Illinois Park & Recreation Magazine - People and Places
St. Charles Park District Announces New Hires
The St. Charles Park District recently hired Meghan Jourden-Messerich as an Assistant Superintendent of Recreation to oversee Pottawatomie Community Center, Swanson Pool, Miniature Golf, and supervision of seven full-time professionals. Meghan previously worked at the Carol Stream Park District as Recreation Manager and has served the in Illinois Parks and Recreation agencies for nine years. She graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's degree in Travel Tourism Recreation Management and a minor in Business Administration. She is also a certified Medic First Aid Instructor. In addition to being a member of the IPRA Facility Management Committee and IPRA Athletic Committee, Meghan has also been an IPRA Conference Speaker in both 2008 and 2012.
St. Charles Park District also welcomed Melissa Weaver as the new Aquatics, Dance Academy & Athletic Supervisor responsible for Swanson Swimming Pool operation and youth programming. Previously, Melissa was employed as a Recreation Supervisor with Decatur Park District. She is a graduate from Millikin University with a double major in Business Management and Accounting. Melissa has also been a high school Dance Team Coach, competed on the Millikin University Dance Team, and certified with Ellis & Associates lifeguard training.
The Des Plaines Park District Announces the Hiring of Katie Skibbe as the Superintendent of Business
Katie comes to Des Plaines with six years of experience as the assistant finance director for the Village of Buffalo Grove and three years of experience as the accounting manager of the Des Plaines Park District. She received her BS in accounting and her MBA from DePaul University, with a concentration in Real Estate Finance. Katie is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Katie’s responsibilities include managing the park district’s current comprehensive financial position and systems, investment strategy, and budget. She will serve as a member of the administrative leadership team in coordination with the executive director to assist in district-wide visioning; planning; policy and procedure development, including customer service initiatives; safety and risk management; human resources and marketing. She will also review the annual audit and capital improvement plan, and work on the Master Plan, Strategic Plan, and the Community Needs Assessment. Additionally, Katie will supervise a full-time staff of eight.
The DeKalb Park District Names Jason Mangum as New Executive Director
The DeKalb Park District is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason S. Mangum, as the district’s new executive director. Jason is the former parks, recreation and cultural services director for the city of Novi, Michigan. During his employment in Novi, a city which served a residential base of 56,000, he was instrumental in developing or renovating several park properties, leading the department in strategic planning, and was recognized by the Michigan Recreation and Park Association as a leader in innovative recreation programming and marketing. He has presented on several topics, including “The Fun Factor: Connecting People through Play,” ”Unique Partnerships Creating Outdoor Teen Programming Utilizing Zero Agency Dollars,” and “Postcards from the Parks,” both regionally and nationally.
Prior to his tenure with the City of Novi, he was the parks and recreation director for the city of Show Low, Arizona. Jason is a graduate of Arizona State University with an MS in recreation & tourism studies and a BA in communications. He is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) from the National Recreation and Parks Association. Jason has served as a faculty associate at Arizona State University, where he taught several parks and recreation courses. He has also been published in the Arizona Parks and Recreation Magazine.
Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) Announces Staff Promotion and New Hires
Alex (Redenius) Engelhardt, CTRS, MBA has been promoted to position of superintendent of recreation. Alex started with FVSRA as a therapeutic recreation intern in 2006. She has advanced through the organization from therapeutic recreation specialist, support staff coordinator and support staff manager positions. Alex received her BA in leisure, youth and human services with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation from the University of Northern Iowa and completed her MBA with a focus on human resource management from Aurora University.
Ryan Tychsen has been hired as the marketing and design coordinator. Ryan is a graduate from the Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg receiving a BA while majoring in interactive media design. He has worked for the past seven years at Feld Entertainment as their senior manager of digital media working on properties such as Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice. Ryan joins FVSRA with a wide range of experiences including website content management and design, social media management, newsletter management and design, live event marketing and live streaming production.
Jackie Hart has been hired as a CTRS as support staff manager where she will oversee the full time athletics coordinator, part time program leaders and assistants as well as agency volunteers. Prior to arriving at FVSRA, Jackie served for five years at Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) in two different roles, athletics coordinator and support services supervisor. Jackie entered the recreation profession in 2009 after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Illinois University and was selected as SIU’s Rising Star Young Professional in 2013.
West Chicago Park District Announces Two New Staff Members
Lily Garcia is the new marketing and public relations coordinator for the West Chicago Park District. She has over ten years of experience in project management, marketing, event planning and sponsorship procurement. Lily has a background in journalism and a passion for outreach and public relations. Her parks and recreation career started with the Hanover Park Park District. She brings her knowledge and experience to the West Chicago Park District at the perfect time with the launch of a brand new recreation facility along with the advancement of the Park Foundation. Lily is a member of the IPRA Communications & Marketing section.
Brian Kaspar is the new facility manager for the West Chicago Park District. With a brand new recreation facility in the progress, his background in customer service, fitness and facility programming will be key in the planning and daily operations of the center. He has over fifteen years of experience and has previously worked for the Westchester Park District, the Gateway Special Recreation Association and the City of Palos Hills Resource and Recreation Department. Brian is a member of the IPRA Facility Managers Community Center and Fitness sections.
Batavia Park District Announces Two New Staff Members
The Batavia Park District is pleased to announce that Jennifer Bruggeman is the new human resources and risk manager. In this position, Jen assists staff in finding confidence and increasing comfort in the district's changing environment. She helps staff develop and serve as leaders in their individual areas as well as encourages visionary thinking as a part of decision making.
Growing up in the Oswegoland area, she was pleased with all the opportunities that the park district offered to its patrons and staff. She previously worked at the Wheaton Park District in the recreation department for over 5 years, where she was given many leadership development opportunities, which set her up for success in Batavia. Jen has a bachelor’s in recreation program management and commercial recreation from Illinois State University and a master’s in management and organizational behavior from Benedictine University.
The Batavia Park District welcomes Aleks Briedis as director of community recreation. In this new role, Aleks coaches a staff of 6 recreation supervisors to help deliver the highest quality of recreation programs. He builds and maintains relationships throughout the community by collaborating and communicating with individuals, groups and families.
Aleks previously worked as the recreation director for the city of Rifle, Colorado for more than 14 years. He received his bachelor of science in leisure studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. With his experience and passion, he looks forward to enhancing recreation programs, aquatics, facility rentals and special events.
The Urbana Park District Names Tim Bartlett as New Executive Director
Tim Bartlett will take over as Executive Director of the Urbana Park District in May. Tim is the associate director of the Urbana Park District and was recognized at the recent the Mid America Trails and Greenways (MATAG) Conference. Representing the trail interests of seven midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin—MATAG aims to tighten and strengthen the trail building community across America's heartland.
Tim received the Outstanding Advocate award from the State of Illinois for his work as a board member of the Champaign County Design and Conservation Foundation to coordinate the efforts of the Champaign County Forest Preserve and Vermilion County Conservation District to acquire the 24.5 mile CSX railroad line to serve as a bicycle/pedestrian trail between Urbana and Danville. As an adjunct faculty member in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois, he facilitated class projects involving colleagues and students that use the corridor as a learning opportunity and that have resulted in communicating the wider benefits of acquiring and developing the former railroad right of way.
The Urbana Park District Announces the Retirement of Vicki Mayes
Vicki has served as the executive director of the district for 10 years. She has worked in the field of parks and recreation for more than 35 years. Under her leadership, the new Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center was developed and opened. A new efficient and environmentally sensitive planning and operations facility was constructed. Improvements were made in virtually all twenty of the district’s parks and its eight recreation facilities with a focus on citizen involvement in planning, sustainable design, creative playgrounds, natural areas and internal park walking trails.
