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Anna Kaplan

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Anna was born in Tabriz, Iran and grew up in Tehran. Her father was a rug dealer and she lived in a three-family house, which was shared with her uncle’s family. Even though money was tight, her parents worked hard to make the lives of their children better and sent them to the best private schools. They told Anna that even though she was a girl, she could do anything she set her mind to — a very radical idea in Iran at the time.

When the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979, her parents thought it best to send her to the United States, even though she was only 12. Anna and one of her brothers went to Crown Heights, New York, to start a new life in a foreign country. They then lived with a foster family in Chicago where she attended high school.

Anna learned to speak English by watching television, probably not the best preparation for a career in public speaking. A few years later, her parents were able to come to Chicago. The family had to leave everything behind to be together.

They moved to New York where Anna attended Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University and then went on to study at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. After law school, Anna met her husband of now 16 years and they settled in Great Neck, New York.

After the birth of her first child, she became a full-time mother and very involved in the preschool and PTA programs. Anna believes that providing a good public education to all is one of the most important roles of government.

Committed to preserving and enhancing the public institutions of her community, she was then asked to run for the Board of Trustees of the Great Neck Library District and began serving a four-year term in January of 2008. In 2010 she was appointed vice president of the Board of Trustees. She also served on the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals, and was the only woman on the board.

Despite all of her accomplishments, she is most proud of her family. After a life in which she was violently uprooted, she has resolved to make a home for her husband and two daughters that is permanent and safe. She finds herself constantly reminding her girls how lucky they are to live in this country, where they truly can do anything they set their minds to.