Cleveland West Side Moms’ next Meet-A-Mom is a double feature! Meet both Lesia & Lana from Parent Teacher Mode, creators of summer math workbooks for kids in grades K-8.
So happy to have you both. Please tell me a little bit about yourself & family:
Lesia: Hi I’m Lesia. I’m a mom to 3 amazing kids and have a very supportive husband, Aaron. I have been teaching middle school for almost 10 years after leaving a career in engineering. I started Parent Teacher Mode last year and our main goal is to address the need of building math confidence in kids while we empower their parents at the same time. Ultimately, being a parent and teacher are the most fulfilling jobs and I learn more and more every day from my “home kids” and “school kids.” We grew up in Westlake. I was a Westlake Demon and loved growing up there. I spent so much time at Huntington Beach, Porter Library, and playing softball at Clague Park. I now have 3 amazing kids: Calla, Rhett, and Porter.
Lana: Hi I’m Lesia’s sister, Lana. My wife Jordan and I live in Ohio and have twin 3 year olds, Leo and Sawyer. I work as an Intervention Specialist licensed K-12 and Jordan works as a Physician Assistant in Dermatology. I’m currently in a K-2 autism unit providing interventions and services to students with significant needs and disabilities. I like to provide a lot of hands-on learning experiences and many opportunities for guided practice with skills. I am originally from Westlake, OH. I grew up with my mom, dad, brother and sister.
What are your favorite things to do with your family?
Lesia: With our kids in different sports and activities, we consciously make time on the calendar to spend together. The zoo is our favorite place to go as a family of 5. Most of our best memories are when we are all together playing games like Shut the Box or Rummikub. The cousins all love to be together too!
Lana: We love when it’s warm out because we go to parks, playgrounds, and like to go on hikes. We live in our backyard, grilling and playing. We have wooded trails that run through our development and we “feed the fish” almost daily. The twins throw rocks, collect sticks and look for bugs along the way and it’s become our happy place! In the winter, googling “things to do with kids” has become a habit of mine and we try to go somewhere new as often as we can. From libraries, to museums, to indoor play places… We also try to visit with family as often as we can.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Lesia: After attending University of Dayton for a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology and working for a massive, amazing brewery in St Louis, we landed in Ohio to move close to family. I went back to school for my Masters of Education because life was calling me to a different path. I love that I have had very different experiences in my life as it has made me a better problem solver for my family and students… and now for our Parent Teacher Mode community of parents.
What are some of your favorite things about NE Ohio?
Lana: The metroparks are a big favorite! I grew up horse back riding at Rocky River Riding Stables and will forever have those memories engraved in my mind. The libraries are a great resource and can make for a great adventure when the weather gets cold. I love the pride that comes along with being from the Cleveland area. From T-shirts and other apparel to the atmosphere after the Tribe or the Browns win a game… It will always feel like home no matter how far out I am from the city.
Lesia: Lana stole all of my answers!
What’s your favorite family friendly restaurant in our area?
Lesia: Not necessarily a restaurant, but my kids would all say Mitchell’s Ice cream!
Same here – we love Mitchell’s!
Please tell us about Parent Teacher Mode! Why/when did you start it and how did you know this is what you wanted to do?
Lesia: Parent Teacher Mode was born because I always said my parenting choices for my own kids were always influenced by my knowledge of being a teacher, and my teaching style was equally influenced by my role as a parent. My background is in math and science and I wanted to help parents know what Common Core Standards are and how they influence their child’s following year in the math classroom. Our “Stay Sharp” series of books helps kids of all levels practice grade level math over the summer. My sister Lana is the content writer for our littlest learners; preK and K.
Lana: This was all Lesia’s dream! She’s always been a big dreamer – always full of ideas… Even when we were growing up, she was always full of creativity and problem solving skills. I was THRILLED when we decided over a phone call that I would be helping her make this dream come true! She saw a problem and a need – we are so proud of what we’re putting out there and how big of an impact it can have on kids, their education, and their adults. We used to take our knowledge of common core and standards for granted since Lesia and I are both in education. We are so excited to empower adults and give them the knowledge necessary to help their students in school.
How has your community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Lesia: The community of parents and teachers around us are major cheerleaders! After using the 3rd grade book with her daughter last year, a friend of mine said, “I had no idea what my daughter was supposed to know in math.” Fast forward to this year she has already asked for the next book. Those are the success stories we love to hear! As teachers, we know what the standards are and our goal is to bring that knowledge to parents while giving kids a comprehensive review.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
Lana: It seemed so overwhelming at first… ME?! Writing a book?! After the initial shock, it’s been a dream. Something I feel proud of. It’s been so fun creating, problem solving, and, best of all, spending more time with my sister. And not just her… it’s definitely a family affair. Our brother is now acting as secretary, business manager, and email correspondent. Lesia’s husband and my wife act as editors and provide child care to give Lesia and I time to do what we need to do… Along with constantly listening to us as we talk about this and that. And last but certainly not least – our mom and dad have been our biggest cheerleaders. They talk about PTM every chance they get and are our greatest supporters.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start their own business?
Lesia: If you have a passion and a skill, GO FOR IT! I currently teach 6th grade where social and academic risk taking is a struggle. Our kids are always watching and when they see us take healthy risks it allows us to have good conversations with them. We have control of our own decisions, we can think outside of the box, and we are able to carve out our own future.
What’s your proudest accomplishment for Parent Teacher Mode?
Lesia: When our first proof came in the mail, it was the best feeling ever! As we grow our community of parents, every day seems to bring on more smiles! There are two other teacher writers that have helped Parent Teacher Mode be where it is today. We have books from PreK-8th grade that focus on the Common Core Standards for each grade level and we wouldn’t be where we are without our combined 50 years of education.
How do you juggle being a working mom?
Lana: It’s definitely not easy! Three year old twins do not make for a quiet working environment. However, teaching and momming definitely bring insight into what we’re doing. We love being able to say “Would Leo understand what we’re asking?” “Could Sawyer complete this page independently?” Our kids are our models and our guinea pigs – and we couldn’t be more thankful for them.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Lesia: We would love to be a leader in bridging parents and education. My real dream has always been to live close and work with my family on something we are passionate about. Continuing to work with my brother and sister would be the ultimate sign of our success!
Who has most influenced you the most to be the mom you are today?
Lana: It definitely takes a village! My mom obviously plays a huge role in that. She’s always the life of the party and always has a trick up her sleeve. She’s notorious for not letting small things bother her and I’ve always admired that. Lesia is 8 years older than me so I was able to watch her become a mom 3 times before I became one myself. She makes it look easy! She’s full of advice – but more importantly, she’s always there to listen and give me a “yep, SAME HERE!” which always makes me feel less alone. Last but definitely not least, my wife, Jordan has been a huge influence on me and the mom I am today. She is always calm, cool and collected. She handles the hard things when I just can’t. I will always appreciate that she wants to give our twins experiences more than tangible things. She is the most patient, fun and loving Mama and I’m so glad we get to parent together.
For more information on Parent Teacher Mode, please visit: https://www.parentteachermode.com/