During her tenure with the Urbana Park District, Vicki has led the district through the current strategic plan, projects leading to the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) Outstanding Park and Facility award for the Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center and the Daniel L. Flaherty award for Park Excellence for Weaver Park from the Great Lakes Park Training Institute. The district also received a Certificate of Achievement of Excellence through the Illinois Joint Distinguished Accreditation program (IAPD/IPRA).
The Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) Names Jim Wiseman as New Executive Director
The Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) Board of Directors has selected Jim Wiseman as its new executive director, beginning June 2. Jim has served as superintendent of recreation for NISRA since 2008. From 2003-2008, Jim was superintendent of recreation for the Northwest Special Recreation Association, returning to the agency where he began his career years earlier as a program specialist. Throughout the 1990s and into 2003, Jim contributed his leadership & management skills to Special Olympics Wisconsin in the roles of director of sports management and director of training & volunteer services.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and is a graduate of Professional Development School. Jim has actively participated in both IPRA and the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association (WPRA). In the therapeutic recreation section of both organizations, he has served in multiple roles including section director, board member and committee chair. The WPRA therapeutic recreation section recognized him as Professional of the Year in 1998. Jim has been a leader in the Rolling Meadows Rotary Club and Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers Rotary Club, and is a NISRA representative to several mental health service organizations in McHenry County.
The Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) Announces the Retirement of Brian Shahinian
Brian Shahinian will retire at the end of June. Brian joined the staff in 1987 as superintendent of recreation and became executive director in 1989. He previously worked for Maine-Niles and Northern Suburban special recreation agencies. Under Brian’s leadership, the association grew from seven to thirteen member districts, allowing hundreds of residents with disabilities to begin enjoying programs. NISRA and its staff were honored twice with the National Gold Medal award and have received numerous other awards. The NISRA Foundation was created and raised over $1 million to fund innovative projects.
Brian has inspired staff to “leave a legacy” and personally pioneered initiatives such as the Independent Angling Project (the Arthur G. Farley wheelchair-accessible fishing pier and pontoon boat, and annual fishing tournament in Wauconda), and the Pepper Family Accessible Treehouse (Illinois’ first of its kind) constructed in Barrington. NRPA, IPRA and IAPD honored both with awards. In 2009, Brian and the
NISRA Board secured permanent office space for the association. Brian spearheaded special recreation projects, worked toward passage of S.B. 1881, and is an ITRS Distinguished Service award recipient.
The Buffalo Grove Park District Announces the Retirement of Dan Schimmel
Dan has served as the Executive Director since 2010. Prior to that, he served as the department head for the recreation and facilities departments. Dan’s professional career spans 38 years, with valuable experiences gained from the St. Charles, Elmhurst, Glenview and Des Plaines Park Districts. He came to Buffalo Grove Park District after serving 5 years as the superintendent of recreation for the Hanover Park Park District.
Notable achievements during his 24 years at the Buffalo Grove Park District include starting the Clubhouse before and after school care program, serving on the management team for the construction of the Buffalo Grove Fitness Center and Buffalo Grove Golf and Sports Center facilities, assisting in the acquisition and development of the new Community Arts Center, and obtaining several grants for park and facility development, including the renovation of Willow Stream Pool, the Crossroads Exhibit at the Raupp Museum, the redevelopment of Kilmer Park, and two grants for the upcoming redevelopment of Willow Stream Park. Schimmel will continue to serve as executive director until December 2014, when the district’s deputy director, Ryan Risinger, will assume the position.
2014 Chairman of the
IAPD Board of Trustees Joe Petry
Joe Petry will serve
as the chairman of the IAPD Board of Trustees in 2014. Joe has been a commissioner
of the Champaign Park District since 2003 and had served as president and
vice-president. He is currently in his second six-year term on the board and is
serving as president. He passionately seeks to promote open space and natural
areas locally and statewide. In addition to his service to the Champaign Park
District, he also served on the Champaign County Design and
Foundation Board. He helped found and volunteered with the Boneyard Creek
Community Day effort.
Joe currently serves
on IAPD’s Board Development committee, Executive committee, Nominating
committee, Joint Coordinating Council and Research Advisory Council. He is a
professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Champaign and received
his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of Illinois. He succeeds Don Anderson of
the Oak Lawn Park District.
Chairman of the IPRA Board of Directors Jan Peterson Hincapie
Hincapie will serve as the Chairman of the IPRA Board of Directors in 2014. A
veteran of the parks and recreation field for over 30 years, she has been the director
of parks and recreation for the Village of Lincolnwood since 2006. During that time, Jan’s department has
secured over $8 million dollars in grant money.
Under Jan’s leadership in Lincolnwood, the department has completed a community
center feasibility study, comprehensive master plan, updated the strategic plan
twice, received accreditation from the American Camping Association, became
accredited as an Illinois Distinguished Agency and was the recipient of two
“Best of the Best” Arts in the Park awards from Illinois Arts Council and IAPD.
Prior to coming to
Lincolnwood Jan served as leisure services director for the Northbrook Park
District, overseeing all recreation programs and communications. She also served as recreation program manager
for the Glenview Park District. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University
of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Jan served as
IPRA’s first intern and has been involved with both the Wisconsin and Illinois associations
during her career. She succeeds Allison Niemela, executive director of the
Batavia Park District.
Lockport Township Announces New Staff
Jared Miller comes to Lockport Township Park District with over 8 years of recreation experience through tenures at the YMCA. Jared has been in Aquatics for over 13 years and has worked his way through various organizations improving operations and increasing revenue at facilities throughout Illinois. Jared received his bachelor's degree from Millikin University and his Masters Degree from the University of Illinois, Springfield.
Stevie Michell is a graduate of the University of St. Francis where she earned a bachelor of arts and sciences degree in Recreation Sport and Tourism Management with a specialization in Public Administration. She has worked in various facets of recreation for the past 11 years and joins Lockport Township Park District from Riverside Parks and Recreation where she specialized in developing early childhood programming and youth development opportunities such as assisting in the development of a successful kindergarten enrichment program. Her role with Lockport Township Park District will include supervising the before/after-school program, teen programming and overseeing various special events.
The Medinah Park
District is Pleased to Announce the Appointment of Kimberly Jay as Recreation
She began her new position in July 2013 and is responsible
for planning and implementing all youth, teen and adult programs. Prior to this employment, Kimberly spent six
years working as an Athletic/Recreation Supervisor in Addison and Worth Park
Kimberly earned a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation,
and a minor in marketing, from Western Illinois University. She is a certified park and recreation
Park District Welcomes New
Park District welcomes Kristin Sowa
as their new accounting manager. In
this role, Kristin will be responsible for a range of accounting duties
including the consistent application of accounting/finance procedures and
internal controls, budgeting and purchasing. She will provide input into the
day-to-day operations, as well as assist with mid to long-range planning. Prior
to this position, Kristin worked as a consultant for
The Mann Group, chief financial officer for Bachrach, and controller for
Millikin University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern
Winnetka Park District
Names Robert Smith as New Executive Director
Winnetka Park District Board of Commissioners appointed Robert Smith as the new
executive director for the Winnetka Park District. He has been with the park district
since 2003 as the superintendent of parks. His in-depth knowledge of all
aspects of the park district’s operations will enable him to hit the ground
his tenure with the park district, Robert has successfully demonstrated his
leadership abilities through staff development, project management, public
outreach and budget preparation, along with operational management of the district’s
to his stint with the Winnetka Park District, Robert served as the superintendent
of parks for the Park District of Franklin Park (2000-2003) and Morton Grove Park District (1990-2000). His parks and
recreation career has spanned over 34 years, getting his start at the
Bensenville Park District as a supervisor of buildings and grounds. Robert has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public
administration from Governors State University. Additionally, he is a certified
parks and recreation professional and certified playground inspector.
