Illinois Park & Recreation Magazine - People and Places
John C. Potts
Awarded Prestigious Pugsley Medal
John C. Potts, former director
of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, has been awarded the
Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal, the most prestigious award recognizing
outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks in
the United States. Potts was with the CCFPD from 1992 to 2003, during which time
the district added the River Bend Forest Preserve, developed its first master
plan, and expanded its educational programming. Prior to this he was a
long-time employee of the Peoria Park District, where he was chief of park police
and then director of parks and planning for 15 years. In 2005, while just settling in to retirement, he volunteered
to help the American Red Cross after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. What
started out as answering phones evolved into being deployed to the Mississippi
coastal areas for more than a month. He has since been deployed 16 times over
the past 10 years to national disaster areas that included those affected by
forest fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. He is currently the regional lead
for government liaison for 78 counties in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa and the
volunteer counterpart to the regional disaster director. Potts was a charter
faculty member of the National Parks & Recreation Administration Directors
School, which is now in its ninth year. The American Academy Foundation
established a scholarship in his name. Affectionately called "The Pottsie” it
supports two outstanding first-year attendees of the school.
As a Pugsley Medal winner, Potts
is in good company. Previous winners include Stephen Mather, the founder of the
National Park Service; former secretary of the interior Stuart Udall; noted conservationist
Lady Bird Johnson; and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics.
The Pugsley Award is presented
by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership
with the National Park Foundation (nationalparks.org) and the Davey Tree Expert
"Our hope is that the
recognition gained by the Pugsley Award program will encourage and inspire
others to invest in programs that educate and promote a sustainable
environment,” said Sandra Reid, manager of corporate communications/marketing
at Davey Tree.
Frank "Moe” Duis, 87, the city of
Sterling’s first parks director, passed away at CGH Medical Center. When Duis
took the helm at Sterling Park District, there were no facilities, only land.
Now the park district’s most recognizable building bears his name – a tribute
to the growth of the system during his nearly 40 years there, 23 as its leader.
Duis actually holds the distinction
of being both the first part- and full-time director. A teacher and track coach
at Challand Middle School, he also ran recreational programs for the park
district during the summers. In 1965, the park district board made him the
full-time director, the first of only three in the organization’s history.
"He had an unbelievable work ethic,
and he was still teaching when he was a part-time director,” said Pete Dillon,
a longtime friend and colleague. "As the scope of the job grew, he finally quit
teaching and worked full time as parks director.”
"He played a big role in acquiring the old
Newman football field where the junior tackle games are played,” Dillon said.
"He was a tremendous track coach, who was very dedicated to the kids.” "He was
outgoing, and seemed to always know what people wanted,” Dillon said. "He was
so detail-oriented that people had confidence that he could pull off anything
Bruce Larson of Urbana passed away on September 30, 2015.
Bruce served 42 years as a commissioner of the Urbana Park District and was
board chairman for 33 years. His strong focus on environmental education was
the force behind the 1979 opening of the Anita Purves Nature Center. Bruce was
actively involved with land acquisition and helped to increase the number of
parks in Urbana from six to more than twenty. His enthusiasm and dedication to
the field of parks and recreation was duly recognized in 1992 with the
Commissioner of the Year award for demonstrating the highest example of
community service, personal integrity and ingenuity. He was the founder of the
Urbana Parks Foundation and in 2014 the Urbana Park District named a park in
honor of his 42 years of service to the park district.
Bruce served on the IAPD Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1978
and from 1990 to 1998, and served as board President in 1996. In 1978, while serving
on the IAPD Constitutional Bylaws Committee, he was the major revision author
of the state association’s bylaws. Bruce dedicated his time and great personal
talents to numerous IAPD committees. In 1997 he served as Chairman of the IAPD
History Task Force and was instrumental in researching and documenting the
association’s 70-year history. Bruce was the founding Chairman of the Illinois
Parks Association Risk Services (IPARKS) Committee, the risk management
insurance pool of Illinois park districts, and was an integral member of the
committee from 1991 to 2009.
This year, we lost a park legend. More than that – a true
representation of what it means to be a community. On September 15, 2015, Robert
Toalson passed away at the age of 83.
Mr. Toalson graduated from the University of Kansas with a
degree in political science in 1954. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S.
Marine Corps as a commissioned officer from 1954 to 1957. Following his
military service, he received a master's degree in park and recreation
administration from Indiana University in 1958.
After completing a year as an intern in the Philadelphia
park system, he moved to Oak Park, where he served as director of recreation
for 11 years. In 1970, Robert became general manager of the Champaign Park
District. Under his leadership, the National Park and Recreation Association's
Gold Medal for Excellence was awarded once to Oak Park and three times to the
Champaign Park District. In both Oak Park and Champaign, he was awarded the
title Outstanding Citizen. During his career, Robert served as president of the
Illinois Park and Recreation Society, president of the National Recreation and
Park Association and founding member and president of the Academy for Parks and
Mr. Toalson was a visionary and leader, and was very
passionate about Champaign Park District and the people he served. Robert
Toalson will be missed.
Morton Grove Park District Welcomes New
Executive Director, Jeffrey Wait
experienced and enthusiastic leisure services professional, Jeffrey Wait has 18
years of experience managing community programs, projects and initiatives that
enhance quality of life through recreational opportunities.
holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Illinois
at Chicago; and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in recreation administration
from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a graduate student at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wait was one of the first five student directors of
the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project, providing recreational
programs and activities to rural communities in Illinois. Wait also had the honor of serving members of
the United States military and their families through the Navy’s Morale,
Welfare and Recreation Department. Additionally, he has held positions at
award-winning park districts and a city department around the Chicago area.
A native of Urbana, Illinois, Wait spent much of his
childhood enjoying Urbana Park District programs and facilities which inspired him
to become a leisure services professional.
He is also a proud husband, and father to two active children.
Adriane Johnson is Named "Rotarian of the
The Rotary Club of
Buffalo Grove has a tradition each year of the outgoing president naming a
member the "Rotarian of the Year.” This individual exemplifies distinguished
service, loyalty and devotion to the ideals of Rotary. At the annual Rotary Club
Service Recognition and Installation of Officers Dinner on Tuesday, June 30,
2015, outgoing President Quintin Sleigh named Adriane Johnson the "2014-2015
Rotarian of the Year” for "…always stepping up when asked to help out at club
events, special projects and key initiatives. We can always count on you…,”
said Sleigh at the installation dinner.
Adriane has been
an active member of the Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove for nearly three years.
She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Public Relations Committee,
member of the Sunshine Committee, and has a ubiquitous presence at the club’s
many events. Adriane is also the President of the Buffalo Grove Park District
Board of Commissioners, Commissioner of the Village of Buffalo Grove Fire and
Police Commission, serves on the Board of Directors at the Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire
Chamber of Commerce and is on the Board of Directors of the Illinois
Association of Park Districts.
