps during early childhood education. 

“A lot of times, students don’t receive the same support before they get to kindergarten, and it is really really difficult to get on the right track,” Wilkins said. “The focus needs to be on early childhood education. And then on top of that, making sure that if students are not on track, the interventions are in place to get them there.” 

Ashanti Henderson, an attorney and longtime friend of Wilkins’, said Wilkins excels at connecting with people, as well as working with numbers and data. 

“She’s approachable,” Henderson said. “So if parents had issues or concerns that they want to address with her, I think that Mya is really open to having those conversations.” 

Clarence J. Fluker, director of community engagement for the Association of American Medical Colleges and Wilkins’ childhood friend, said Wilkins’ thoughtfulness and humility make her a leader in the community.

Especially in a position where she serves students and families, he said she thinks about the impact of her decisions carefully before making them.

“She’s extremely thoughtful about how she engages, and when she engages and when to use her voice or to turn to someone else and say, ‘I think that your voice could be needed here,’” Fluker said. 

Wilkins said she hopes to promote sustainability within District 65 schools by incorporating it into the curriculum and introducing extracurricular initiatives where students can take part in and learn more about sustainability initiatives. She hopes the new school coming to the 5th Ward, which she said is long overdue, will have environmentally friendly lighting and infrastructure. 

Moving forward with the construction project, Wilkins wants the district to prioritize listening to community members who live in the area. She said she is excited to continue serving District 65 families and hopes to win re-election to carry on the work she started over the past several months. 

“There’s a lot we can do to make it better,” Wilkins said. “But all in all, I’m really proud to be a part of this district.” 

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Twitter: @kunjal_bastola