Staff Directory

Park Board

Meet our Board of Park Commissioners

Cal Bernstein

President

Calvin “Cal” Bernstein, was re-elected to the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners in April 2019. Throughout his tenure, he has exhibited strong leadership as the chairman of the Park District’s Finance Committee and currently as President of the Board of Commissioners. His pivotal role as the Park Board liaison on the GreenPrint 2024 project team and as chairman of the Golf Committee overseeing the renovation of Sunset Valley Golf Club highlights his commitment to the Park District’s growth and development.

Cal’s extensive community involvement spans over 22 years, during which he has coached numerous Park District-sponsored house and travel baseball teams. His service as a former City of Highland Park Zoning Board of Appeals member and as a charter member of the Highland Park Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) further demonstrates his dedication to public service.

Cal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law. Currently, he serves as a named partner in the law firm Samuels & Bernstein. Together with his wife Julie and their children, Cal continues to be an active user of the Park District’s programs and facilities.

Jennifer Freeman

Vice President

Jen began her journey of local voluntarism shortly after settling in Highland Park in 2010. She has held leadership positions on community boards and committees such as the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, Highland Park Historical Society, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), NSSD 112 Caucus and NSSD112 Reconfiguration 2.0 Community Team. As a board member for the Parks Foundation of Highland Park she worked closely with the Park District administration to help raise awareness and funding for the SMILE Grant-in-Aid program for those in our community who are financially unable to participate in Park District programming.

Jen is a former practicing litigator and currently holds a senior business development role for a Chicago tech company. Prior to this, she leveraged her litigation and legislative/regulatory expertise into a fifteen-year tenure in legal tech consulting for two large advisory firms.

Jen appreciates the effort and planning it takes to balance a budget and achieve balance as a working mom. With three elementary-aged kids, her personal experience with Park District facilities and programs inspired her to participate in the success and innovation of both going forward. She champions intergovernmental cooperation and has considerable knowledge of and familiarity with other local governing entities and organizations. Jen brings her dedication to Highland Park, knowledge of and love for the Park District, and prior local board experience to the Park Board.

Terry Grossberg

Commissioner

Terry Grossberg enjoys his term on the Park Board and serves as the Park Board liaison to the Human Relations Advisory Group (HRAG). He is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Music Education as well. Terry retired from teaching in 2022 after 36 years in education at all levels.

Terry and his wife Marla moved to Highland Park in 1993. They made the move in part because of the parks and lakefront which made Highland Park stand out above other communities. Along with their two children, Emily and Danny, they are still proud to call Highland Park home.

Terry is a passionate volunteer and dedicates much of his free time to a variety of causes. Aside from his work with the HRAG, he also helps organize the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, volunteers at the Moraine Township Food Pantry and helps out around the city and township whenever he is needed.

Terry’s new endeavor is as a Teen Board Advisor for Gratitude Generation, a local charitable organization whose mission is to instill gratitude in future generations through education and service. Additionally, he is the Conductor and Director of Music of the Crystal Lake Community Band in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Terry is an avid tennis, paddle and pickleball player who also enjoys finding sea glass at Moraine Beach, taking walks to Millard Beach and The Preserve with his family and their dog Shady, and of course hitting the links at Sunset Valley Golf Club.

Brian Kaplan

Commissioner

Brian Kaplan’s passion for the Park District of Highland Park was born from his own experience forming, coaching and managing a local youth travel baseball team for six years.

Elected to the Park District Board of Commissioners in April 2011, he currently co-chairs the Athletics, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Recreation Center of Highland Park, Senior Program, Sunset Valley Golf Course, Sustainability, and Youth Program Advisory Committees. He also serves as the Park Board liaison to the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA).

A member of the law firm of Dickler Kahn Slowikowski & Zavell, Brian has over 28 years of litigation experience representing parties in civil litigation matters, including personal injury claims, contract matters, product liability claims, medical malpractice claims, third party and employers’ liability claims, and arson claims. In addition, for the past 14 years he has handled workers’ compensation claims on behalf of employers.

