My name is Kathleen Porreca, and I’d like your vote for park district commissioner.

 I’m running for park board because I am proud of the Park District of Oak Park. I love our parks, and after serving for the past four years on the Park District Citizen Committee, I want to do more to help actively lead our parks to continued excellence.

Here’s a little about me: I’m an educator. I taught high school for 10 years, and then I became an administrator. At the high school level, I’ve been a dean, assistant principal, and principal, and I’m currently the principal of Elm Middle School in Elmwood Park.

As an educator, I’m committed to programs for youth and adolescents, and I have a great concern for equity.

I grew up on the North Side of the city, not far away. My very best friend settled here with her husband over 25 years ago, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the years getting to know Oak Park.

Seven years ago, when I was moving home to the Chicago area from central Illinois, my husband Dave and I selected Oak Park as our home. As adults with no kids at home, our participation in the parks leans toward the “senior” end of adult programs, the dog parks, and special events.

Becoming a member of the Park District Citizen Committee was a way for me to become directly involved in serving the community, learn more about the park district on a deep level, and make a contribution. 

One of my proudest accomplishments early on as a member of the PDCC was contributing my expertise as a school administrator to increasing the number of families who know about and access the scholarships available to those in financial need so that they can participate in park district programs. 

In 2012, scholarships were underutilized — only $9,000 was disbursed. Since the implementation of my suggestions, we have increased that number, and last year, over $32,000 in scholarships was utilized. 

As a member of the Park District Comprehensive Master Plan Task Force last year, I spent many hours with the team helping to design the community survey and analyzing the results; attending community meetings to listen to residents’ ideas and visions for the future direction of the parks; and crafting the final plan presented to the board for their approval and action. That process, along with the monthly PDCC meetings I’ve participated in for the four years I’ve been a member, and the many park board meetings I’ve attended, has given me a deep and comprehensive understanding of how the entire park district operates. 

I’m well informed about the many facets of our park district and well prepared to step into the job of elected board member. I will be an effective and educated contributor from day one on the board.

I’m running as part of a slate with incumbent board members Victor Guarino and Paul Aeschleman, who have accomplished great things in their first term and are seeking re-election. Please support all three of us with your votes.

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