As the title of her blog “On the Go Momma” suggests, Sylvania mom Kate Fineske is a very busy woman. Kate thought she could get back into the work force easily after her three kids were out of diapers. It's still a challenge, she says, “As the kids get older, I get so much busier, especially between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm. When they get home from school … it's crazy!”
Somewhere between her kids' extracurriculars, she found the energy to apply to be a representative of Ohio at Parenting Magazine's 2012 Mom Congress in Education and Learning with a 300-word essay (Fineske regularly blogs for the National Association of Mother’s Centers and for her own site, onthegomomma.net). “I'm all about doing things that I feel passionate about,” she says. That essay took her all the way to Washington D.C. early this summer to meet other influential moms from across the country.
Established in 2009, Parenting Magazine's annual conference brings together women who are passionate about improving education. The magazine selects one woman from each state based on her involvement in her community. Kate was thrilled to be chosen as Ohio's delegate. This year's 3-day conference at Georgetown University featured prominent speakers from the parenting and education communities, including Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of Save the Children, and Arne Duncan, current U.S. Secretary of Education. Kate admits some nervousness at having to fly states away from her children, but she's thankful that she went. “It was really a unique, interesting experience,” she says.
As Kate puts it, motherhood often “refocuses you for a while.” After college she worked as a graphic designer, but she's found new focus in education advocacy, an issue close to her family. “My husband is an educator,” she says, referring to Adam Fineske, the executive director of curriculum and instruction at Sylvania Schools. The list of family involvement goes on: “My mom is an educator, my mother-in-law is an educator, my sister, my brother, all have been involved in education. And I teach!” For the past ten years Kate has taught graphic design classes at Owens Community College. Spurred by having young children, Kate is also heavily involved in her school district's parent organizations for both primary and secondary students. She volunteers with Highland Elementary's Parent Organization, serves on the advisory committee for Sylvania Schools' Visual Communication and Design Program, and works as the President of Sylvania Schools' Parent School Council.
In addition to learning about education advocacy at Mom Congress, Kate was affected on personal level. “It was very empowering for me as a mother and as a woman,” she says. The sense of community and strength she got from meeting other influential women from around the country impacted her deeply. Kate is dedicated to putting this sense of empowerment to work in our community. The tools and support offered at the event have given her renewed confidence in keeping up the busy schedule. “I'm not good at sitting still,” she says, and it doesn't look like she'll need to any time soon.
Take a look at Kate's post for Toledo Area Parent's blog.