Ms. Lanita J. Koster brings more than 35 years of Illinois educational experience to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Most recently, she served as the educational issues director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT).
She began her career as a school social worker in East Aurora School District 131, where she worked for nearly 23 years. In addition, she has over 16 years of educational labor experience with both the IFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), having served as vice-president and legislative director for the IFT, as well as president and vice-president for the East Aurora Council, AFT Local 604, and statewide coordinator for educational issues and the AFT’s Educational Research and Dissemination Program.
Ms. Koster has also served on a number of boards and committees throughout her career, including the Governor’s Early Learning Council, Illinois State Working Group on Improving Teacher Quality of Illinois’ Neediest Students and Schools, the Committee of Practitioners, Illinois Learning Partnership, the Illinois Teacher Certification Board and the Illinois Goals 2000 panel. She also served on the University of Illinois at Chicago and ISBE’s joint task force on World Class Educators for the 21st Century.
She holds a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University. Ms. Koster was appointed to the State Board of Education in May 2008 and her term expires in January 2011.