Michael Hullihan Named Executive Director for the
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Michael Hullihan has been named the
executive director for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
"Mike brings exceptional leadership
skills to the District and will help ensure it remains a leading agency in
conservation and preservation,” said President Joe Cantore. "His executive
experience and background will help advance this organization on behalf of all
DuPage County residents.”
Hullihan has been the public works
director and village engineer for the village of Oak Brook for the last seven
years. He has vast public and private sector experience having also served as
the vice president of Gannett Fleming, a global company focused on infrastructure
solutions. Hullihan is also a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers.
"It’s an honor and a privilege to
join a winning team,” said Hullihan. "I’m looking forward to working for an
organization with first class facilities and natural areas and a team of
professionals from many different disciplines.”
Glenview Park District Welcomes Elsa
Fischer as the New Superintendent of Leisure Services
Glenview said goodbye to 42-year park district veteran Robert Quill June 30
and has welcomed Elsa Fischer, formerly the director of leisure service for the
Northbrook Park District and director of recreation in Downers Grove. Fischer
holds a master of science in recreation administration from the University of
"We are thrilled Elsa is joining our team,” said Executive Director Michael
McCarty in a recent park district statement. "With a broad
background managing similar facilities and services, she is a great fit for our
district. Fischer is committed to providing the excellent customer service
Glenview residents rely on.”
In her new position, Fischer will oversee activities at Park Center, Flick
and Roosevelt Outdoor Aquatic Centers, Historic Wagner Farm, The Grove National
Historic Landmark, Fuller Air Station Prairie and Schram Memorial Chapel.
Fox Valley Park District Announces the Retirement
of Nancy McCaul
After nearly three decades in the parks and recreation
profession, Nancy McCaul will retire in December, having served since 2010 as
the first female executive director in Fox Valley’s 68-year history. Her park
district career began as business manager at Homewood-Flossmoor; she also
served as director of finance and administration at Naperville, Bartlett and
Notable achievements at Fox Valley, the state’s second
largest park district, include grant awards totaling nearly $5 million, expansion
of Stuart Sports Complex, large-scale renovations to Blackberry Farm and Red
Oak Nature Center, completion of the Gilman Trail bridge and new construction
of Copley Boxing and Training Center and Lippold Park – all while keeping a
flat tax levy the last four years.
Fox Valley is a finalist for the Gold Medal Award in its
first year of eligibility since winning it in 2009, and received the IAPD/IPRA
Distinguished Accredited Agency Award in 2014.
McCaul served as an IPRA board member and received the
Administration and Finance Section’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011, the
2012 Professional of the Year Award and the 2014 IPRA Chairman’s Award. She’s
"looking forward to spending more time with family and exploring new hobbies.”
Oak Brook Park District Welcomes
World Cup Stars Home
Photo Release: Oak Brook Park District and Evergreen
Bank Group welcome home seven of the eight players the Chicago Red Stars sent
to the Women’s World Cup. Not pictured, Shannon Boxx who announced her
retirement earlier this week. (L to right) Oak Brook Park District
Executive Director Laure Kosey,Christen Press, Melissa Tancredi, Julie
Johnston, Karina LeBlanc, Lori Chalupny, Adriana Leon, Abby Erceg, Dan Inendino
of Evergreen Bank Group, and Jerry Micelli of Evergreen Bank Group.
The Oak Brook Park District hosted a small reception on
Evergreen Bank Group Athletic Field to congratulate the Chicago Red Stars on
their recent WPSL National Championship and to welcome 7 of the 8 Women’s World
Cup players back home.
With this July marking the 30th Anniversary of National Park
and Recreation Month, the Chicago Red Stars’ recent victories resonated deeply
with the Oak Brook Park District. "Your sacrifices and the countless hours of
dedicated hard work right here on this very field help illustrate, to the
nation, what happens when park and recreation agencies are able to provide
access to quality recreational facilities and opportunities,” said Oak Brook
Park District’s Executive Director, Laure Kosey, as she addressed the team.
The Chicago Red Stars have utilized Oak Brook Park
District’s Evergreen Bank Group Athletic Field as a practice facility since
March of 2013, an opportunity that was made possible by a strong partnership between
Evergreen Bank Group and the Oak Brook Park District. In 2011, the park
district realized that the only way to increase the availability of outdoor
recreational programming and available playing hours was to provide a synthetic
playing surface. The agency approached Evergreen Bank Group with a partnership
proposal and the Oak Brook bank committed funding necessary to make the outdoor
facility a reality.
"When we were approached about
this opportunity, we knew that the Evergreen Bank Group Athletic Field would
serve as a great venue for soccer athletes in the Chicago area, but I can’t say
we ever envisioned having future World Cup winning athletes practicing their
skills on our field,” said Vice President and Head of Retail Banking and
Marketing of Evergreen Bank Group, Dan Inendino.
Representatives from the Illinois Association of Park
Districts; Illinois Park and Recreation Association; as well as Tracy Mulqueen,
President & CEO of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce; and Village
Trustees Asif Yusuf and Edward Tiesenga, also attended to show their support
for the outstanding athletes.
"Being able to be here with these women, who have worked so
hard and accomplished so much, truly is a testament to the power parks and
recreation has to positively impact people on a local, state and national
level,” said Kosey.
Named Chair-Elect of the NRPA Board of Directors
The National Recreation and Park Association named
Stephen Eckelberry as chair-elect of the organization's 2015-2016 Board of Directors.
Board members are representatives of NRPA's membership, which includes leaders
in the park, recreation and conservation movement, park and recreation
professionals, individuals from corporations, industry suppliers, commercial
businesses, and volunteer and civic groups.
Stephen Eckelberry has been a strong asset to our
board," said Detrick Stanford, chair of NRPA's Board of Directors.
"He has supported the park and recreation movement and NRPA 's mission on
many levels throughout his career. We are excited to have his expertise and
leadership skills in the role of chair-elect, which we know will contribute to
achieving NRPA's goals and moving the association forward."
Stephen has been a board member since 2012 and is currently
the secretary of the NRPA Board of Directors. Besides being involved with his
national association, he is also a commissioner of the Bartlett Park District, since
1996. In his professional life, he is a technology manager for the Western
DuPage Special Recreation Association. Stephen has also served on the NRPA
Nominating Board Development Committee, the IAPD/IPRA Distinguished
Accreditation Committee, the IPRA/IAPD Conference Committee as well as the IPRA
Communications and Marketing Section.
Bensenville Park District
welcomes Mary Wagner as Community and Special Events Supervisor
Mary started working for the
Bensenville Park District in March after working for the Woodridge Park
District as the senior coordinator for two and a half years. She worked for the
Bensenville Park District from 1994-1998 as a recreation supervisor where she
was in charge of the Waterpark, youth and tot programs. Mary was lucky enough
to be home with her kids for 15 years before getting back into the field.