District Names Rick Robbins as New Executive Director
Bensenville Park District Board of Commissioners has appointed Rick Robbins
executive director of the Bensenville Park District. Rick has worked in the parks
and recreation field for over 30 years and brings experiences from very
distinct parts of the country to his new position in Bensenville. He most recently served the Collinsville Area
Recreation District for 6 years as their superintendent of recreation, and as interim
executive director during his final year with the district. Prior to Collinsville, Rick spent 17 years as
the supervisor of athletics and fitness services for the Peoria Park District. Rick began his career with the Park District
of Highland Park as their athletic supervisor. Rick
is a graduate of parks and recreation from Southern Illinois University. He brings a great deal of experience and
passion to his new position and is excited to be back in the Chicago
Springfield Park District Names Derek Harms as New
Springfield Park District Board of Trustees has appointed Derek Harms as the executive director of the Springfield Park
District. Derek brings a diverse 14 years of experience in the park and
recreation field to his new position. Throughout his career, he has managed a
wide range of facilities and programs at four park districts located in North
Eastern and Central Illinois. During his tenure, he has been involved with the
vision, funding, and construction phases of several multimillion dollar
projects including a large scale water park, athletic complexes and multiple
earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism administration from
Western Illinois University. Although Harms worked at three different park districts
in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs for several years, he has always considered
Central Illinois his home. In 2007, Harms moved to Springfield to accept the
position of director of recreation at the Springfield Park District and was
later appointed as the district’s interim executive director where he provided
leadership and vision to the agency during a challenging transitional period.
The Hanover Park Park District is proud to welcome Mark
Dolphin as the new Athletic Supervisor
Mark graduated from
Loras College in Iowa in 2010 with a major in sports management and a minor in
business management. Mark interned at the Hanover Park Park District in
2009 and was involved in all aspects of the recreation department.
Prior to his internship he also worked as a concessions manager at Seafari
Springs Aquatic Center. Mark currently lives in Schaumburg and is very
excited to begin his career in the world of Parks and Recreation. He will
be overseeing youth and adult athletics as well as special events and assist
with aquatic services.
St. Charles Park District Promotes Jeff Greenwald to
Superintendent of Recreation Position
The St. Charles Park Board of
Commissioners welcomes Jeff Greenwald as the new superintendent of recreation. In
his new role, Jeff will oversee all aspects of the District’s recreation
department, aquatic facilities and miniature golf.
Jeff has worked with the St. Charles
Park District in a full-time capacity since 1993, starting as a facility
manager of a sports center. In 1995, he expanded his duties to include the
management of River View Miniature Golf Course. In 2000, he became an assistant
superintendent of recreation overseeing the management of the Pottawatomie
Community Center including open gym, fitness and birthday parties, STC
Underground Teen Center, the Adult Activity Center, Baker Station After School
Program, family activities, summer concert series and many special events and
Most recently, he directed two
significant renovations, the courtyard near the miniature golf course in
Pottawatomie Park and Pottawatomie Community Center’s main customer service
desk. He is a certified parks and recreation professional and holds a
bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.
Park District Hires New Fitness Supervisor
Alyssa Danca has been selected as
the new fitness supervisor for the Schaumburg Park District. Danca
journeys into the parks and recreation field after four years with
HealthFitness, a provider of health management solutions for large companies.
She also has taught group exercise classes and was a personal trainer at other
park districts and fitness centers.
professionally certified as a personal trainer through the National Academy of
Sports Medicine (NASM) and primary group exercise instructor through the
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Her additional instructor certifications
include ZUMBA, Balletone, Les Mills BODYPUMP and Schwinn Indoor Cycling.
born and raised in Elk Grove Village, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology
from Illinois State University in 2009.
Morton Grove Park
District Welcomes New Staff
The Morton Grove Park District is pleased to announce the
appointment of Martin O’Brien to the position of finance manager. Prior
to his appointment, Martin has worked in the finance department of the
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. During his
twenty year tenure, he has worked in many different areas including budgeting,
payroll, accounts payable and auditing. He has a bachelor of science
in accounting from Roosevelt University and is a certified public accountant.
LeeAnn Fisk has been named superintendent of recreation for
the Morton Grove Park District. She has served Illinois park and recreation
agencies for over 25 years in several capacities. She previously worked at the
Village of Palos Park as director of parks and recreation and the Homewood
–Flossmoor Park District as facility manager. In addition she has held
supervisory roles for the Village of Orland Park Recreation Department, Lemont
Park District and the Joliet Park District. LeeAnn helped redefine the
Palos Park recreation department, implemented community wide programs and
events and co-authored the IPRA Guide to Internships, giving agencies a tool to
implement a program for student and agency success. LeeAnn carries a bachelors
of recreation administration from the University of St. Francis.
The Morton Grove Park
District is pleased to announce the hiring of three new Recreation Supervisors.
Stacy Lafortune graduated from Western Illinois University
with a degree in recreation, park and tourism. She comes from the Park District
of Forest Park where she held the
position of superintendent of recreation handling aquatics, adult athletics programs,
special events, safety, Teen Camp programs, trips and fitness. Stacy is now
responsible for: dance, music, birthday parties,
day cCamps, trips, community outreach and some special events at Morton Grove.
Dan Parker attended the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and
graduated with a bachelor of science in sports and fitness management. He comes
to us from Racine Youth Sports, where he was the sports programs manager.
Racine Youth Sports is an organization that services over 3,000 kids in 4
different sports. Dan now manages all youth and adult athletic programs and
some special events at Morton Grove.
Kari Redmond received a bachelor of science degree in recreation,
parks, tourism and administration from Western Illinois University. Prior to
coming to Morton Grove, she worked at the Wheeling Park District for 12 years
(8 years part time and 4 years full time). At the Morton Grove Park District,
Kari oversees aquatics, special events, teen and adult programs.
Mt. Prospect Park
District announces that Barry Kurcz has been selected as Director of Business Services and Human Resources
Charged with recommending and administering policies and
procedures for the sound operation of the district’s business, Kurcz oversees human
resources; financial procedures, processes and purchasing; inventory controls;
budget; registration and the management of information systems and
Kurcz previously served as director of
human resources for the City of Waukegan and the Village of Glenview. He holds
an MBA in human resource management from Dominican University and bachelor’s
degree in human resource administration and union management relations from the
University of Illinois, Chicago.
Lincolnway Special Recreation
Association (LWSRA) names Keith Wallace New Executive Director
Keith has served as the agency's superintendent of recreation for the past
seven years. As superintendent, he has been on the forefront of change for the
agency. Keith states that working for agencies such as Northern Suburban
Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
(RIC) have given him his knowledge, vision, and passion.
Keith earned a bachelor of science in leisure studies with an emphasis
in therapeutic recreation from Grambling State University in Louisiana. Keith is an active member of IPRA, is currently the out-going director and the
incoming membership council representative for the Diversity Section. He is
also a member of the therapeutic recreation section. Nationally, he is a member
of NRPA, National Wheelchair Basketball Association and National Wheelchair
Special Recreation Executive Director Retires
Special Recreation Association announces the retirement of Lana Graser as its executive
director. Lana held that position for over 15 years. Prior that she
served on the LWSRA board for 10 years. She was member of several
committees and was a driving force in the growth and development of LWSRA.
During her tenure she, with the LWSRA Board, developed a building fund and
pursued, and won, a $2.5 million PARC grant to build an LWSRA facility. The
LWSRA dream of a totally accessible recreation center will become a reality in
the spring of 2014.
