Laura DeHaan Haske

laura haske teaching Laura DeHaan Haske took a math class from her father, Larry DeHaan, during her days at Elgin High School. He was the pre-calc teacher in the EHS Gifted and Talented Academy. In 2001, Haske was in the school’s first graduating class of academy students. Her studies took her to two different cities, but she made her way back.

She attended Belmont University in Nashville on a full scholarship, half-academic and half-athletic scholarship for tennis, and graduated in three years with a bachelor of arts in English. 

Upon graduating from Belmont, she married Paul Haske, whom she met as an undergraduate, and the two attended law school at Hamline School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in St. Paul, Minn.

Out of law school, Haske woked as a commercial litigator for a large law firm. Now the mother of an 8-year-old son, she determined that the legal fast track was going to be a challenge for the work-life balance she envisioned.

“It’s not sustainable for the kind of life I imagined for myself,” Haske said. 

She and Paul moved from Minnesota to Elgin, got their Illinois law licenses and in 2010 opened Haske & Haske, a firm focusing on real estate law, in downtown Elgin’s Professional Building. They came back to live close to Haske’s parents and siblings. She also started teaching as an ECC adjunct faculty member in 2011 and went full-time two years later.

“Teaching is very rewarding. I love it,” Haske said. “It’s a great way to stay connected to my community, which I’m fond of. … We have the best students, in my opinion.”

Balancing the law firm with her work at ECC, she remains an owner of the firm and assists on an as-needed basis during the school year and more actively during the summer when she’s not teaching.

Her route is perhaps no surprise to her parents Larry and Marcia who both taught in School District U-46, Larry at Elgin and, before that, Streamwood High School and Marcia at Bartlett. Laura Haske has come full circle, with her son enrolled in a Dual Language program in the District. “We love U-46,” Laura said.

“When I think back to the academy, it was a unique experience,” Haske said. “Having this kind of integrated learning with teachers working together. We were encouraged to make learning connections between different subjects. … I feel like I really learned to study at the academy. It prepared me to be a critical thinker, a problem solver. “

She cites a number of her high school teachers, including English teacher Carol Morrison, who “made a big impact on me. I realized what I loved most was language and words and the feelings that words capture. I think law is a good fit. It’s language-based, taking concepts and trying to connect them. And it uses my ability to reason and make connections between different ideas. 

She also singles out Richard Towry, who was “always a big champion of us. He’s one of those teachers, you knew he was focused on you being successful.” 

Haske is working to be like those inspiring teachers to her students. “I want my students to do great things in life and in the law. It’s a privilege to have a part in their story.”