Bensenville Park District
welcomes Phyllis Schmidt as Recreation Supervisor
Phyllis oversees youth, teen, early childhood and camp programs. Before arriving in Bensenville, Phyllis worked for 13 years at the
Park District of Franklin Park serving as a program manager responsible for special events, senior, early childhood, tot and day camp programs. She has a
bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s University and serves as a director on the
Chamber by O’Hare. Phyllis is excited to serve the residents and patrons of the
Bensenville Park District.
Chicago Park District Announces New Superintendent Of Recreation - Dannielle
Dannielle comes to the West Chicago Park District with
over 12 years of experience in recreation, administration and customer service.
Dannielle earned her master's degree in recreation administration from
Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure studies from Winona State University in Minnesota. She is a proud NRPA &
IPRA member and past conference presenter, as well as a graduate of the NRPA
Revenue Development and Management School. Dannielle has previously worked for
the Carol Stream Park District & the Village of Pleasant Prairie in
Wisconsin. The West Chicago Park District looks forward to new goals and
objectives that her diverse background and leadership skills will bring to the district.
Lindenhurst Park District Names New Executive Director and Announces
The new Executive Director of
the Lindenhurst Park District is David
Mohr, Jr. Dave has more than 18 years of experience in the field of
parks and recreation. Most recently, Dave was the superintendent of recreation
for the Lindenhurst Park District where he was responsible for overseeing all
aspects of the recreation department including facilities. He was also in
charge of the districts IT operations, human resources, and wellness/safety
coordination. Dave also has previous experience in athletics,
before/afterschool and day camp, special events, senior and special recreation programming.
During his 11 years in
Lindenhurst, Dave has been involved both locally and professionally. He
currently serves as vice president of the local Kiwanis Club, is a Chamber of
Commerce Board Member and is an active volunteer for local events. Previously
Dave served as the Co-Chair/Chair for IPRA’s Athletic Committee and as a committee
member for IPRA’s BMW Golf.
Dave received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois
University in recreation management. He was also a recipient of IPRA’s
Rec. Section, Al Hattendorf Professional of the Year Award in 2011. He is
excited and honored to continue to serve in such a great community in his new
role and is looking forward to new challenges.
Kristi Murray is
the new superintendent of recreation for the Lindenhurst Park District.
Kristi has been in the field of parks and recreation for more than 11 years,
with varying experience in recreation, facility management and special
recreation. Most recently, Kristi was a division manager at the Gurnee
Park District where she managed the Viking Park Community Center, performing
arts, special events, rentals, adult and senior programming as well as
community relations. Kristi is also active with the Illinois Parks and
Recreation Association, and serves on various community service organizations.
Kristi has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State
University in recreation and park administration. She is also a graduate
of IPRA’s Leadership Academy and a Certified Park and Recreation Professional.
NEDSRA Names Rick Poole as New Executive Director
Poole is the new executive director for the Northeast DuPage
Special Recreation Association starting on May 11. The NEDSRA board did not
have to look far to find their new director as Rick has been the deputy director
of the Lombard Park District for the past 12 years.
Rick is familiar with NEDSRA, as the Lombard Park
District is one of 11 member partners supporting NEDSRA’s programs for
individuals with disabilities. He has a master’s degree in managerial leadership
from National Lewis University and also attended Western Illinois University
where he received his bachelor’s degree.
At the Lombard Park District, some of Rick’s
accomplishments include being on the design team that constructed the Paradise
Bay Water Park, building public support for the $5.9 million dollar park
referendum in 2008, and overseeing the process to win the prestigious Gold
Medal award for the Lombard Park District presented by the National Recreation
and Park Association.
Rick is a 29 year veteran in the recreation field having
worked for the park districts of Arlington Heights, Wheeling, and Carol Stream
prior to coming to Lombard in 2002. He
is also a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional.
IN MEMORIAM: Jeena
Former Executive Director of
Northeast Dupage Special Recreation Association (NEDSRA) Jeena Greenwalt, 49, passed away on May 30, 2015 peacefully in her
hometown of Carlinville, IL surrounded by her family. Greenwalt worked at NEDSRA in Addison for
nearly 20 years before stepping down this past March due to her illness.
She dedicated her life to improving
the lives of people with disabilities and championed many new programs at
NEDSRA. Greenwalt was well respected and
loved by the participants and their families. "Jeena's spirit will be truly missed by our participants and by staff.
Her inspiration and guiding force at NEDSRAwill
continue, as we honor her with our commitment to excellent recreational
programs that improve the lives of individuals with disabilities,” said new Executive Director, Rick
Greenwalt graduated from Carlinville
High School in 1983 and from Illinois State University in 1988 and began her
career at NEDSRA in 1991.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be
made to the Jeena Greenwalt Scholarship Fund at NEDSRA, the Cystic Fibrosis
Foundation, or St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
IN MEMORIAM: Sandy Fernstrom
Sandra L. "Sandy” Fernstrom passed away on May 27, 2015 in
Elk Grove Village. Sandra was elected to the Arlington Heights Park District
Board in 1981 and served five four year terms. During this time she served in
many capacities including president, vice president and the chairperson of many
She was the founding member of the Arlington Lakes Golf
Course Advisory Committee and helped guide the park district to two National
Gold Medals. Sandra was instrumental in the acquisition of the North School
Property and "Payton’s Hill” for the park district.
Additionally, she served two terms as President of the
Illinois Association of Park District Board and she also served on the Board of
Directors for the National Recreation and Parks Association where she served on
the Legislative Committee of the Great Lakes Regional Council.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National
Wildlife Federation, the Illinois Association of Park Districts or to the
Arlington Heights Park District.
The Illinois Chapter, ASLA is Proud to Recognize Peter M. Murphy for his Dedication, Leadership and Outstanding Contribution to the Illinois Landscape
Each year, ILASLA recognizes projects, legislation, articles, organizations or individuals that have significantly enhanced the Illinois landscape or promoted the profession of landscape architecture in our state. This year, the Chapter bestows the award to Peter M. Murphy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
As a fearless advocate for parks and open space throughout the State of Illinois, Peter's leadership has shown us all what it means to organize, educate and support landscape architects and our allied professions to the importance of our precious resources. ILASLA is proud to honor Peter Murphy for his relentless support of Illinois' natural resources. Our land, water and air continues to be compromised by legislation, budget cuts and irresponsible development. Peter had continued to champion parks and the protection of open space the his strategic and passionate efforts.
District Names New Leisure Services Director
Eileen Loftus, a park and recreation professional with 25 years of
experience, has been named the new director of leisure services for the
Northbrook Park District. Loftus served as leisure services manager for the district.