Park District promoted Taylor Pahos to Supervisor of Recreation and Visual Arts
at Park Center
Pahos, who has worked for the Park
District since 2006 as birthday party coordinator, will now oversee all Park
District visual arts programs, Park Center birthday parties, select special
events and summer camps.
Pahos is a DePaul University
graduate and is currently working toward her master’s degree, also at
DePaul. She is also an artist who has studied at the Art Institute of
Chicago. Joe Pollina, manager of program services, said, "Her proven
experience, her education, and her passion for the visual arts will ensure our
customers continue to experience the highest quality events and programs.”
Forest Preserve District of
DuPage County is pleased to announce that Arnold Biondohas recently
been appointed by the Board of Commissioners as its next Executive Director.
Arnold is an experienced parks and recreation
management executive, having served 18 years in his most recent role
as executive director of the Carol Stream Park District. During his tenure, the Park District has won several accreditation
and recognition awards, including one for excellence in financial reporting;
and Arnold led the development of seven additional park sites totaling a
30 percent increase in territory.Arnold has formed and nurtured relationships with other park
districts, forest preserves, IDOT, schools, and other key stakeholders
throughout his career - work that will transfer seamlessly to this role with
the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Throughout his career in
parks and recreation management,Arnold has held other similar positions
in the Wheeling, Wheaton and Oakbrook Terrace Park Districts. He earned a
bachelor of science inrecreation and park management at the University of
Oregon; and a master of arts in service marketing and management at DePaul
University. Mr. Biondo also serves as co-chair of the Joint Editorial Committee
for IAPD and IPRA.
DeLuce named Champaign Park
District Executive Director
The Champaign Park District Board of Commissioners has appointed Joe DeLuce executive
director of the Champaign Park District effective January 1, 2014. Mr. DeLuce
will succeed Bobbie Herakovich who is retiring after serving the Park District
for twelve years.
Mr. DeLuce brings over 33 years of experience in parks and recreation to his
new position. He has worked for the Champaign Park District for the past 16
years as the Director of Recreation and as Deputy Director since September.
DeLuce previously was Executive Director of the Macon County Georgia Sports
Commission and Director of Parks and Recreation in Hallandale Florida. Prior to
Hallandale, DeLuce was the Parks and Recreation Superintendent in Broward
County, where he managed three regional parks and nine community parks. He
began his career in his hometown of Toronto, Ohio after graduating from Kent
State University in Parks and Recreation. DeLuce also received a Master’s
Degree from the University of Illinois in Parks and Recreation Administration.
River Trails Park District
Announces Retirement of Debbie Kudla
During the past 30 years,
Debbie Carlson Kudla has been the executive director of the River Trails Park
District. Debbie has been a visionary in parks and recreation since 1975. She led the agency to a successful referendum
in 2000 to prevent the loss of tax revenues which resulted in several needed
updates on current facilities and continued strong support and praise from the
community. During her reign, property ownership has increased and all parks and
playgrounds have been redeveloped to current standards and in 1997 earned an
Award of Excellence from the State of Illinois for one of the parks.
Since Debbie joined the
district, the agency experienced the building of a golf driving range, a 24,000
sq. foot community center, complete renovation of the pool facility, purchase
of new administration offices, renovation of an existing building into a 2nd
community center, purchase of a golf course and then building a new
clubhouse/banquet facility and the development of a skate park. She has also
served as Great Lakes Regional Council for NRPA, IPRA President, Board Member
and Co-Chairperson of the Joint Publications Committee. Additionally, Debbie
was chosen to receive the 2007 Robert Artz Award.
Park District names new Superintendent of Finance and Personnel
Bourbonnais Township Park District announced today that Paula Rogers has been
named the new superintendent of finance and personnel. Mrs. Rogers has over
twenty years of experience in accounting and administration. She will be
responsible for a variety of functions which include financial reporting,
accounting, payroll, employee benefits, human resources, information
technology, office services and risk management functions. Mrs. Rogers brings an impressive work history
to the table with most recently being employed by ABM Engineering Services as finance
manager. Mrs. Rogers has a MBA and bachelors degree in business administration
from Governors State University.
Arlington Heights Announces New Staff
Alann Petersen – Director of Parks
started at AHPD in July as the Director of Parks and Planning. Alann comes with years of great experience in
the private sector and with the Elk Grove Park District, where he served as a
Park Planner and then was promoted to Director of Parks and Planning. As a student of
Iowa State University, Alann studied Landscape Architecture and currently
resides in Carol Stream, Illinois. Anthony Meneghini – Website Content Specialist
With proficiency in MAC and PC environments, as well as technical skills
in programs such as Dreamweaver, After Effects, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Adobe
experience comes from working as a web master and tech specialist with
Community Consolidated School District 181 in Burr Ridge. He joined AHPD in
May, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Multimedia & Wed Design and a
certificate in Motion Graphics from the Illinois Institute of Art. Colleen McCarty – Park Planner I
When taking on her new position in June, Colleen was most excited to
assist with the design of the new dog park, as she has two dogs of her
own. Colleen’s experience comes from her
undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois
and as the Assistant Park Planner of the Elmhurst Park District. In her free
time Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband, playing volleyball, and is
a certified scuba diver. John Giannetti – Fleet Supervisor
Prior to his position as Fleet Service Manager John served as a mechanic
at the Arlington Heights Park District and was promoted in October 2012, to
Fleet Supervisor . John’s previous
experience comes from his Fleet Supervisor position at the Northbrook Park
District as well as serving in the United States Air Force. Lindsey Robertson – Recreation
Community Center Supervisor
spent the summer getting to know her aquatics staff after starting as
Recreation Community Center’s Supervisor in June. Lindsey was a part of AHPD’s
part time staff in 2005, and took a full time position as the Membership and
Community Development Specialist for Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, prior to
returning to AHPD. Born and raised a
huge Blackhawks fan, Lindsey enjoys going to games with her Dad who has held
season tickets since the 1970s. Megann Panek – Senior Center
could sign up for any AHPD program it would be group guitar classes. She plays the piano and sings, as well as
travels all over the country to go to concerts with her husband. Megann comes from the Glenview Park District
where she was the Senior Center Director, and is a graduate of University of
Illinois with a degree in community health.
Megann started at the Arlington Heights Senior Center in June, and was
eager to meet her staff, and residents. Paul Ratacyzk – Athletics Supervisor
recently promoted to Athletics Supervisor after serving as Recreation
Supervisor at Frontier Park Community Center since 2004 with the Arlington
Heights Park District. His involvement
with AHPD athletics began two years ago while assisting with the Arlington Aces
Soccer scheduling and payroll. Being
born and raised in Wisconsin, Paul enjoys bike riding, and sports, especially
football. He cheers on the Greenbay
Packers and was named AHPD Fantasy Football Champion in 2012. Stacey Vanenkenvort – CAP &
While at the
Geneva Park District, Stacey received the Young Professional of the Year Award
from the Illinois Association of Park Districts. As a Recreation Supervisor, Stacey was
responsible for Geneva’s Before and After School Program, Camps, School Days
Off, Preschool, and Special Events. Stacey
continues to be influenced by her Dad who told her to always strive for your
personal best, work hard, and appreciate the people around you. Stacey brought these attributes to the
Arlington Heights Park District in December of 2012, and applies them to her
current role as the Children At Play (CAP) and Fitness Supervisor. Nick Wirth – Frontier Community
graduate of Iowa State University, Nick studied Sports and Recreation
Management, and comes to AHPD from Customer Service of the Hoffman Estates Park
District. He started at AHPD in June, around the same time his facility was
under major renovations. When not
working, Nick enjoys cheering on the Chicago Cubs and playing baseball for the
Midwest Suburban Baseball League.
