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Findley: more than a teacher

Taylor Weiss, cub writer

By the girls locker room, up the stairs, to the right and through the door, the dance room is filled with dancers. At the front of the room, Dance Company coach Dana Findley stands in her workout gear. At an early age, Findley knew her passion was dance and has pursued her dream of teaching dance to others. But “teacher” is only one of the many hats that Findley wears. Findley is not only a teacher, but a mother, wife, sister and dancer.

Findley, her husband Kerk, and her children in a playful family portrait.

Findley, her husband Kerk, and her children pose for a playful family portrait.

Findley grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago in the town of Buffalo Grove. Findley and her sister Jaime would spend their winter days in the basement, passing time by putting on shows for an invisible audience.

At the age of three, Findley began her dancing career.In high school she competed on the cheer team, as well as a team similar to Dance Company. Findley went on to the University of Illinois and moved to California in 1996 to begin teaching.

“If you ask my mom, she would say that I knew I wanted to dance since I was three,” Findley said.

Findley’s first teaching job was teaching dance at Beverly and eventually she moved to Horace Mann where she became the assistant principal. Recently, Findley left Horace Mann to return to coach Dance Company at Beverly as well as teaching P.E.

“Ms. Findley is really sweet and I really like her. She teaches well and fairly,” freshman Nicole Ghodsian said.

Sitting inside her office, looking around at the pictures of Dance Company on the walls and photos of her kids posing on brick stairs, it’s not hard to realize that Findley doesn’t have one, but two, families.

Findley met her husband Kerk met in a spin class and dated for five years before they got married. Eleven years later, they’re still happily married with two children, Race and Aria. Her son Race (five) participates in numerous sports and her daughter Aria (three) is already very passionate about dance.

“They are the love of my life. I feel like I can go anywhere as long as I have them; everything would be okay,” Findley said.

The rest of Findley’s family is in Chicago, so her second family is right here at Beverly.

“All of my best friends are teachers that I started teaching with when I first came here. They’re like my second family because my whole family is in Chicago,” Findley said.

Findley believes in the famous phrase, “everything happens for a reason.”

“When I first graduated college I wanted to move to New York to go dance and instead I decided to move out here. But if I moved there, I wouldn’t have gotten a job here. I wouldn’t have met my husband, maybe. I wouldn’t have any of my best friends. I really feel strongly that the reason why something happened is because I needed to learn about myself or  it changed my somehow. I really try to have that perspective on it,” Findley said.

Findley’s tough exterior on the first day of school was only a little piece of who she really is. Findley’s life isn’t only surrounded by teaching. It’s surrounded by family, love, dance, and ambition. A teaching job can be temporary, but being a mother, wife and sister is permanent.

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