In May of 2008, Loftus joined the Northbrook Park District as manager
of athletics & aquatics. One year later, she was promoted to leisure services
manager, overseeing operations of the Northbrook Sports Center and the athletics
& aquatics department. Her accomplishments include: The successful rollout
of Greenbriar Gym programming; improvement of aquatic staff training, leading
to a 5-Star Aquatic Safety Award in 2014; creating positive relationships with
staff, residents, skaters, parents and affiliates; improving communication with
Synchronized Skating, Northbrook-On-Ice, and Adult Hockey League participants; and
managing Northbrook Sports Center renovations.
Loftus received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University
and a master’s degree from Aurora University, both in recreation administration.
Park District Hires New Park Staff Member James (Jamie) Martin
joined the Winnetka Park District as full-time maintenance with the parks department. He will be an integral part of the park
operations with his duties and projects covering landscaping, tree planting, tree
removals, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, equipment operator, maintenance
details, playground repairs, project planning and managing subcontractors.
He has a solid background in project management
and construction through previous work experience most recently with Twenty9
Inc., out of Highland Park. He also
served in the United States Navy with the construction/carpentry (Seebees), was
a squad leader, a mentor for 12 sailors new to the Battalion and served in Al
Anbar Province, Iraq constructing combat outposts.
Rhonda Brewer joined the Elk Grove Park District as the
Director of Business Services
She has 13 years of park district experience, as well as a bachelor’s
degree in accounting from Indiana University. Her most previous position was at
the Wood Dale Park District where she was the director of finance and administration
for the past nine years. Prior to Wood
Dale, she spent four years at the Oak Brook Park District in their finance
department. Rhonda will oversee the Elk
Grove Park District’s financial operations and will head the IT and human resources
The Park District of Franklin Park Announces New Hires
Anne Raucci, Skating
Anne Raucci is the new skating school director at the Park
District of Franklin Park Ice Arena. Anne grew up in Franklin Park and started
skating at the Ice Arena when she was six, the same year the ice rink opened. Anne
continued to skate through her adolescent years and started teaching lessons and
assisting the skating school for last six years. Anne has a lot of experience
and history at the Ice Arena – it’s only fitting to have her be the Skating
School Director at the Ice Arena! In her spare time, she loves to hike by the
Fox River with her husband and three children.
Assistant Ice Arena Manager
Brit Volini is the new assistant ice arena manager at the
Park District of Franklin Park. Brit grew up in Orono, Minnesota and was very
active in school sports and extracurricular activities. She attended the
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and has a bachelor’s degree in sports
management. Brit also has a K-12 PE certificate from Chicago State University.
For eight years, she worked as the hockey director for the Homewood-Flossmoor
Park District. Brit was the president and secretary for the South Suburban
Hockey league for four years and for the last five seasons acted as Chairman
for the AHAI Hockey is for Everyone program.
Superintendent of Finance & Technology
Stephanie Bersani is the new superintendent of finance &
technology at the Park District of Franklin Park. She attended Loyola
University of Chicago and received her bachelor's degree in political science
with a minor in business administration. After receiving her bachelor's degree,
she went back to Loyola to concentrate on taking additional courses in
accounting. Stephanie started her career as an intern with Gimbel Abrams &
Singer, a public accounting firm. After a year as an intern, she was offered a
full-time position. After eight years working at a public accounting firm,
she’s thrilled to start her journey in parks and recreation! In her spare time,
she is a runner and has completed two Chicago marathons and was a competitive
figure skater for many years. She has recently embarked on motherhood, which
has been one of her greatest accomplishments of all time.
Greg Stanczyk is the new program manager for the Park
District of Franklin Park. His
responsibilities include early childhood, youth activities, camps and the after
school program. Greg’s previous job titles include summer camp director for the
Park District of La Grange, recreation assistant at the Westmont Park District
and building supervisor for the Downers Grove Park District. He graduated with a degree in parks and recreation
from George Williams College in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. His most recent accomplishment was becoming
a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional in December of 2014.
Alex Salas, Parks
Alex Salas has been working at the Park District of Franklin
Park for the past six years. He started as a seasonal summer employee for parks
services while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration
of management at Robert Morris University. Alex became a part-time employee in
2013 and now accepted a full-time position. Alex’s goals are to progress and
evolve as a well-rounded employee.
Mundelein Park &
Recreation District Announces Retirement and New Hires
has retired as business manager with the Mundelein Park & Recreation
District. She served as the District’s first business manager for six years,
bringing all financial functions in-house. LaVonne helped the District earn the
prestigious Award of Excellence from the Government Finance Officers
Association three years in a row. Prior to working in Mundelein she spent 21
years working in municipal finance. LaVonne has been very active in IPRA’s
Administration & Finance Section, working on the annual golf outing and
participating in the Business Manager group.
has been hired as marketing specialist for the Mundelein Park & Recreation
District. She has over 20 years of graphic design experience including logo
design and branding campaigns for several mid-sized businesses in a variety of
industries. Christa is the creator and chair of the Mundelein Fine Arts
Festival. This festival includes professional artists from across the country
who promotes the arts while bringing the community together and showcasing the
talents of art students at local high schools.
She will be responsible for marketing the District and its many
facilities and programs.
recently accepted the business manager position with the Mundelein Park &
Recreation District. Most recently she worked for the Village of Buffalo
Grove’s finance department. She has over 20 years of accounting and finance
experience both in the public and private sector. Her responsibilities will include overseeing
the District’s finances, information technology and human resource areas.
River Trails Park District announces Patti Mitchell as
the new Superintendent of Recreation
Patti Mitchell is the new superintendent of recreation for
the River Trails Park District. Patti has over 25 years of experience in the
field as a recreation supervisor, recreation manager and assistant
superintendent. She has worked at River Trails Park District for over 22 years.
She has been responsible for overseeing the recreation program areas, community
special events and the operations of Woodland Trails Pool and Art Studio. Patti
has also played an instrumental role in the district’s Distinguished
Accreditation in 2013.
She has a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois
University. She is also a graduate from the Illinois Professional Development School
and a Certified Park and Recreation Professional.
Glenview Park District Names Michael McCarty as New Executive Director
Michael McCarty as the new executive director of the
Glenview Park District. Michael has more than 20 years of experience in the
field of parks and recreation and his leadership has brought national
recognition to other park districts he has led. Michael comes to Glenview from
his position as director of parks and recreation for the City of Fairfax, VA.
During his nine year tenure, Fairfax was awarded the National Gold Medal for Excellence
in Parks and Recreation. Prior to his role at Fairfax, McCarty served as the executive
director of parks and recreation for Longmeadow, MA.
Michael has been responsible for managing new park
developments and large-scale renovations, numerous open space purchases and
successful campaigns encouraging charitable donations to park and recreation
Michael received his bachelor’s degree in recreation
management from Springfield College. In addition to his most recent experience,
he has been a trainer for the Total Quality Management program, received
regional accolades as an outstanding professional in parks and recreation and
served as chairman of the Board of Regents for the National Recreation and Park
Association’s Revenue Management and Development School in Wheeling, WV.