Itasca Announces new Curator for the Depot Museum and Superintendent of Finance, Personnel and IT
Angela Houghton has been hired as the Museum Curator
for the 140-year old Itasca Historical Depot Museum. The depot has recently
undergone a major renovation to restore the Train Depot to its original look
and will be opening in September. Angela has an M.A. in Museum Studies from
University of Leicester, England and B.S. in Anthropology and Sociology from
Iowa State University. Angela has worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright
Preservation Trust and the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace and Windsor
Castle in England.
The Itasca Park District welcomes Christine Kelly,
Superintendent of Finance, Personnel & IT.
Christine has a B.S. in Business Administration from
Fontbonne University, St. Louis, MO.
She worked at Prospect Heights Park District as a Business
Analyst/IT Manager. She also has corporate
Experience in Business Development.
The Des Plaines Park District is
pleased to announce the hiring of Chris Leiner as Assistant Superintendent of
Parks and Planning,
Leiner comes to Des Plaines with twelve years of experience as the Revenue
Facilities Maintenance and Operations Manager for the Park District of Oak
responsibilities include managing the full time and seasonal park staff as well
as planning and overseeing the maintenance, repair and upkeep of all park
district facilities, parks, ball fields, golf courses, and pools, to ensure
they are functioning according to District standards. "Leiner is perfectly suited to step into this
position because of his strong background coordinating the needs of different Park District
departments, along with his risk management experience, his expertise in systems
and operations, and the training of facility maintenance staff,” said
Paul Cathey, Superintendent of Parks and Planning. "His years managing the
maintenance of revenue generating facilities, and developing and implementing quality
control practices make him a perfect fit here in Des Plaines.”
Desiree van Thorre Promoted to human resources & risk manager
The Des Plaines Park
District announced today that Desiree van Thorre has been promoted to the position
of Human Resources and Risk Manager, effective September 30. Van Thorre
graduated from Purdue University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in
Management and an Associate of Science Degree in Technology, with minors in
Organizational Behavior/Human Resources and Psychology.She began her
career at the Des Plaines Park District as the Aquatics and Youth Programs Supervisor
with over five years of on-the-job experience at the Park Ridge Park District. Since March of 2011, she has managed Iroquois and
Chippewa neighborhood pools and Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center during the
summer, overseeing a staff of 200.
Holly Cabel has been named director of
parks and recreation for the St. Charles Park District.
Cabel has served as the
District’s superintendent of recreation for eight years, assistant superintendent
of recreation for five years and a recreation supervisor the previous four
As Superintendent of Recreation,
Cabel’s responsibilities included management of the recreation budget, which includes
1,500 annual programs and a multitude of services at Pottawatomie Community
Center, Otter Cove Aquatic Park, Swanson Swimming Pool, River View Miniature
Golf Course and the STC Underground Teen Center.
Cabel has been directly involved in
the District’s facility and park improvement projects, most recently the
construction and grand openings of Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Hickory Knolls
Discovery Center and the renovation of Swanson Swimming Pool in 2011.
Cabel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
in elementary education from the University of Iowa in 1992. She is in the
process of acquiring a Masters in Public Administration.
Decatur Park District
Announces Director of Operations
The Decatur Park District
is pleased to announce the promotion of Ryan Raleigh to director of operations.
During his 11-year tenure at the Decatur Park District, Ryan has served as risk
manager and human resources manager. Prior to these roles, he was corporate
safety manager at K’s Merchandise (Decatur, IL) shared safety coordinator at
Bloomingdale, Itasca, Wood Dale, and Medinah Park Districts, and loss control
consultant at Loss Control Services (Davenport, IA). He holds a bachelor’s
degree in occupational safety from Illinois State University and serves as
chairperson of the PDRMA claims committee and member of the PDRMA risk
management committee. In his new position, Ryan will oversee the Park District’s
maintenance, construction, electrical, fleet, safety and horticulture staffs.
Champaign Park District Executive Director
The Champaign Park District announces the
retirement of Bobbie Herakovich, as its executive director. Bobbie has served
as executive director for the last 12 years.
Achievements by the
Champaign Park District under Herakovich’s leadership include building a new
Sholem Aquatic Center, renovating the historic Virginia Theatre, development of
five new parks, construction of 15 miles of trails, restoration of over 35 acres
of prairie, and success in many programs that promote fun and healthy
lifestyles. The Champaign Parks Foundation was also created and has helped to
add to the quality of life of Champaign residents, neighborhoods, and the city
through generous donors. Bobbie has worked in local
government for over 39 years throughout her career.
Winnetka Park District Announces Retirement of Dr.
Terry G. Schwartz
the past four years, the Winnetka Park District has been fortunate to be guided
by the professional leadership of executive director, Dr. Terry G. Schwartz;
therefore it is with sadness that the Board of Commissioners announces his
his tenure at the Winnetka Park District he has led the District through
agency-wide business plans, the current strategic plan, Gold LEED Certified
Parks Service Center completion, Intergovernmental Cooperation Award with the
Village of Winnetka through the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD),
Parks Service Center Outstanding Facility and Parks Award from the Illinois
Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA), IPRA/IAPD Distinguished Accredited
Agency Award and more.
has recently been elected into the
American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA). Terry
has also served as director of the Glen Ellyn Park District and the South
Barrington Park District, revenue facilities superintendent of the Arlington
Heights Park District and superintendent of recreation for the Champaign Park
Donald W. Burns age 78 late of
Tinley Park, IL formerly of Oak Forest, IL and Chicago "East Side". Korean War
Veteran. Don retired from Local 17, and from the Oak Forest Police Dept. He was
very active in the Oak Forest Community, serving as an elected official on the
Park District, director of the Park District, vice president of the Oak Forest
Baseball Association, founding member of Oak Forest Flag Football League, president
of the Gingerwood Homeowner Association, alderman of the 3rd Ward in Oak Forest
for 8 years, served on the Executive Board of Illinois Association Park
Districts in 1991. Don also volunteered countless hours as a coach for a
variety of sports, member of St. Damian Men's Club, and a member of the Mason
David James (Jim) Brademas, Ph.D., 83 passed away on August
19, 2013. After the Navy, Jim spent the next five years at the University of
Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s
degree in 1955, both in recreation, sport and tourism management.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1956, he was
appointed the first superintendent of recreation for the Rockford, IL Park
District. He returned to the University of Illinois as a doctoral student,
earning his Ph.D. in recreation management in 1976. He stayed at the University
and taught for 26 years. In 1982, he was elected as a member of the American
Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. In 2005, he was selected as one
of the American Academy Legends for having made outstanding contributions to
the field of Parks and Recreation. Jim was honored with the Charles K.
Brightbill Alumnus Award in 2010 for his scholarship and leadership in Parks
Grove Park District is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Curcio as the
director of parks and planning.
been the superintendent of parks and facilities for the Elk Grove Park District
since 2011. He has a bachelor of science
degree in recreation administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1997
and his masters of public administration from Roosevelt University in 2002. His
previous work in the field of recreation includes superintendant of parks and facilities
at Barrington Park District and the director of operations at Lake Barrington
Park District of Oak Park Announces Staff Changes
Mitch Bowlin has been named the new Finance Manager
for the Park District of Oak Park. Mitch started his career at IPRA in
2010, and is now returning to Parks and Recreation after a brief stint in the
private sector. Mitch has been tasked with cash handling, book keeping,
financial reporting, overseeing payroll and payables, along with aiding in the
budget and audit processes.
Mitch graduated with an MBA in Finance from North Central
College in 2013.
