Perspectives

Active Eau Claire Mom Anna Rybicki Puts Legal, Musical, and Community Experience to Work

Name: 

Anna Rybicki

Family:

Husband: Jim; Kids: Ada (11), Henry (9), and Leo (4) – and Trixie, the beta fish

Neighborhood:

Third Ward, Eau Claire 

Background: 

Anna Rybicki arrived in Eau Claire sight unseen eight years ago when her husband, Jim, took a one-year teaching job at UW-Eau Claire. Two young children in tow, the couple was relieved to find that the duplex they had rented on Craigslist actually existed, and they set about building a life in an unfamiliar city. Anna, who held a law degree from the University of Michigan, decided to switch gears. “I was concerned about moving to a smaller city where I knew no one and where it is winter half the time,” she acknowledges. “It seemed like being a stay-at-home-mom would be isolating. But I found it very easy to get involved in Eau Claire.”

Through the Family Resource Center, the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, the Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School, and other organizations, Anna found her niche. Her involvement in the Montessori school’s governing board led her to Initiative for New Directions in Education (INDE), an organization aimed at creating more public charter schools in the Chippewa Valley. With the help of a state grant, INDE and the Mondovi School District have spearheaded the Anthony Acres Charter School, which will open next year.

Anna’s involvement has extended to the Valley’s musical world as well: Among other things, the classically trained soprano sings with the Master Singers, has put down tracks with Davey J, and sung in the 12-member early music group Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire (whose next concerts are Nov. 15 and 17). With her youngest entering school this fall, Anna concluded she wanted to pursue a career that melded her many interests and experiences, and she was hired as executive director of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra. “When this opportunity came up, I could not believe my luck!” she says. “It was exactly what I was looking for.”

Anna with Ada, Henry, and Leo. Not pictured: Trixie, the beta fish
Anna with Ada, Henry, and Leo. Not pictured: Trixie, the beta fish

We love the Chippewa Valley because...

...it has a great combination of small-town friendliness, culture – especially music – and outdoor recreation. I love the trees and hills and rivers here. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

I couldn’t live without...

...my community of other parents I’ve met through church, music, the neighborhood, and Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School.

I make sure to never miss...

...the new Listen concert series on third Thursdays in the fall, winter, and spring. I absolutely love hearing new singer-songwriters. When I lived in Ann Arbor, I volunteered at the storied folk club The Ark, and it was my respite from the stress of law school. When I lived in Cedar Rapids, The Ark was replaced by CSPS, an awesome folk/world music venue in a historic Czech and Slovak dance hall. When I came to Eau Claire, I couldn’t find the folk club... and now we have a pop up one at Banbury each month!

My favorite place to take the kids...

...is Roadside Diner. We can get there on our bikes and sit outside and eat surprisingly local and organic food. And then there’s the ice cream! It is the best.

My family has taught me...

...how to be more flexible. I have always been pretty driven and focused and rigid, and while those things were rewarded while I was a student and a lawyer, it turns out that in my roles as a wife and mom, a different skill set is required. I am continuously trying to learn to relax, be present, and be flexible.

Our typical weekend is...

...some combination of relaxation, chores, family activities on Saturday. On Sunday, Jim goes to work to prep his classes for the week, I take the kids to church, and then Jim comes home in time for me to go to an afternoon Schola Cantorum rehearsal.

In the winter, you’ll find us...

...going to concerts, seeing movies, reading, playing games, and baking.

When the kids are with a sitter, we love to...

...go to a movie and dinner, that order. We used to have a lot more time to watch and talk about movies, but now it takes some planning. We like to watch something new and enjoy a meal while we talk about what we’ve seen.

My kids will tell you that their mom...

...will not get them a dog.

If I could pass on one bit of advice it would be...

...to reach out for help when you need it. Being a parent is hard, whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home parent. People like giving help; they like to be asked. It’s okay to ask for help and share the load.

This was made by