Thomas Busby Named as New Executive Director of the Elk
Grove Park District
Thomas Busby has accepted the position of executive director
at the Elk Grove Park District. Tom has over 25 years of park district experience, the last
10 years as the director of business services at Elk Grove Park District.
He graduated from Bemidji State University majoring in business administration
and received his MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.
Before arriving at the Elk Grove Park District, Tom was the director of finance
and business operations at the Wheeling Park District. He also worked at
the McHenry County Conservation District as their director of finance and the
Rock River Water Reclamation District as their business manager. During his
years as director of business services, Tom has been instrumental in winning
the Government Finance Officers Association Excellence in Financial Reporting
award for 10 consecutive years. Through
his financial leadership he improved the Elk Grove Park District’s bond rating
through Moody’s from Aa3 to Aaa.
Mike Brottman Retires from Elk Grove Park District
Mike Brottman has retired as the Executive Director of the
Elk Grove Park District after nearly 10 years. He became the executive director
at Elk Grove in April of 2005. Prior to coming to the Elk Grove Park District
he was the executive director of the Wood Dale Park District for the preceding
10 years. Mike was instrumental in overseeing many major projects at Elk Grove
including Rainbow Falls Waterpark, a new maintenance facility, Fountain Square
Park, the entire renovation of Fox Run Golf Links and Clubhouse and most
recently the Pavilion Aquatics Center renovation. Under his direction the
District received outstanding facility and program awards. In 2014, the
District was awarded with Distinguished Accreditation. Mike has been a director
on the Board of NWSRA as well as being a Rotarian and a strong
intergovernmental leader. He has brought dedication and vision to the field of parks
and recreation for over 35 years.
Jason Brockschmidt is the New Director of Parks and Recreation for Beardstown Community Park District
Jason took over in January
after the retirement of Steve Megginson. He is a Beardstown native who worked
for the park district for several years and after working for a Beardstown
bank, Jason returns to the park district in his new role. Jason will oversee
all of the district facilities, shelters and parks. He has a bachelor’s degree
in business administration from Monmouth College. He is also active in the
local Exchange Club, Tiger Nation Booster Club and many park district youth
activities. Jason has been in charge of the T-ball, baseball, youth football
and youth basketball programs for the park district over the years. Jason’s
initial focus will be on a new pool project for the district for which a $2.5
million PARC grant will be used.
Greenslate Retires from the Lincoln Park District
After 34 years of dedicated service to the Lincoln Park
District, Marcia Greenslate retired on January 30th. Marcia started with the park district as the ceramics
instructor and found her desire to stay involved with the park district for
many years to come. She served in several
roles including program director until she was promoted to executive director
in 1995. One of Marcia’s many accomplishments has been the building of the new
swimming facility, set to open in the summer of 2015. Marcia worked with the Board of
Commissioners, applied and received a state grant and began building the new
swimming facility which will include a lap pool, a zero-depth pool with water
features and a plunge pool with two slides. Marcia has been a staple in the
community and an active Rotarian. She is looking forward to retirement.
Illinois Association of Park Districts Places Two Outstanding Executives at
Member Park Districts Through Its Director Search Service
Lincoln Park District
Names Dawn Schaefer as Executive Director
The Illinois Association of Park District assisted the board
of commissioners of the Lincoln Park District in hiring Dawn Schaefer to lead the agency. She began employment in January 2015.
Dawn has more than 15 years of experience in the park and
recreation field. She served as the Director of Champaign-Urbana Special
Recreation for five years. She has also held positions with the Northern
Suburban Special Recreation Association and the Northeast DuPage Special
Dawn holds a master’s degree in recreation administration
from Aurora University and a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University. She
has experience in developing staff, expanding inclusion services and ensuring
quality comprehensive recreation services are available for all constituents.
Western Springs Park
District Welcomes John Robinson as Executive Director
After working extensively with the Illinois Association of
Park Districts, the Board of Commissioners of the Western Springs Park District
has hired John Robinson to serve as
its next executive director. He began his employment on March 2, 2015.
John worked for the past 24 years at the Arlington Heights
Park District, most recently serving as the superintendent of recreation. He
was responsible for athletics, golf operations and maintenance, before and
after school programs, pre-school and day camps, as well as the operations at Lake
He has a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park
administration from the University of Wisconsin—LaCrosse. John serves on the IAPD/IPRA Joint Conference
Committee as the operations co-chair.
District Announces Staff Promotion and New Hires
Lisa Jeffers is the new Executive Administrative
Assistant and a former long-time Addison resident. She has a diverse background
in banking, finance and executive administration roles. Prior to working for
the Park District, Lisa was the Executive Administrative Assistant at Pampered
Chef in Addison. She has taken many programs from the Park District and has
been a member of Club Fitness for several years. Lisa’s work ethic and customer
service-focused attitude make her a valuable asset for the District.
is the Athletic & Rental Supervisor for Addison Park
District. Adam’s role includes supervising youth athletic programs, special
events and facility rentals of all types for both recreation centers. He has an
extensive background in program management and was most recently a Recreation
Supervisor for Wood Dale Park District. Adam also worked for the Libertyville
Sports Complex and the Normal Parks & Recreation Department, while attending
(ISU) Illinois State University. He graduated with a degree in Recreation and
Park Administration from ISU.
Geri Estvanik is a
dedicated employee of the Addison Park District having served the community for
more than 26 years. Her previous roles as Recreation Supervisor, Active Adult
Services Manager and Development & Community Relations Manager demonstrate
her dedication to the field and have helped her prepare for her new role as
Director of Operations. Geri is responsible for obtaining 3 IDNR Youth
Conservation grants, 2 OSLAD grants and a PARC grant totaling more than $3
million in revenue for the District. As Director of Operations, Geri may
represent the Executive Director when required, leads and directs management
and administrative functions including special events, volunteer program, community
relations, education and training, fundraising, communications and
Geneva Park District
Honors Two Long Time Board Members
Park District Board and staff recognized Park Board President Susan VanderVeen
and Park Board Vice President Peggy Condon for 15 years of commitment to the
Geneva Park District and community at the Park Board meeting, Monday, October
"It does not
feel like 15 years! "I have enjoyed serving on the Park Board and look
forward to the future, said Susan VanderVeen.
"It has been
a pleasure and an honor serving on the Board,” said Peggy Condon.
Nicole Vickers, superintendent of recreation, 15 years equates to over 750
hours of unpaid time in the quest to continually elevate the community!
"That is over 30 days; over 45,000 minutes, over 2.7 million seconds, however,
for the staff, your time, dedication, wisdom, and energy is immeasurable!” said
Peggy have been steadfast in their support of parks, recreation, open space and
conservation. It is my good fortune to work with such dedicated community
leaders,” said Sheavoun Lambillotte, executive director of the Geneva Park
Pekin Park District
Announces the Retirement of Bob Blackwell
After 36 years of devoted service, Bob Blackwell has retired from the Pekin Park District. From 1978
to 1983, he served in various capacities as arena and pool manager, special
facilities manager, and superintendent of recreation and facilities manager.