Brian’s legal work is concentrated in all phases of trial work. He has successfully defended employers in numerous arbitration hearings and oral arguments before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, as well as several Circuit Court and Appellate Court appeals.

A Highland Park resident since 1969, Brian remains dedicated to the ongoing improvement of the community. He has two children with his wife Julie, who are all frequent users of the Park District of Highland Park programs and facilities.

Barnett Ruttenberg

Commissioner

Barnett (Barney) Ruttenberg was re-elected to the Park Board of Commissioners in 2019. He serves as the Park Board Commissioner and as a member of the Finance Committee. Having earned his BA from the University of Illinois and his JD from Northwestern Law School, Barney’s legal career focused on Real Estate transactions. His ability to listen to people, synthesize information, and negotiate solutions to problems serves him well in public service.

Serving on the Park Board is another in a long list of Barney’s public service contributions. While actively engaged in his legal career, Barney served as a member and chairman of the Highland Park Plan Commission. He served on the Lakefront Advisory Committee, the Rosewood Beach Task Force, and on his synagogue’s school board. Barney offered pro bono counsel to Openlands in the acquisition and development of the Fort Sheridan nature preserve site.

Raising two sons in Highland Park, the family enthusiastically used many of the Park District’s programs, camps, and facilities. As energetic adults, he and his wife Marsha are frequent users of the Recreation Center of Highland Park.  Barney served as Commodore of the North Dhore Yacht Club.

With a wealth of professional experience, his finger on the pulse of the community, and a focus on fiscal responsibility, Barney is well prepared to represent the residents of Highland Park as they look to the Park District to provide excellent programs, services, and facilities for residents of all ages.

Administration

Brian
Romes
Executive Director
847.579.3119
Mitch
Carr
Deputy Director of Facilities and Operations
847.579.3105
Nick
Baird
Director of Recreation
847.579.3111
Elizabeth
Gogola
Director of Communications & Marketing
847.579.3136
Laurel
Hall
Director of Human Resources and Workforce Development
847.579.3107
Mari-Lynn
Peters
Director of Finance
847.579.3138
Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning, Projects, & IT
847.579.3109
Dan
Voss
Director of Parks
847.579.3130
Kari
Acevedo
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.4051
Jessica
Reyes
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.3118
Roxanne
Hejnowski
Executive Coordinator
847.579.3190

Aquatics

Kari
Acevedo
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.4051
Matt
Hartnett
Aquatics Manager
847.579.4061
Alex
Casler
Aquatics Supervisor – Programs
847.579.4050
Debbie
Yakimisky
Aquatics Supervisor – Lakefront
847.579.4062

Athletics

Jessica
Reyes
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.3118
Michael
Divincenzo
Recreation Manager – Athletics
847.579.3198
Eric
Golmon
Athletic Supervisor
847.579.3129
Troy
Hoffmann
Athletic Supervisor
847.579.3124

Centennial Ice Arena

Jessica
Reyes
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.3118
Carol
Sassorossi
Recreation Program Manager
847.579.4103
Stephanie
Sylvester
Recreation Supervisor
847.579.4108
Erik
Kuffell
Recreation Facilities Coordinator
847.579.4102
Tori
Rowe
Gymnastics Coordinator
847.579.4106
Deb
Jenssen
Skating Coordinator
847.579.4104

Deer Creek Racquet Club

Nick
Baird
Director of Recreation
847.579.3111
Robyn
Zullo
Manager
847.579.4125
Chris
Visconti
Head Tennis Professional
847.579.4123
Mayra
Rodriguez
Tennis Recreation Coordinator
847.579.4120
Richard
Watson
Assistant Head Tennis Professional
847.579.4127
Hristo
Pandulev
Full-Time Tennis Professional
847.433.5450
Cyrus
Khazai
Full-Time Tennis Professional
847.433.5450

