I grew up in Highland Park and attended Ravinia School, Edgewood Junior High and Highland Park High School. I returned in 1997 with my wife, Cristina Schimert Lasko (also a HP native), to raise our three children. They attended Lincoln and Edgewood Schools, where Cristina was a PTO member and coordinated artists-in-residence programming and I volunteered as an AYSO coach and a visiting “Lawyers in the Classroom” teacher. Our youngest is now a sophomore at HPHS.
We were District 112 parents for 16 years. During that time, some of the best opportunities for our older children were cut to save money by the time our youngest reached the same age. (For example, world languages and creative writing “specials” in fourth and fifth grade.) We also saw the District go through at least two rounds of retiring many of its best and most experienced teachers to save on salaries.
In the summer of 2012, I volunteered for an advisory committee to work on the District’s financial and facilities issues (SCFFAC). We met regularly for nearly two years and studied in depth the District’s budgets, financial projections, demographics, buildings, educational objectives and reconfiguration options. I assisted to write the SCFFAC report in 2014 and continued to serve on other advisory committees and ad hoc groups thereafter.
Over the past five years, I have had hundreds of conversations about District 112 with parents, teachers, administrators, current and former board members, and other community members. I heard a lot of different opinions about a lot of things, but virtually everyone agrees that the most important priority of the District always should be excellence in education.
Professionally, I have been a business litigation attorney for 29 years. I assist business clients to resolve disputes so they can get back to running their businesses. That is not very different from what I believe we need to do now for District 112.
I have a long history of volunteer service, including more than fifteen years on the boards of a non-profit civics education organization and a non-profit performing arts company. I also have represented and advised boards and individual directors of public, private and not-for-profit corporations throughout my legal career.
As a member of the School Board, like any other board, I would keep an open mind, listen to a wide range of opinions, seek common ground, and work to build consensus. I have no personal or provincial agenda. My goal is to get the reconfiguration issue behind us and refocus District 112 on sustained excellence in education.
- Lasko Legal Services Ltd., Founder, 2016 to date.
- Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Partner, Commercial Litigation Group, 2007 to 2016.
- Mayer Brown LLP, Associate 1991 to 1996, Partner 1997 to 2007.
- City of Chicago, Department of Law, Assistant Corporation Counsel, Commercial and Policy Litigation Division, 1988 to 1991.
- Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 1987.
- Grinnell College, A.B. with honors, general science (pre-med) and philosophy, 1983.
- Highland Park High School (1979), Edgewood Junior High (1975), and Ravinia School (1972).
Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago, Director, Benefit Chair, Executive Committee, 2013 to date.
CRFC provides participatory civics education about the U.S. Constitution and constitutional democracy for elementary and secondary students. www.crfc.org
Redmoon Theater, Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Committee, 1995 to 2006.
I joined Redmoon as its first outside director when it had an annual budget of less than $35,000 and helped to lead its growth into one of Chicago’s leading civic arts organizations with a budget over $1 million.