From 1983 to 2014, Bob worked as the executive director where he made great strides
in meeting the needs of a growing community by providing valuable recreational
programs, facilities and open space that have enhanced the quality of life for
residents of all age groups and abilities.
Under Bob’s leadership and guidance, the Pekin Park District
was expanded to include the development of Dragonland Water Park, Coal Miners
Park and, most recently, the new 80-acre Pekin Park Sports Complex. In 2003 and
2012, he sought to protect the McNaughton, Dirksen and Independence parks. Bob
will be remembered as a dedicated professional who built a district with his
vision and leadership.
Lindenhurst Park District Announces the Retirement of Tom Lippert
Tom has served as the executive director since 1992.
Prior to that, he served as director of parks & recreation, superintendent
of recreation, and superintendent of parks, in Niles (twice), Deerfield,
Skokie, and Hickory Hills Park Districts; spanning 38 years. Lindenhurst
Park District, established in 1988 and one of the youngest park districts in
the state, started with a few inherited Village parks and no facilities.
During Tom’s tenure in Lindenhurst he increased parks with many different
recreational amenities by 75%, added a variety of facilities, including a
26,000 sq. ft. phased Community Center – without referendum, under a tax cap,
and limited EAV. Tom was able to do this by securing over $7 million
dollars in grants, several million in impact fees from residential developers,
large community support and intergovernmental cooperation. Lindenhurst
Park District was one of the fastest growing Park Districts in Lake County,
Illinois during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, under Tom’s leadership. Tom
was active early on with IPRA and MIPE, serving on various committees,
including Director of the PNRM Section and President of MIPE. Tom also
received MIPE’s Professional of the Year Award.
Golf Maine Park District Welcomes John
Jekot as Their New Director
has over 16 years of parks and recreation experience along with 7 years of
working in a corporate environment. He come
to the Golf Maine Park District from St. John Brebeuf as there event coordinator
and also held a similar position at St. Michael in Old Town. John was also the superintendent
of recreation for the Lindenhurst Park District, athletic and facility supervisor
for the Niles Park District, where he was promoted to assistant superintendent
of recreation. John also spent time with
the Forest Preserve of Cook County and was the assistant manager at Brunswick
Zone-River Grove. He also was sales manager
for Awards International.
earned a bachelor’s degree in leisure studies from Northeastern Illinois
University. He is also a Certified Parks
and Recreation Professional and attended Revenue Sources Management School at
Oglebay Park/Wilson Lodge along with Executive Development School at Indiana
University. John also serves the Village
of Niles as a Trustee. Prior to being a
Village Trustee, John served 14 years as a member of the East Maine School
District Board of Education. John is
currently the president of the Optimist Club of Niles, a position he has held
for many years.
District of La Grange Park Welcomes Aleks Briedis as Executive Director
After working extensively with the Illinois Association of
Park Districts, the Board of Commissioners of the Community Park District of La
Grange Park has hired Aleks Briedis
to serve as its next executive director. He will begin employment in early
January 2015. Aleks has more than 14 years of experience in parks and
recreation. He served as the recreation director for the City of Rifle,
Colorado for 14 years and most recently as the director of community recreation
for the Batavia Park District for six months.
Aleks holds a bachelor’s degree in leisure studies from the
University of Illinois. During his tenure at Rifle, he was instrumental in
formulating visionary concepts and creating successful and fiscally vibrant
projects for the community.With his diverse experience Aleks is eager to
lead the Community Park District of La Grange Park.
Pekin Park District Names
Cameron Bettin as Executive Director
After conducting a search with the Illinois Association of
Park Districts, the Pekin Park District has hired Cameron Bettin as its next executive director. Cameron began
employment on December 8th.
With more than 25 years of experience in the park and
recreation field, he worked nearly 10 of those years at the Plainfield Park
District. He also held positions with the Wheaton and Waukegan Park Districts. In
2013, Cameron received the Professional of the Year Award for Parks and Natural
He holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from
Ball State University and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.
Cameron has attended the NRPA Directors School as well as Indiana University’s
executive development program.
Roy Cripe Retires
from the Community Park District of La Grange Park
Roy Cripe, began
his retirement on January 1st after serving six and a half years as
Executive Director for the Community Park District of La Grange Park. Prior to
La Grange Park, Roy served as executive director for the Darien, Lisle, Oak
Brook and Burr Ridge Park Districts. His career started in 1973 as a recreation
supervisor for the Downers Grove Park District. He also served as the superintendent
of recreation for the Westmont Park District.
Roy said that he is grateful and very lucky to have met and
worked with wonderfully dedicated colleagues, visionary Board members and especially
supportive residents while positive initiatives were being accomplished. He
wishes all who promote the parks and recreation movement continued success as
the lives of constituents are enriched through quality programs and services.
Grove Park District Names Ryan Risinger as New Executive Director
has been named the executive director for the Buffalo Grove Park District.
Prior to his promotion, Ryan was the deputy director. Ryan has been
with Buffalo Grove since 1992 where he previously held positions of recreation
supervisor, superintendent of recreation and director of recreation and
his bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation from Illinois State University,
and will earn his master’s degree in public administration from Villanova in
the summer of 2015. Ryan has attended Indiana’s Executive Development
program, North Carolina State’s School of Sports Management at Oglebay, Disney
Institute’s Keys to Success and Customer Loyalty programs and he is a Certified
Park and Recreation Executive. Ryan is also a member of the Rotary Club
of Buffalo Grove.
Bill Heider Promoted to Director of Recreation and Facilities for Buffalo Grove Park District
Bill came to the Buffalo Grove Park
District almost five years ago to head up the parks department. Bill has
over 30 years of government service in both municipal and park districts. Bill
earned his MBA from Dominican University and has received his
Certified Parks and Recreation Professional certification. Bill looks
forward to the new challenges of this position and hopes to be an asset to the
Buffalo Grove Park District Named Tim Howe as the New Director of
Parks and Risk Management.
Howe joined the Buffalo Grove Park District
in August of 2013 where he started as the supervisor of park operations. Before Buffalo Grove, Tim worked at the Streamwood Park District as the park manager from 2008 through August of 2013. He also worked at the
Village of Brookfield, Addison Park District and the Kane County Cougars.
He obtained his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership in May of
2012 from Lewis University. In 2013, he was named the Parks and Natural
Resource Management Section "Rising Star” and currently serves on the Illinois
Sports Turf Management board.
