Dist. 28's Own Valentines: LaCerras

Dist. 28's Own Valentines
Posted on 02/13/2018
Michael and Tara LaCerraWas it love at first sight? Maybe.

Was it destiny? You might think so.

Fifteen years ago when Michael LaCerra and Tara Lockwood met at new teacher orientation, only Tara had marriage on her mind, and Michael was not the intended groom.

Michael had just returned from a year teaching in Germany when he started as the new 8th grade language arts teacher.

“The first time I saw him I thought he was super cute,” Tara said of that day at teacher orientation in August 2003 when she started her career as the new Westmoor School Librarian. “But I was about to be engaged so he wasn’t even on my radar.”

Both were swept up in the start of the school year and a new teaching job, and the next time they saw each other was at the end of the month when new teachers meet the Board of Education members for dinner. They ended up sitting across from one another.

Michael doesn’t remember the details of the night like Tara does, but they agree his charm and humor, her charisma and energy– and a mutual love for the Cubs – is what attracted them to each other.

“She’s this little attractive ball of energy. It’s her charisma,” said Michael, who sent her an email after the meeting.
“Back in 2003 I think I checked my email once every two weeks or so,” Tara said. She finally saw his email three weeks later. Better late than never, she responded and they agreed to hang out. Tara was with a group a friends at a pub in Lincoln Park, and Mike showed up in a Cubs batting helmet, coming from a playoff game.

“It was the most embarrassing thing in the world. He was wearing a batting helmet,” Tara said.
“Showing up in the batting helmet was kinda like 'take it or leave it, that’s who I am',” Michael retorted.

Apparently Tara didn’t mind the quirkiness of the batting helmet to a first ‘date’. “As soon as we hung out that first time, I broke it off with the other person. I knew that was not supposed to happen and I would just see what was going to happen with Michael.”

Things happened pretty fast. They were engaged in June, 2004, married in 2005 and started a family in 2007.
“This is not a story of me sweeping you off your feet, and stepping in,” Michael insists to Tara as they talk about their District 28 story. “It was good timing on my part.”

Today they are a happy family of six, with four girls, ages 10, 6, 3 and 2. They said they enjoy sharing a profession where they can spend schools breaks as a family and also share professional ideas and resources. Living and working in Northbrook affords them the advantage of being near their children and including them in after-school and community events.

“We feel fortunate that we can live and work in the same town,” Tara said.

They laugh that their love story is teacher orientation folklore. For them, it just happened.

Destiny, you might say.