Lori Scharenbroich, of Crosslake, excels at staying busy.
When she isn’t taking care of her children and serving as their “Mom Uber” or tending to the business she opened less than a year ago, she can be found serving the constituents of Crosslake Community School as the school board chair.
“I don’t know what it’s like on other boards, but it really requires a lot of time and commitment,” Scharenbroich said. “In particular with (Crosslake Community School), the stakes are so high. When I’m not working or spending time with my kids, I’m doing something for the school.”
The Freeport, Illinois, native is in her second full term as a member of the charter school's board. She became chair of the board late in her first term.
“At its core, I am responsible for getting the agenda together and working with the executive director (Todd Lyscio) to set that agenda and make sure the rest of the board is prepared and have what they need to make decisions, which is no small feat,” she said. “It is an unpaid part-time job most of the time.”
Her responsibilities increased with the announcement that Lyscio will retire at the end of 2019, as she is now the chair of the search committee working to find his successor.
“That will take up a lot of my time this fall," Scharenbroich said. “It is an incredibly huge decision - one that makes or breaks schools. It weighs on all of us.”
Despite the hard work and time commitment required of the board chair, Scharenbroich enjoys the work because she is a part of something bigger.
“I have learned that to enjoy the good, you have to be willing to take some of the bad,” she said. “There isn’t a job worth having that doesn’t have moments where you want to throw your hands in the air. For every one of those moments, you get to open a new school or be a part of a ribbon cutting or watch a community come together to build a playground … It is worth it, but it is not easy.”
Though she devotes as much as she can to the school board, she does not expect her role as board chair to be a position she holds long term. She sees that as a positive for the board when the time is right.
“I think it is a good thing to have fresh leadership. I think a lot of organizations get bogged down with ‘This is the way it is,’ and ‘This is how we do things.’ Sometimes, people get used to that style of leadership and become dependent on it. It’s good to have fresh eyes and a fresh perspective when the time comes," she said.
In addition to her efforts with the school board, Scharenbroich is raising two children, Cara and Liam, along with her husband, Lucas, and runs a marketing firm from her home. After 12 years working in marketing, she opened West Shore Marketing in Crosslake last October.
“Last year, I turned 40 and thought, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” she said. “I wouldn’t say it was a mid-life crisis, but I was ready to do something else.”
Working in her own one-person firm, Scharenbroich now provides small business owners with marketing strategies, web content and more while working from her home. Owning her own firm allows her to focus on the people for whom she needs to be present - her clients, her constituents of Crosslake Community School and, most of all, her children.
“I want really happy clients, I want to stay involved in the community and I want to be present for my kids,” Scharenbroich said. “It is important to me that I am at the basketball games and dance competitions.”