Robert O’Shaughnessy Named as Worth Park District’s New Director of
Parks and Recreation
Robert graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in recreation
administration. At Eastern, Robert was
active with the recreation club and was the IPRA Student Section Director his senior
year. Robert was presented with the William
G. Riordan Award in recognition of being the outstanding student in the
Robert’s experience spans over 25 years. He has worked at all levels
with the Morton Grove, Havana, and Dixon Park Districts and the Munster
(Indiana) Parks and Recreation Department.
Robert also worked for the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation
Association (NEDSRA), and considers that one of the most rewarding experiences
in his career.
Robert has developed and managed quality and
profitable programs and services.
He has written and
secured various grants in the millions of dollars; and has supervised and overseen
park development projects and renovations.
Robert also experienced government from the "citizen side of the fence,”
having served once as a city Alderman. Robert was also the recipient of
the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award by
the Department of Parks and
Recreation Administration, Eastern Illinois University.
Glenview Park District Announces the Retirement of Executive Director Chuck Balling
After more than 40 years of serving in the parks and recreation field in several Illinois communities, Glenview Park District Executive Director Chuck Balling has announced his plan to retire in spring 2015. His decision comes at a time when the District enjoys a strong financial position, its facilities are up to date, and it is about to finalize the 2014-2018 strategic plan, which will set the direction for the next three years and help facilitate a smooth transition.
Balling became Executive Director of the Glenview Park District nine years ago, bringing extensive experience in managing parks and recreation programs in Naperville, Homewood-Flossmoor, Elmhurst and Gurnee.
In 2008, The Glenview Park District was a National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Finalist. During his tenure Balling oversaw the updating of many district facilities, championed the district’s environmental and historical initiatives and worked diligently to promote team building and intergovernmental cooperation. Balling is an active leader who enjoys participating in local organizations and is a fervent believer in giving back to the community. Over the years, both the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and the National Recreation and Park Association have recognized him with many awards for his contributions to his profession.
The Village of Lake In The Hills Selects Laura Barron as Director of Parks and Recreation
Serving as the Parks and Recreation Department head for the village, Laura will provide administrative direction and oversight of the diverse programming, parks, recreational areas and facilities the village offers to its approximately 30,000 residents which includes 31 parks, 2 beaches and numerous recreational facilities.
She previously served as the Executive Director at the Oakbrook Terrace Park District for 7 years and the Superintendent of Recreation at the Lisle Park District for 7 years. Laura has also worked at the Naperville, Glen Ellyn and Streamwood Park Districts in various supervisory positions.
Laura holds a master’s degree in recreation administration from Aurora University – George Williams College, a bachelor’s degree in recreation and parks administration from Western Illinois University and an associate’s degree in recreational leadership from College of DuPage. She is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and has served as a trustee on the NEDSRA Board, chairperson and member of the Board of Regents of Professional Development School, and as chair of Joint Editorial Committee.
As a resident of West Chicago, Laura serves on the City of West Chicago Environmental Commission and is a member of the West Chicago Garden Club.
Lori Berkes-Nelson Joins the Rockford Park District as Foundation Director
Lori was raised in DeKalb, but has been a resident of the Rockford region for over 25 years. She received her Masters of Science in education and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Northern Illinois University.
Lori has over 20 years of non-profit management experience, and has devoted her professional life to non-profit viability through successful leadership, fundraising and marketing. She came to Rockford in 1987 to work for Rosecrance for 15 years her greatest accomplishment was the development of the first Adolescent Recovery Home for girls in the state of Illinois called the Monarch House.
She also served as the executive director of the Golden Apple Foundation for 11 years. Under her leadership, the organization expanded to recognize excellence throughout Winnebago and Boone County, and she increased donor and volunteer participation significantly during her tenure.
Lori was named Woman Manager of the Year by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in 2007. Additionally, she has served on several community, state and national task forces and boards including her role as the President of Econ Illinois, a statewide, non-profit organization and the premier provider of economic education programs for Illinois schools.
Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District Announces Calvin Clothier as New Recreation Supervisor
Calvin Clothier, CPRP has become the new Recreation Supervisor for the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District. Clothier comes to Rochelle after completing 2 years at the Oregon Park District as the Athletics Assistant. He earned his CPRP in the spring of 2014. Clothier is a 2012 University of Iowa graduate with a bachelor of arts in Recreational Management. He also worked for the Coralville Recreation Center as a Recreation Associate while attending the University of Iowa.
Cary Park District Names Sarah Welsh as New Program Manager.
Sarah Welsh, Cary Park District, New Hire – Program Manager responsible for youth, adult, dance, and day camp programs for the district. Sarah is a 2013 Western Illinois University graduate with a recreation, park & tourism administration degree and a minor in natural resources conservation. While in school she was a recreation intern at Roselle Park District and following graduation, she was employed at Streamwood Park District as a building attendant and registration clerk.
Hanover Park Park District Hires Liz Blake as New Recreation Supervisor
Liz Blake worked her way through the aquatic ranks at the Oak Brook Park District from lifeguard to assistant manager between 2005-09. In 2009/10, she was a supervisor for the YWCA in East Peoria. Liz accepted a second grade teaching position at the Delphi Academy of Chicago in Lombard from 2011-13. In 2013, she was named the facility coordinator for the Hanover Park Park District Seafari Springs Aquatic Center.
Geneva Park District Announces New Staff
Elliott Bortner is the new recreation supervisor for the Geneva Park District. His responsibilities include toddler, youth, family, adult and active older adult program areas. He is also responsible for the District’s special events and Cultural Art programs, held at Playhouse 38. Elliott joined GPD in September 2013 as the recreation coordinator. He previously worked for the Champaign Park District as the special events and volunteer coordinator.
Becky Densmore is the new Recreation Coordinator for the Geneva Park District. Her responsibilities include Kids’ Zone Before & After School Program, Summer Camps, teen programs, and birthday parties. Becky previously worked for All Star Sports Instruction as a head coach and joined GPD in August 2014. She completed her parks and recreation administration degree at George Williams College in Williams Bay, WI.
Kelly Wales is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, (CPRP) who joined the Geneva Park District as a recreation supervisor. She oversees the Kids’ Zone, KinderZone Before & After School Program, preschool, summer camps, day-off trips, teen programs, Birthday Parties and some special events. She previously worked at the Plainfield Park District.
St. Charles Park District Welcomes New Staff
Joshua Williams is the new Pottawatomie Community Center supervisor. Responsibilities include overseeing program registration, rentals, front desk operations, recreation programming and special event planning. He recently completed an internship with the Downers Grove Park District. Joshua is a recent graduate of Illinois College with a double major in management & organizational leadership and communication & rhetorical studies.
Cathy Medema is the new superintendent of finance and administration. She is responsible for the district’s business, human resources and IT departments. Previously, Cathy was employed as director of finance and human resources at Elmhurst Park District for 16 years and prior to that she worked as an accountant in the private sector. She is a graduate from Dominican University with a major in accounting and Benedictine University with a MBA in finance.
