Erin Kelly Gaines


After working 29 years at an after-school program in Lake County, Erin was thrilled to land at Roycemore in September of 2018.

Erin grew up in Waukegan, the firstborn of five children. Being the eldest, her main responsibility was to care for her younger siblings. That led to babysitting cousins, close family friends, and children of her parents’ co-workers. Twelve years of her life were spent in Catholic schools. While attending Carmel High School, she took a Child Development class. It made her realize that she wanted to follow a career path that involved children. Thanks to a relative’s recommendation, she was hired to work at the Afterschool Club. She spent more than half of her life with them. Some of the kids she had taken care of came back and worked for her. A few even wound up sending their own children to her program as the years went on.

She married her husband Tom in May of 1999. Upon fully renovating his childhood home here in Evanston, they moved in during the spring of 2018. They are thrilled to be living in the city they both love so much. Erin has 13 nieces and nephews that are the lights of her life. Being an aunt is the greatest thing in the world to her!! When she is not working, you can find her cheering loudly at a Bears game (she’s a season ticket holder), at a concert, or traveling. NYC/Broadway is her favorite place to visit!

Favorite Quote

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show. -Unknown

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. -Dr. Seuss

Throw kindness around like confetti! -Unknown

Enjoy life now… this in not a dress rehearsal. -Unknown

Why do you like working with students? What is the impact you hope to make on students?

Having worked hands-on with children for so many years, I realize how much a person/event can impact them. I strive to leave positive, lasting impressions on the kids I interact with. Sometimes a smile, hello/how are you or a hug can turn a day around. You never know what they might have been dealing with up to that point. My previous company’s motto was: “We make great memories!” I am proud to say that I’ve contributed to many.

Why Roycemore?

I wanted to become part of the Roycemore community as soon as I visited the website. It reminded me, in several ways, of my grade school… even the school colors were the same. Upon meeting the amazing administrators, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I was welcomed with open arms by the staff, faculty, and families form day one. I am beyond grateful to be a part of this wonderful institution!