Meet a Mom: Dana Ori - Libertyville Area Moms
Hello! Please introduce yourself

Hello! My name is Dana Ori. I am a mom of two little boys and a proud teacher in Libertyville District 70. I’m starting my 15th year teaching and 9th year in Libertyville. I’m dual certified in Special Education and Early Childhood Education with a masters degree in Educational Technology. I enjoy baking, running and reading in my free time; however, majority of my time is currently spent chasing after my very energetic 3-year-old and caring for my 4-month-old.

Photo Credit: Natalie K Photography

Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?

I grew up in a small town southwest of here called Sleepy Hollow. After college, I moved around to a few different places before meeting my husband and moving to Libertyville. My husband and I have lived here for a little over 4 years. It was an easy decision to make Libertyville home since we both teach in the community.

What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?

My 3 year old is very active, so we try to get outside as much as possible. We love trying out new parks and outdoor activities around town. Our summer consisted of touring a new park, pool or splash pad each week. With the kids, we enjoy eating out at Austin’s and Mickey Finns, but we love the ambiance at Shakou for date night. My husband is also a teacher and coach at Libertyville High School and we find ourselves attending many football, basketball and baseball games throughout the year. Go Cats!

In addition to the restaurants you mentioned, can you share your TOP 5 favorite local businesses?  

We love supporting local! LoLo’s Bowls, Independence Grove, Lamb’s Farm, Heather’s Gym, Mixto Cuisine.

What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?

Traveling has always been one of my passions. Although it’s taken a backseat to having a young family right now, Arizona remains a favorite destination. We also love day trips to Lake Geneva and overnight getaways to New Buffalo.

Tell us about your business/organization.

I am honored to be one of the two Little Sprouts Preschool teachers in Libertyville. Offering a blended inclusion model in the preschool setting has been a goal of District 70 for as long as I’ve worked in the district. After a lot of planning and preparation, we finally got it off the ground last school year and were blown away by the success of the half day program. I am excited to be a part of the expansion this year. We offer a Monday-Thursday half day program for any Libertyville child who is 3-5 years old. I think what sets us apart from other preschools is that we offer a choice of morning or afternoon educational sessions. Additionally, we have a solid team of teachers, specialists, and paraprofessionals who are all highly qualified and ready to deliver the best education to our students.

What do you do in your position?

For the last 8 years in the district, I’ve been a self-contained special education teacher for preschool-aged students. Our program provides intervention for those needing a kickstart before kindergarten. This year, I am excited to transition into the new position of the Little Sprouts Blended Preschool teacher. While my role as a teacher will still include servicing those with individual needs, I will also get to lead a section of our new inclusive preschool program.

Why do you love your job?

The kids! I love seeing the progress they make in our program and their love for coming to school every day. Their smiles brighten my classroom!

What is your favorite thing about the Libertyville Area Moms Network?

I love the sense of community that Libertyville Area Moms brings. The website has endless resources for moms, families and kids.

Please share two fun facts about yourself.

My experience in education ranges from age 3 to college students! I have also run countless half marathons, the Chicago marathon, and competed in two half Ironman triathlons (well before kids!)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?

Being a mom (especially a first time mom) comes with the challenges of not always knowing what to do- kids don’t come with a manual! Two pieces of advice I love are to enjoy all the moments because they go by fast and you are the best mom for your child. You will always be your child’s best advocate, biggest supporter, and #1 fan.

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.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve found it extremely challenging to balance family time, professional life, and time for myself. I’ve learned to compartmentalize these important aspects of my life and most importantly, schedule a lot of “me” time. Being able to have time alone to reset helps me to be a better mom and teacher.

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