Mom finds time for work and family and community service

After gallivanting around the globe, Stacie Wilke returned to Carson City, the town where she was born and raised, to raise her own family.

"I traveled the world and ended up marrying a guy from Dayton and moving back home," she said. "I always thought Carson City was a perfect place to raise kids."

Wilke got bit by the traveling bug in high school when she went on a backpacking trip through Europe. She later visited countries such as England, France, Greece, Switzerland and Egypt.

After graduating from Carson High School in 1983 -- what she calls "the Matt Williams year" -- she moved to Flagstaff, Ariz., to pursue a degree in architecture at Northern Arizona University.

She later switched her major to education, then to business and finally received her bachelor's degree in international marketing.

One week after college graduation, she married George Cotsonis of Dayton, whom she had met one summer while home on vacation.

The two made their home in Carson City.

When their first daughter, Athena, now 6, was born, they decided that one of them would stay home with her.

"We didn't want somebody else raising our kids," she said.

He was working as a lifeguard and she was working at the Bonanza Casino. They decided she would continue working and he would stay home.

He stayed with Athena and Alexis, 5, until last year, when he took a job in custodial services at Dayton High School.

"It meant a lot of sacrifices, but it worked out well," she said. "Back then, it wasn't the norm to have your husband stay home so I think it was harder for him than for me."

Wilke now works as general manager of the Horseshoe Club in Carson City, a job that usually requires about 50 to 60 hours per week.

Add to this her trustee position on the Carson City School Board and as the board's representative to the Parks and Recreation Commission, and there isn't much time left.

"It's just like every other mom in America," she said. "It's a juggling act. The dishes may not get done one day and the house might not get vacuumed."

Any free time she has, she spends with her girls.

"You have to be involved with your kids' lives," she said. "You have to know what they're doing -- even at this age."

And she visits their classrooms.

"They're at the age when it's cool to have mom in school," she said. "It's not embarrassing yet. I want to take full advantage of that."


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