Hi, everyone! My name is Liz Kelly and I live in Vernon Hills with my husband Chris, 3 year old daughter Piper, 17 month old son Shane, and two dogs: Sadie and Bailey. Chris and I both grew up in Deerfield and then I attended Indiana University where I performed with Ladies First, IU’s premiere women’s a cappella group. There I earned IU’s first BA in Drama Education. I have taught drama, Spanish, and social studies and have directed numerous school plays/musicals. Most recently, after earning my Master’s Degree in Special Education, I taught 8th grade special education at Caruso Middle School, my alma mater, in Deerfield, for three years. I resigned from my teaching position in 2016 to focus on raising my family and dedicate more time to the work I do in light of losing my first husband.

My late husband, James Sauter, was an Illinois State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty on March 28, 2013, while working on 294. Since 2014, I have served as a member of the Executive Board of a charity called the 100 Club of Chicago, as I know first hand the importance of their mission to support families of first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The 100 Club of Chicago currently serves families in Lake, Cook, and McHenry counties. As the Lake County representative, I can often be found guest speaking or singing the National Anthem at local events. If you are interested in learning more about the 100 Club of Chicago, please visit the website at 100clubchicago.org.

In addition to working with the 100 Club of Chicago, I have also been very involved with fundraising to help build the Illinois State Police Memorial Park in Springfield, which finally had its dedication in October of 2018. In 2015 I was asked to play a key role in the Emmy-winning PSA entitled “Not Forgotten,” a short film to solicit funds and make the Memorial Park a reality. Recently, I represented the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation at two events.  I was the keynote speaker at the reveal of the new Blue Police Memorial Instant Ticket from the Illinois Lottery as well as an event at UXO Crossfit Gurnee where I spoke about the dangers of distracted and fatigued driving, and the importance of moving over for all first responders. Since being widowed, I have made the conscious decision to turn my loss into a mission to help other young, first responder widows, and to make sure no one else has to experience a preventable loss like mine.

I remarried in 2015 to Chris, whom I dated in high school for two years and have known since kindergarten. Chris and I love living in Gregg’s Landing. In fact, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew live three doors down and my parents live only three blocks away. Needless to say, we are a pretty close family. Quality education and the offer of a dual language program within a great school district is what drew my family of teachers to the area. Before my kids enter District 73, they really enjoy attending The Goddard School in Vernon Hills. We would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for daycare/preschool.

Some of my other favorite local places are where my kids do their activities and where Chris and I go on our night out together. Piper, Shane, and their cousins Paige and Parker stay very busy with swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School, gymnastics at the brand new Vernon Hills Gymnastics, as well as soccer and dance classes. Our favorite restaurants include: Shakou, Casa Bonita, Egg Harbor, and of course, Dairy Dream.

Photo Credit: KMG Photography

Being a mom is without a doubt the most difficult, and yet most rewarding, job of all time. I am no super mom, as some days include Happy Meals and way too much screen time, but I try my best and believe that it truly does take a village. I am incredibly grateful for the ability to be home with my kids and for my incredible family and friends.

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