Kyle Cratty joined the Park District of Oak Park in
2010 serving as the Finance Manager. In that role, Kyle managed the
day-to-day financial activities for the Park District including general ledger
maintenance, investing, and oversight of accounts payable and payroll. In
May of 2013, Kyle was promoted to the Director of Finance where he is
responsible for annual budget, audit, and tax levy. Kyle is a graduate of
St. Ambrose University with bachelor degrees in Economics and Finance and
Northern Illinois University with a Master’s in Public
Maureen McCarthy has been named Superintendent of
Recreation for the Park District of Oak Park. Maureen’s responsibilities
include administrative planning and management of the overall operation of the
recreation department. Including sports, fitness, childcare, day camp,
family activities, teens and more. Maureen has spent the last 23 years
working for YMCA’s in Florida, Wisconsin and the Chicago land area. Most
recently she was the Senior Executive Director of programming for the YMCA of
Metropolitan Chicago and prior to that the Executive Director of the Elmhurst
Mike Mockler has been named Program Supervisor-Sports
for the Park District of Oak Park. Mike's responsibilities will include youth
and adult athletic programming including leagues, classes, and camps. Most
recently, he was the Athletic Supervisor at the Itasca Park District and prior
to that, he was the Youth Athletics Coordinator for the Park District of Oak
Park. Mike is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor
degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
Announces Selection of the Next Executive Director
The Des Plaines Park District has
announced the selection of their next Executive Director by the Park Board of
Commissioners. Mr. Don Miletic, the current Superintendent of Business &
Golf Operations, was appointed to a newly created position of Assistant
Executive Director at the Park Board meeting on June 18. "The Park Board has
taken a proactive approach to the succession process, which is clearly in the
best interest of the District. We are very pleased that Mr. Miletic has
accepted the new position, and we’re confident that this will provide the
District with the consistently fine leadership we have all come to expect,”
said Park Board President Joe Weber.
IN MEMORIAM: RALPH
Cianchetti, 87, US Army WII Purple Heart
veteran, former board member of Highland Park District and former board member
NE Illinois Agency of Aging, passed away peacefully June 25, 2013.
Beloved husband of the late
Barbara Cianchetti (nee Harris); loving father
of Carrie Cianchetti of Oakland, CA and Angela
(Len) Krietz of Chicago; proud grandfather of Michelle (Don) McKinney and Eric
and Daniel Krietz; dear brother of Sam (Marilyn) Cianchetti.
was a Highland Park High School English teacher, golf coach, faculty advisor to
the yearbook, past president of the Illinois Association of Park Districts,
former trustee (9years) of the National Recreation and Park Association, in
addition to being heavily involved with the State of IL Commission on Aging and
the Holiday Meals on Wheels program. Ralph will be dearly missed.
Geneva Park District Announces Staff Additions and Promotions
Nicole Vickers (promoted)
Nicole Vickers is the new
Superintendent of Recreation for the Geneva Park District. As
Superintendent, Nicole oversees all aspects of the recreation department,
facilities and marketing department.
Nicole started at the Geneva Park District in 2004 as the Aquatic/Recreation
Coordinator and in 2008 was promoted to Facility Manager.
Mike Younie (new
Mike Younie joined Geneva
Park District in May 2013, as the new Director of Facilities. He is
responsible for the planning, coordination and supervision of Sunset Community
Center, Sunset Racquetball and Fitness Center, Stephen D. Persinger Recreation
Center and Sunset Pool. Mike previously worked for Fox Valley Special
Recreation Association as their Senior Manager and has 10 years of experience
in park and recreation field.
Matt Netrefa (promoted)
Matt Netrefa joined the
Geneva Park District in 2008 and previously held the position of Recreation
Coordinator and has since worked with their before/after school program, summer
camps, birthday parties and teen programs. In 2013, he was promoted to
Recreation Supervisor, where he is responsible for supervising the before/after
school program, pre-school, camps, birthday parties, teen programs, and summer
Jan Parcell (new
Jan Parcell joined Geneva
Park District in August of 2008 as a site coordinator for the new
before-and-after school program. In 2010, she developed and supervised the
KinderZone program, a before-and-after school program designed specifically for
the Kindergarten student. In February of 2013, Jan became the Recreation
Coordinator. As a Recreation Coordinator she is responsible for supervising all
before-and-after school programs, summer camp, and various other events.
Medinah Park District announces the retirement of Tom Connolly, CPRP, as its
During his tenure of
more than 20 years, the Park District acquired 35 acres of open space through
donations and grants, completed a 5 acre wetland restoration using a developer
mitigation grant, added new facilities and amenities to the park system,
renovated and expanded its recreation center and increased program and service
holds BS and MS degrees from Indiana University. Beginning in 1973, he worked for the Cary Park
District, the Peoria Association for People with Disabilities, the Northeast
DuPage Special Recreation Association, and the South Suburban Special
Recreation Association, prior to joining the Medinah Park District in 1992. From 1985 to 1990, he served as a freelance
writer/photographer/consultant for more than 25 park districts, school
districts, special recreation associations, and non-profit organizations.
active professional, Tom was president of the Special Recreation Associations
of Northern Illinois (SRANI), served on the ITRS Board of Directors, chaired
the IPRA Awards & Recognitions Committee, and served as a member of the
NEDSRA Board of Trustees for over 20 years.
Glen Ellyn Park District
announces new Facility Manager and Aquatic & Fitness Facility Supervisor
The Glen Ellyn Park District Welcomes Sean Nelson as its New Facility
He will be overseeing Ackerman
Sports & Fitness Center and Sunset Pool. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts
with a concentration in Marketing and Public Relations from Louisiana State
University. For the past 14 years, he has worked at YMCAs in DuPage and McHenry
counties, including B.R. Ryall in Glen Ellyn. His most recent position was with
the Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake as Executive Director, where he managed more than
100 full and part-time staff while coordinating a $19 million capital campaign
to build a new facility.
Anne Bennett has Been Hired as Aquatic & Fitness Facility
Assisting Nelson in the management
of Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center and Sunset Pool is a lifelong Glen
Ellyn resident, Anne Bennett. Her experience at GEPD began as a summer
lifeguard and swim instructor in high school and college. She went on to earn a
degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Illinois State University.
While a student, she interned at GEPD. She has held supervisory positions in
aquatics and facilities at Barlett, Itasca and Roselle park districts, hiring,
training and managing staff, swim lessons, concessions, rentals and parties. In
addition to assisting at Ackerman, Bennett will oversee Sunset Pool during the
Oakbrook Terrace Park District Welcomes New Recreation
The Oakbrook Terrace Park District
has named, Hannah Boehm, as the Recreation Supervisor. Hannah is a 2011 graduate from Illinois State
University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and
Park Administration. She is responsible
for the Before & After School Program, Day Camps, Adult Athletics, Special
Events and programming for Youth, Teens, and Adults. Hannah is a resident of Homewood,
Itasca Park District
Welcomes New Recreation Supervisor
Katie Mendez is the Itasca Park District’s new Recreation
Supervisor. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from
Illinois State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Resort &
Hospitality Management from Florida Gulf Coast University.
of McHenry County Conservation District Elected Vice Chair of
Regional Conservation Alliance
Chicago, IL—The Chicago Wilderness alliance announced today that
Elizabeth S. Kessler, Executive Director of the McHenry County Conservation
District, has been elected as its new Vice Chair. Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance of
more than 300 organizations working to protect land, water and wildlife in our
In her role as
Vice Chair, Kessler will work with conservation, government and corporate
leaders to develop and guide regional conservation initiatives. She has been
active in the Chicago Wilderness alliance since 2006.
currently a member of the American Academy for Park & Recreation
Administrators and Ex-Officio Director of the McHenry County Conservation
Foundation. Kessler holds an MBA with distinction from the Keller
Graduate School of Management and is a certified park and recreation
Charles Park District Board of Commissioners Welcomes Brian Charles
Charles resident Brian Charles was
elected to the St. Charles Park District Board of Commissioners. Charles
manages manage Dell’s Mobility Solutions practice in the Americas, providing
mobile application-engineering and business-consulting technology services to
large enterprise customers.
are elected to four-year terms. This governing body is responsible for, among
other things, passing ordinances, adopting the budget, appointing committees,
and hiring the Park District Executive Director.
