Highland Park resident Annette Lidawer brings a unique perspective to the District 113 Board of Education. Due to her extended family in the area she has watched her children, along with a dozen nieces and nephews pass through Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools.
“While I do see things directly as a parent of three, I have 18 students in this area, and only two of which are in Evanston,” she said about constantly being up-to-date on high school happenings. “I find that’s essential to my role on the Board.”
Lidawer kicked off her Board service in New York. Initially a Chicago lawyer, she moved to Brooklyn to work as New York Governor Mario Cuomo’s Ombudsman in community outreach. She then transitioned to the federal government to run a congressional staff. Her next step was in the NYS Attorney General’s Office.
“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “Always working with public bodies and groups and finding out directly from them what the needs were.”
When it came time to start a family, Lidawer continued to work, plus was elected to Community School Board 22 in Brooklyn, an area roughly the size of Evanston to Waukegan including 31,000 K-8 students. Her family eventually moved back to the Midwest in 1999 for her husband’s job. Now, Lidawer is extremely involved in
nonprofit work with the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Chicago, Friends of the IDF and AIPAC as well as the HPHS PTO and Book Sale.
“I acclimated much more quickly to the North Shore by my activity in the schools and locally,” she commented.
Lidawer decided to jump back into Board service in 2009 and looked to District 113. She happens to be a certified high school teacher and had been substituting for local schools.
“I just assumed that because we were suburban rather than urban, the problems would be easier,” she commented about transitioning from Brooklyn’s Board to District 113’s. “That was a completely incorrect assumption. The issues are different, but they are just as great, and they are very complex.”
Lidawer takes her Board position seriously and like other members donates a large amount of time to it. “I spend about 15 hours a week on School Board related matters,” she said. “Whether it’s going to meetings, being briefed on something, or doing my packet reading to stay up to snuff, I enjoy it.” She’s dedicated to the position because of her confidence in the high schools. “The schools have provided my children with a fine education; my daughter is still taking advantage of HPHS and this is my way to give back to the community.”
“We are a District that is cutting edge. We are initiators. Whether it is in education, finance, or social policy, the Board has an obligation to our students, parents, teachers, taxpayers and administration. I look to that obligation as a responsibility to be innovative in our curricula, creative in our approach and responsive to our school community. That’s what I like about this District," she
emphasized. "Our message is that we want education to be paramount."
District 113 will be releasing Board member profiles in the following weeks in an attempt to familiarize community members with their elected school officials. Upcoming Board member profiles will all be posted on Dist113.org.