Finance

Mari-Lynn
Peters
Director of Finance
847.579.3138
Agnes
Baczek
Accounting Manager
847.579.3116
Oana
Moraru
Accountant
847.579.3102
Samantha
Santizo
Accounts Payable Administrator
847.579.3140
Jennifer
Voss
Finance and Administrative Assistant
847.579.3113

Heller Nature Center

Jessica
Reyes
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.3118
Meghan
Meredith
Program Manager
847.579.4183
Mark
Bryant
Naturalist Teacher
847.579.4184
Kerrick
Goodman-Lucker
Naturalist Teacher
847.579.4182
Cara
Wren
Office Coordinator
847.579.4181

Hidden Creek AquaPark

Kari
Acevedo
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.4051
Matt
Hartnett
Aquatics Manager
847.579.4061
Alex
Casler
Aquatics Supervisor – Programs
847.579.4050

Highland Park Golf Learning Center & River’s Edge Mini Golf

Ryan
Ochs
General Manager / Superintendent of Golf Operations
847.579.4158
Rob
Saunders
Manager of Programs & Services / PGA Professional
847.579.4162

Human Resources

Laurel
Hall
Director of Human Resources and Workforce Development
847.579.3107
Patrick
Noonan
Compliance and Risk Manager
847.579.3120
AJ
Katzenstein
HR and Payroll Coordinator
847.579.3189

Information Technology

Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning, Projects, & IT
847.579.3109
Jeremy
Good
Information Technology Manager
847.579.3115
Bryant
Jackson
Network Administrator
847.579.3144
Sue
Pero
Information Technology Technician
847.579.3160

Marketing

Elizabeth
Gogola
Director of Communications & Marketing
847.579.3136
Kris
Sanchez
Creative Marketing Supervisor
847.579.3147
Natalie
Wong
Digital Marketing Specialist
847.579.3145
Rachel
Jacoby
Marketing Coordinator
847.579.3114
Olivia
Wallace
Marketing Technician
847.579.4086
Nik
Lapin
Development and Corporate Relation Manager
847.971.0718

Parks

Dan
Voss
Director of Parks
847.579.3130
Brian
Dumas
Parks Operation Manager
847.579.4175
Glenn
Nance
Parks Landscape Manager
847.579.4175
Liz
Ricketts
Natural Areas Manager
847.579.4087

Planning

Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning, Projects, & IT
847.579.3109
Amalia
Schwartz
Planning Manager
847.579.4090
Ben
Kutscheid
Projects Manager
847.579.3104
Mike
Evans
Landscape Architect
847.579.4085
Casey
Lawler
Planning & Projects Supervisor
847.579.3106

Recreation

Jessica
Reyes
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.3118
Julie
Nichols
Recreation Program Manager
847.579.3131
Amanda
Geoffrion
Recreation Supervisor-Early Childhood Enrichment
847.579.3121
Lauren
Marchetto
Recreation Supervisor – Arts and Youth Enrichment
847.579.3123

Recreation Center of Highland Park

Kari
Acevedo
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.4051
Jodi
DiTomasso
Fitness Manager
847.579.4049
Joanne
Kelly
Membership Services Supervisor
847.579.4045

Registration

Kari
Acevedo
Assistant Director of Recreation
847.579.4051
Caitlin
Deptula
Customer Experience Manager
847.579.3133
Michele
Long
Registration Specialist – Accounting
847.579.3101
Dolores
Daley
Registration Coordinator
847.579.4040
Juan
Martinez
Registration Coordinator
847.579.4040
Jami
Buss
Customer/Member Experience Coordinator
847.579.4040

Rentals

Mitch
Carr
Deputy Director of Facilities and Operations
847.579.3105
Debbie
Pierce
District Wide Rental Manager
847.579.4047
Ann
Scheuer
Rental Coordinator
847.579.3103

Sunset Valley Golf Club

Ryan
Ochs
General Manager / Superintendent of Golf Operations
847.579.4158
Cole
Sangern
Golf Operations Manager / PGA Associate
847.579.4161
Harry
Pierson
Assistant Golf Course Superintendent
847.579.4159