Wood Dale Park District
Announces New Executive Director
Ellmann has been named executive director of the Wood Dale Park District. As executive
director, Matthew will lead the agency through strategic planning for the
future while managing the day to day operations. Most recently, Matthew
was the superintendent of recreation with the Park District of Oak Park serving
in that capacity for over 8 years and leading the reorganization process of the
Recreation Department. Prior to Oak Park, Matt was the executive director
of the Park District of LaGrange and before that, the Warrenville Park
District. Matt received his bachelor’s degree from George Williams
College in Leisure Education Recreation Administration. Matt is
passionate about people and the profession.
District Announces Two Staff Changes
Rita Kruse was Announced
as the Director of Finance
The Batavia Park District recently ended an extensive
search for a new Director of Finance after the position was vacated in
November. The position is crucial to the park district due to its role with
budgeting, tax levies and payroll, and therefore, the task of finding a
replacement was not taken lightly.
Executive Director Allison Niemela announced that Rita
Kruse of Aurora had accepted the position. Kruse comes from the Village of Addison as the Assistant
Finance Director. Prior to that, she held a position as an Accounting Manager
with the Village of Downers Grove. Government experience was crucial in the
selection of a new Director of Finance for the park district. With nearly 10
years of experience in government finance and a strong financial background,
Kruse was an ideal fit.Kruse is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Master’s
Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Kari Miller was Promoted
to Director of Marketing and Public Relations
She oversees the marketing and public relations
department consisting of seven employees. Additional responsibilities include
being the webmaster for the district and developing and maintaining
comprehensive marketing plans and promotions for all recreation programs,
special events, the Depot Museum and the Hall Quarry Beach. She is in charge of
the District’s communications including publications, email blasts, video
productions, social media and public relations campaigns.
Miller joined the Batavia Park District in 2008 and holds
a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University with a major in
communications and has nine years of public relations experience. Miller was
promoted by Allison Niemela, the former Director of Marketing and Public
Relations who recently was promoted to Executive Director. The promotion will
be a smooth transition for the district. "Kari is one of the fastest rising
stars I’ve encountered, always looking out for the best interest of the
District,” said Niemela. "She is very talented and deserving of this
Arlington Heights Park District Announces Retirements
Huckstadt, Director of Park and Planning retires from Arlington Heights Park
has been a dedicated employee for seventeen years, beginning April 1, 1996.
He will be retiring June 28, 2013. During his tenure, Brian managed
a full-time staff of 44 and 35 part-time staff, overseeing 58 parks totaling
715.98 acres and was instrumental in administering capital projects of over $50
million and overseeing $5,647,000 in local, state and federal grant money for
the District. Brian was a pivotal member of the Memorial Park Drive to
Revive Committee dedicated to redesigning and reconstructing a central plaza to
honor the sacrifice of veterans. Additionally, Brian forged partnerships
with the Villages of Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect and many
others. His broad base of experiences, exceptional administrative
abilities and commitment to maintaining high standards of professionalism to
the District and the community will be missed. The Arlington Heights Park
District thanks Brian and wishes him and his family the best for their future.
Robert E. Smith has served as a commissioner of the Arlington Heights
Park District for sixteen years, and served with distinction as President of
the Board of Commissioners for two terms and as Vice-President for two terms.
He has been active in the advancement of parks and recreation on a state
level by serving in 2004 as sergeant-at-arms and in 2005 as trustee on the
Illinois Association of Park Districts’ (IAPD) Board of Trustees. During
his tenure, he was instrumental in the District acquiring over 19 acres of land
valued at $7,450,000 - and over $5,647,000 in local, state, and federal grant
money for the District. He was a founder of the Arlington Heights Park
Foundation and served on its board until 2003.
Robert L. Whisler served as a commissioner of the Arlington Heights
Park District for thirteen years,and served with distinction as President of
the Board of Commissioners for three terms. His expertise in the area of
business and real estate assisted staff in the purchase of numerous properties
for the expansion of District parks and/or operations. A life-long
resident of Arlington Heights, Whisler also played an active role as a member
of the Arlington Heights Rotary Club, president of the Arlington Baseball
Boosters, and coach for over 20 years of the Arlington Heights American Legion
Glencoe Park District Welcomes New
The Glencoe Park District is
pleased to announce that Lisa Sheppard has been hired as the new executive director.
With a comprehensive professional background and positive energy, she is a great
addition to the Park District family.
Lisa comes to Glencoe with over
20 years of experience in the field of parks and recreation. She holds a
bachelor’s degree in recreation management from Carthage College. Her work resume
is extensive, with experience in all
major disciplines of the district including recreation, facility and parks
management, public relations, marketing, and fiscal management. Lisa
spent the past 15 years as Superintendent of Recreation at the Gurnee Park
District. In addition to her broad work experience, Lisa is an active
professional in the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).
Vernon Hills Park District Announces New Hires
Jessica Mitchell, Administrative Assistant
Jessica graduated from Northwood University of Midland,
Michigan in May 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a
major focus in Sport, Entertainment, and Promotion Management. She was employed
by the Waukegan Park District from June 2008 to March 2013 as a Recreation
Specialist for Adult Programs and Services. Jessica joined the Vernon Hills
Park District’s Administrative team in March, 2013.
Randy Kopeloff, IT Coordinator
Randy is pursuing his Associates in Science degree at Oakton
Community College. He has worked at the YMCA previously for 8 years (in various
positions such as camp counselor, front desk, and child care) with the past 3
years working directly with technology (network management, website, and
database management . Randy joined the Vernon Hills Park District
in the new position of IT Coordinator in January, 2013.
Matt LaPorte, Lakeview
Fitness Center Facility Supervisor
Matt has a BS in Recreation Management and Policy from the
University of New Hampsire. Matt’s career has been focused in general and
therapeutic recreation. He has supported outdoor recreation programs for
persons with disabilities in addition to being the Sports Director for a local
YMCA in Boston, MA. He was the Recreation Coordinator for the City of
Greenwood Village, CO, and in 2007, became the Erie Parks and Recreation’s
first General Programs Coordinator, overseeing youth and family programming,
outdoor adventure programs, and camps. Matt accepted the position with the
Vernon Hills Park District because he was ready to grow in a new direction
within the recreation field. The timing to join the Park District was
perfect for him and his family to move to Illinois.
Shaw has been appointed to the position of director of
recreation for the Calumet Park Recreation Department.
began working for the Department in 2007, specializing in outdoor maintenance
and gradually rising to the rank of recreation supervisor in 2010. From that
point on, Jonathan began to understand and appreciate the positive effects the
parks and recreation experience had upon the participants of the Department’s
programs and the people of Calumet
Park. As director,
Jonathan will lead the Department with policy construction, youth development,
and the overhaul of the Department’s programming and operations. Jonathan is an
active member of organizations such as NRPA, IPRA, SSPRPA, and is currently on
track to attain his CPRP certification in 2014.
Erik Jakubowski has
been selected to serve as Superintendent of Park Services at the Crystal Lake
Erik has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in
Horticulture and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He has
worked for the Crystal Lake Park District since 2001, most recently in the
position of Turf and Irrigation Crew Leader. His responsibilities as the
Superintendent of Park Services include the development, renovation and
maintenance of all grounds, buildings, and park facilities in the Crystal Lake
Park District. In addition, Erik will manage and supervise all full-time and
part-time personnel in the planning and coordination of both in-house and
contracted maintenance tasks and capital improvement projects.
