Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I am originally from Arlington Heights. My husband and I have lived in Libertyville for 11 years. Early on in my mother’s teaching career, she taught and coached at Libertyville High School. She always spoke so highly about the town and what an amazing community Libertyville was. We have felt that “one town, one team” mentality each day since and are so thankful to have planted our roots here.
Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)
We have three boys. Paxton (8), Jack (5), Brooks (2).
What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?
We love going on walks through our neighborhood, stopping by the farmers market, grabbing dinner in downtown Libertyville, staying busy with all of the youth sport programs, or just laying low with a bonfire and friends.
For dinner as a family, we love grabbing a bite at O’Toole’s, Finns or hitting up Hitz and Bills Pub in Mundelein. For date nights or dinner with friends, we love Milwaukee Taco and Main Street Social. We recently tried Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest with some friends and it was delicious! For take-out, our go-to is Dos Amigos.
In addition to the restaurants you mentioned, can you share your TOP 5 favorite local businesses? It could be stores that you frequent for clothes, kids, home decor, healthcare, fitness, wellness, beauty salons or spas, or family resources (photographer, financial advisor, lawyer)… We love supporting local.
- My husband and boys are frequent flyers of Liberty Barber Downtown and I go to Touché Salon for my haircut and highlights.
- Passes to Adler pool and Lake Minear are staples for the summer.
- In the fall, we love to stop by Heinz Orchard in Green Oaks for some great apple picking.
- For a quick gift for a girlfriend, Edie Boutique is my go-to and for a more personal gift, I go to How Impressive.
- For kid birthday parties, we try to pop-in Sports 11 and grab some gear.
Congratulations on your top honors as State Champions! It was incredible to watch the Stevenson Girls Basketball Team win the Illinois High School Association 4A Championship! What does this win mean to you, your team and your family?
Thank you! It’s surreal to look back at it and sometimes, I will just be on a walk or sitting at one of my kids games and it hits me what transpired or some memory from that playoff run and the season. It is something our program, our players, and my family will always treasure.
I am just so proud of the way the kids achieved it. I can’t say enough about what they gave, what they stand for and the wonderful young women that they are. They focused on the process of doing it the right way and gave their whole self to the cause and their role.
Some people have said and even still come up to me and mention that “it must be the pinnacle of one’s coaching career”. But for our family, we have never viewed winning, coaching, or athletics in that light.
Playing and coaching the game basketball has transformed my life in so many ways. My husband and I both played collegiate sports. He played in the minor league baseball system for a few years, was an assistant varsity baseball coach for many years, and currently teaches and coaches here at Stevenson. We both come from families of teachers and coaches and are as competitive as they come. Although throughout these experiences, we have learned the secret of sport and it rarely, if ever, is about the sport itself.
It’s about the everyday people whose internal bucket we get to fill and for those that do and did the same for us. You win in life with people.
The lessons, the losses, the commitment, the teammates, the adversity, the sound choices we make, the dedication, the relationships, the unique journey of each season, and the intangibles that the game creates; is what it is about. The success I will always feel, is in the young women that this program has helped to shape and grow. The ultimate measure of success will never be in the wins and championships.
Working with and serving young people, is and always will be, the greatest honor and privilege of my life.
What can you tell us about your career? We’d love all of the details about your time at Prospect and Stevenson.
I have been a teacher and coach for 14 years. Right out of college, I became the varsity assistant coach at Stevenson for three years. During that time, I taught at an Elementary School in Northbrook. I then left to become the head coach at Prospect High School and was there for three years. When the opening came up at Stevenson, I chose to come back home to where my coaching career started. I have been here for the past 8 years. I teach Health, Adapted Physical Education and Physical Education.
How has this community and the Lincolnshire community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now? I know you are originally from Arlington Heights. How did that play a role as well?
I am so lucky to call both of these communities’ home and I love both places so much. It is my belief that relationships are the foundation of all successful aspects of one’s life. I value the community relationships in my professional and personal life, the school relationships in both communities, as well as the lifelong friendships we have made in both places. I love going to work each day. Stevenson is an amazing place and each day I am given opportunities to learn and grow alongside our students and staff. Then going home each day to a community with amazing resources and activities for our kids and families is just so enjoyable. I think both communities have been instrumental in my adult life because of all that they provide and all that they stand for.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
The best piece of advice I have gotten from another mom is actually from my own mom. She always says that motherhood is the greatest and hardest thing you will ever experience. That the true joy you feel for your children is unlike anything you can explain, but it is not for the faint of heart. Never forget those joyous moments and the hard ones too. You will look back years from now and want them all back.
The most important advice I give to my team about perseverance is: From the great, Kay Yow (former N.C. State Head Women’s basketball coach). She said, “when life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” We take that mentality with any struggle, hardship, loss or when things simply don’t go our way. Let’s learn from it, use it to become better, and move forward.
The most important advice I give to my team about being a part of a team is: that the strength of a team lies within each member of the team. In every choice we make, in how we treat one another, and in everything we do each day, we must have a championship mentality. We must all work to be champions in every aspect of our lives in order for us to be successful.
In an effort to keep it real, and not just show the sunny side, can you share with us a past or present struggle in your personal or professional life? Please also share how you overcame it or cope with it (or plan to)? We love gaining new tools for our mental wellness toolbox.
First, let’s acknowledge that life isn’t a “walk in the park”. I think what has helped on the hard days, is something one of my greatest mentors always spoke about. It was to embrace the hard and the struggle. Meet it head on. That’s how I have viewed those hard days or moments in my life. When your back is against the wall, you gotta fight back.
My dad was diagnosed with ampullary (stomach) cancer about 5 years ago and he underwent an extremely invasive surgery. It was a long and emotional road. He is the rock of our family and the light we all follow. It hit our family hard, but every day he fought back. The positivity and the lens in which he viewed the battle was inspiring and gave me a new perspective on how to handle adversity. Therefore, for me, coping and healing has been in how I approach each “fight”, the ups and downs and the lens in which I take on my hard days.
Never forgetting that community helps. Talking helps. Other moms help. Find a network, find your people, and invest in those people and relationships. They come at premium and they will save you most days.
Are you involved in any volunteering or philanthropy? Do you have a favorite local non-profit or charity?
A few of our favorite places to volunteer as a basketball program, have been Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville and Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Bluff.
What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?
Each summer we take a family vacation and are determined to check as many states off of our list that we can. Recently, we have loved our vacations to the Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park! We stayed in an Airbnb last Spring Break (here is the link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/48417646 ) in the Smokys and it was awesome. I highly recommend families looking into those. There is so much to do in the area.
At the end of each summer, we go to The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It is our favorite summer spot!
Which non-fiction books, podcasts and/or TED Talks inspire you the most?
Professionally, I am currently reading, Extreme Ownership and really enjoying it. Other good reads recently have been, The Power of Moments and Humble Inquiry. These are great for those of you in leadership positions/roles, education, or are looking for personal growth opportunities.
Tell me about your favorite books. I love receiving fiction and non-fiction recommendations!
For a great fiction read, I have recently have gotten into some Colleen Hoover books. Sped through ‘em!
What is your favorite thing about the Libertyville Area Moms Network?
I have always loved reading the features. They are so insightful and I have learned about so many women in this community. They have provided such great tips and perspectives!