Laura Johns is the new Primrose Farm Educator & Lead Interpreter for the district. She is developing new and diverse program options, facilitating visitor engagement, assisting with staff and volunteer management, expanding the farm's web presence, and supporting daily farm museum operations by learning to drive tractors and milk cows. She is also spearheading several long-term projects. Laura received a BA in history and political science from Albion College and a MA in public history from Loyola University Chicago
Rosie Fasching, a recent graduate from Illinois State University with a double major in Recreation & Parks Administration and Management & Quantitative Methods, has been hired as a recreation supervisor responsible for Otter Cove Aquatic Park, youth programming and special events. Her experience includes internships with Glenview and Arlington Heights Park Districts. She is also certified with Ellis & Associates lifeguard training.
The Glenview Park District recently hired Sarah Lagesse as the new Aquatics Supervisor
Lagesse comes to the park district with a wealth of experience in aquatic operations from her work at the Elmhurst Park District where she was the Program Manager of Facilities. In her new position, Lagesse will be responsible for overseeing and managing Flick and Roosevelt Outdoor Aquatic Centers and assisting with operations at Splash Landings. She will also oversee aquatic staff training and certification. "Sarah’s knowledge, drive and leadership are a great asset to the GPD Aquatics Department,” said Amy Watson, Assistant Director of Recreation and Aquatic Services. Lagesse is a graduate of Lewis University. She is also certified as a lifeguard, an instructor trainer with StarFish Aquatics and has also worked as an instructor trainer for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.
Glenview Park District Names Alison Reicher as the new Customer Service and Rental Supervisor
The Glenview Park District recently promoted Alison Reicher to customer service and rental supervisor at Park Center (2400 Chestnut Avenue). Reicher has worked in many capacities for the park district since 2005. She was a lifeguard at Roosevelt Pool, administrative assistant in the Aquatics department and most recently, a customer service representative.
In her new position, Reicher is responsible for overseeing front desk operations, customer service and registrations at Park Center along with rentals within Park Center and at Schram Memorial Chapel. "She will be coming into this position with a strong background in the districts policies and procedures, amazing customer interactions, and the ability to create new efficiencies within the Park Center operation,” said Amy Watson, assistant director of recreation and aquatics.
Reicher is a graduate of The University of Iowa with a bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Relations and Dance. She also graduated from National Louis University this past June with a master’s in School Counseling.
New Early Childhood & Youth Program Manager Joins the Elmhurst Park District
The Elmhurst Park District is pleased to announce the addition of Julie Rushmeyer to the recreation department. Julie will take over as program manager for early childhood & youth, with a focus on developing and overseeing programs and recreational experiences for this age group.
Julie brings a breadth of experience in creating and supervising early childhood and youth programs, as she previously served as program manager for early childhood, preschool, and special recreation at Lindenhurst Park District, as well as at Lan-Oak Park District. Julie holds a Master of Science in Recreation Administration from Aurora University in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science Education (with a concentration in secondary and early childhood education) from Illinois State University.
Schaumburg Park District Announces New Hires
Derek Dvorak has been named athletics supervisor at the Schaumburg Park District. Dvorak previously worked for the Lombard Park District as the athletic program manager for five years. Derek was the athletics coordinator for the Urbana Park District from 2007 to 2009. A 2006 graduate of the University of Illinois, Dvorak earned his Master of Science degree in sports management and a Bachelor of Science in marketing in 2005.
The Schaumburg Park District would like to welcome Teresa Varco as the new early childhood supervisor. In 1999, Teresa began as a preschool teacher at the Park Ridge Park District. She then became the supervisor for preschool and early childhood in 2007. A 2003 graduate of Northeastern University, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood. Teresa currently resides in Des Plaines.
Kathleen Benson has been appointed as the Bock Neighborhood Center manager for the Schaumburg Park District. Benson joined the Glenview Park District in 2008 as the recreation supervisor after graduating from the University of Illinois in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation, sport and tourism. In 2012, Kathleen moved to the Arlington Heights Park District as the assistant golf operations supervisor. Kathleen lives in Elgin.
Mike Wold has become the Sport Center assistant manager for the Schaumburg Park District after serving as athletics supervisor since 2013. An Illinois State University graduate of 2006, Wold joined the Hanover Park Park District as the athletics supervisor after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in park and recreation administration. In 2008, Mike moved to the Itasca Park District as the athletics supervisor. Mike currently lives in Pingree Grove.
Glenview Park District Names Brian Montgomery as Manager of Program Services at the Glenview Ice Center
The Glenview Park District recently hired Brian Montgomery as the new Manager of Program Services at the Glenview Ice Center. Montgomery is a graduate of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of science in recreation, sport and tourism with a concentration in recreation management and a minor in philosophy. He completed his internship with the Glenview Park District and went on to gain valuable experience at the Mt. Prospect and Veterans Park Districts.
In his new position, he will be responsible for all Ice Center programs and special events and will oversee the figure skating director, hockey director and customer service positions, as well as general operations positions. "I am looking forward to his youthful exuberance, his creativity with programming and his warm personality in customer service,” said Jim Weides, Ice Center General Manager.
Zion Park District Names Eric Bradley as New Superintendent of Administrative Services
Eric Bradley comes to the Zion Park District with over ten years of experience in finance and accounting and has worked in both private industry and the public sector. Eric grew up in a near-by community of Wadsworth and spent much of his time enjoying the high quality recreational programs and facilities offered by the Zion Park District.
Eric received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Illinois State University and earned his MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. He is also a licensed CPA.
The Carol Stream Park District Names Jim Rueter as New Executive Director
Jim Reuter, of Elgin, has been named the executive director for the Carol Stream Park District. Reuter is currently the director for the Village of South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department. He has served there since 1997. During his tenure, he led his department to state accreditation - the first municipal department ever to do so. He is also credited with securing $3.6 million in grants and overseeing multiple construction projects including restoration of shoreline and bike trails along the Fox River. In addition, Jim founded a supporting 501C3 foundation that raises funds and manages volunteers for the department.
Reuter has served on the boards of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association and its foundation, the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association. He is an active member of the National Recreation and Parks Association, the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association and Illinois Association of Park Districts.
Park board commissioners hired the Illinois Association of Park Districts to help launch a successful nationwide search for a new director.
The Zion Park District Announces the Retirement of Doug Congdon
Doug Congdon retired from the Zion Park District after completing 43 years of service. Doug began his career at the Zion Park District in May of 1971 at the age of 15. He completed his degree in Parks and Recreation at Western Illinois University in 1978. Doug was named leisure center director in 1980 and continued his service to the Zion Park District. In 1985, Doug was named superintendent of recreation. He completed his MBA in 1989 at Keller School of Management. In 2008, Doug was named superintendent of administrative services and served in that capacity up to his retirement. His dedication to the District and to the community of Zion is greatly appreciated.
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