Honors Former Commissioner John "Jack” Kerr
The St. Charles Park District hosted a dedication
ceremony to honor former commissioner John "Jack” Kerr in Pottawatomie Park. Jack,
who passed away on July 2, 2012, had been very involved in the Fox Valley
community since moving there in 1985 from Marietta, Ga., with his wife of 52
years, Mary Neder Kerr.
For Jack’s 25 years of service and dedication to the Park
District, the Park Board will commemorate the walkway along the shores of the
Fox River by the historic pavilion in Pottawatomie Park to be named the John
"Jack” Kerr Walkway.
Much was accomplished during Jack’s tenure. Jack was an
advocate for the acquisition of open space, improvement to existing facilities
and development of new properties. Jack was instrumental in the Park District
winning the National Gold Medal Award in 1998. During his time on the board,
more than 1,000 acres of land used for parks and open space were acquired. Two
successful referendums were passed which paved the way for the acquisition of
open space, development of Primrose Farm, two major sports complexes, construction
of an aquatic park, nature center and miles of bike path. Jack’s passion was aquatics, specifically the
renovation of the 70-year-old Swanson Pool in Pottawatomie Park. Amy Wilson joins Western DuPage
Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) as a Program Supervisor
With a degree in Music Therapy, Wilson will oversee cultural arts, music and cooking programs. In
addition, she will be responsible for several social clubs, some special events
and day camps. Her responsibilities include planning engaging activities,
creating modifications for participants as needed and supervising part-time
Wilson’s areas of expertise include: delivering music
lessons to children and music therapy to seniors, adapting music instruction in
order to accommodate individuals with special needs, music and wellness,
goal-oriented therapy, and behavior modification. She has a Music
Therapy degree from Illinois State University and is a Board-Certified Music
Klimek Honored for 24 Years of Service to St. Charles Park District
At a retirement reception for Park Commissioner Gloria
Klimek, the St. Charles Park District named the exhibit hall at Hickory Knolls
Discovery Center in recognition of Klimek’s 24 years as an elected official.
She has worked tirelessly with her fellow commissioners and Park District staff
members to acquire and improve parks, natural areas, athletic facilities and
the variety of recreational programs offered to Park District residents.
Klimek has been an active
environmentalist and enthusiastic community volunteer. She strongly encouraged
the Park District to take a proactive approach in partnering with local and
regional public agencies to offer outstanding and innovative environmental
education and conservation programs. She was an advocate for the removal of
invasive non-native plant materials in St. Charles’ remaining natural areas,
the establishment of an arboretum at Mt. St. Mary Park and the development of
the Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Pottawatomie Park. During Gloria’s tenure,
construction took place of Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, a LEED certified
facility and the first of its kind in Kane County.
Itasca Park District welcomes
New Athletic Supervisor
Mike Mockler is the Itasca Park
District’s new Athletic Supervisor. Mike comes to Itasca from the Park District
of Oak Park where he was the Youth Athletics Coordinator. Mike is a 2011
graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation,
Sport and Tourism with a concentration in Sports Management.
District Welcomes New Board Member
The Frankfort Park District Board of Commissioners and staff
are pleased to announce and welcome a new appointed board member, Dr. John
Reilly, to the Park District Board of Commissioners.
John Reilly’s appointment fills the vacancy left from Angela David’s
resignation. Dr. Reilly’s experience in the community with youth sports groups
and the Frankfort Loins Club will be an exceptional asset to the Frankfort Park
District. Commissioner Reilly is looking forward to serving on the Board.
Kuhs Chosen to Head Mt. Prospect Park District
Greg Kuhs has been named as the new Executive Director of
Mt. Prospect Park District. Kuhs had previously served as superintendent of
recreation for the Prospect Heights, Addison and Deerfield Park Districts as
well as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the North Berwyn and Salt
Creek Park Districts. Most recently he was Executive Director of Wood Dale Park
Kuhs received an MBA from Webster University in St. Louis
and BA in Recreation Administration from University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse.
He has served as Chair and Trustee of the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation
Association; Chair of the Northwest Special Recreation Association and is a
past board member of the Special Leisure Services Foundation. He is also a
certified Park and Recreation Professional, a member of the National Recreation
and Park Association, a member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association
and a graduate of their Professional Development School.
Johnson recently received the Association of Aquatic Professionals Visionary
Walter supported the
formation of the new association now led by many leaders and delegates
previously involved in the former NRPA National Aquatic Conference which he
created and administered for 18 years.
Association President Farhad Madani stated "We would not be here if it was
not for Walt's past vision and dedication in creating the foundation for
education and training for aquatic professionals nationwide."
(From left to right - Farhad Madani, President AOAP, Walter Johnson, AOAP
Executive Director, Juliene Hefter, First President, NRPA Aquatic Branch and
presentor, Bob Bradley)
Arlington Heights Park
District Announces Retirements
Jim Glueckert, Director of
Recreation & Facilities Retires
Jim Glueckert was a dedicated employee of the Arlington
Heights Park District for thirty-nine years, beginning in 1973 and held the
positions of Facility Supervisor, Athletic Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent
of Recreation, Superintendent of Recreation and Director of Recreation and
Facilities. Jim was part of the District’s outstanding achievement as a
three-time recipient of National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park &
Recreation Management and certification as an IAPD/IPRA Distinguished Park and
Recreation Agency. Jim was instrumental in guiding the Recreation and
Facilities Department to meet the challenging and changing leisure needs of the
Pam Lingert, Recreation Supervisor Retires
Pam Lingert was an employee of the Arlington Heights Park District for
thirty-seven years, beginning in 1975 and held the positions of Cashier,
Recreation Leader, Center Director, Cultural Arts Supervisor, Preschool/Day
Camp Supervisor and C.A.P. Supervisor in the Recreation and Facilities
Department. Pam was also involved in specialty camps, sports camps, and
the Outreach Program for the Park District.
Pam was an active member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association
and was recognized for her dedication in attending conferences and seminars to
find the latest programs for preschool and youth in the community. Pam also
served as chair on the before and after school committee which serves over 800
children on a daily basis at ten schools.
Tim Reinbold named Superintendent of Recreation for the
Warrenville Park District.
Tim’s responsibilities include administrative planning and
management of the overall operation of the Recreation Department to include a
wide scope of recreation, fitness and facility related programming. In addition, Tim serves as the Park District
Tim comes to Warrenville from the Oakbrook Terrace (IL) Park
District, where he was Director of Recreation and Park Services. Tim managed
the day-to-day operation of the parks department and supervised the recreation
department, including recreational programs, facilities, and staff.
Tim has a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and
has also worked for Elmhurst YMCA as youth sports director and Lisle Park
District as Athletics Supervisor and Meadows Center Supervisor.
Dan Olson was named director of the Champaign County
Forest Preserve District.
Olson, 40, has been with the forest preserve district for
about 10 years as its director of natural resources. He also was named deputy
director earlier in 2012. He is a native of Clinton who graduated with a bachelor's
degree in zoology from Eastern Illinois University. Before coming to the forest
preserve district, he worked at the University of Illinois' College of
Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences as a visiting research
scientist, with a specialty in biological research.
The Village of Hawthorn Woods announced that Brian J.
Sullivan MPA, CPRP, has joined the Village’s leadership team.
Brian assumes a
new position of Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation and Executive Projects
Manager for this dynamic and progressive community in Lake County. Sullivan
brings over 25 years of experience in the leisure industry to his new position
with Team Hawthorn Woods and was named Honored Professional of the Year by IPRA