Staff Directory

Park Board

Meet our Board of Park Commissioners

Barnett Ruttenberg

President

Barnett (Barney) Ruttenberg was re-elected to the Park Board of Commissioners in 2019. He serves as the Park Board president 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 and Park Avenue Beach where Barney enjoys sailing and kayaking. Active in the North Shore Yacht Club, Barney served as both Commodore and Board President.

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.

Terry Grossberg

Vice President

Terry Grossberg is enjoying his first term on the Park Board and serves as the Park Board liaison to the Parks Foundation of Highland Park. 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. Terry has been a teacher for 34 years and currently serves as the Instrumental Music Department Chairman in Deerfield District 109.

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

Terry is a passionate volunteer and dedicates most of his free time to a variety of causes. He is the liaison to the City’s Human Relations Advisory Group (HRAG), organizer of the MLK Day of Service, a volunteer for the Moraine Township Food Pantry and the Stupey Cabin Restoration. Terry is a recipient of the City’s Character Counts Award and is the founder of HPForward – a pro-kindness initiative on the North Shore.

As the head of HPForward, Terry has helped build a community of over 1,200 – mostly Highland Park residents, which aims to volunteer more, do more random acts of kindness, and overall simply look out for each other around town. The HPForward community has done several initiatives around town, but the two of which he is proudest are “Dinners with Dignity”, in conjunction with Catholic Charities at St. James Church in Highwood and “Tree Hugs.” In the past year, Tree Hugs provided coats and other warm winter gear to over 200 residents in less fortunate neighborhoods.

Terry is an avid tennis, paddle and pickle ball player and enjoys playing golf at Sunset Valley Golf Club.

Cal Bernstein

Commissioner

Re-Elected to the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners in April 2019, Calvin (“Cal”) Bernstein was named chairman of the Park District’s Finance Committee in 2011. He co-chairs the Golf and the Baseball Advisory Committees and serves as the Park Board liaison on the Greenprint 2024 project team.

His commitment to Highland Park and its ongoing success is shown through his community involvement. Over the last 22 years, Cal has coached dozens of Park District-sponsored house and travel baseball teams. He is a former member of the City of Highland Park Zoning Board of Appeals and currently serves as a charter member of the Highland Park Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Cal Bernstein earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and holds a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law. Currently, he is a named partner in the law firm Samuels & Bernstein. Cal, his wife Julie, and his children continue to be active users of the Park District programs and facilities.

Jennifer Freeman

Commissioner

Jennifer Freeman is serving her first term as a Park Commissioner.

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.

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.

Administration

Brian
Romes
Executive Director
847.579.3119
Mitch
Carr
Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3105
Elizabeth
Gogola
Director of Communications & Marketing
847.579.3136
Mari-Lynn
Peters
Director of Finance
847.579.3138
Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning & Projects
847.579.3109
Dan
Voss
Director of Parks
847.579.3130
Chris
Kopka
Director of Human Resources & Workforce Strategy
847.579.3107
Chris
Maliszewski
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3108
Amy
Murrin
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3111
Roxanne
Hejnowski
Executive Coordinator
847.579.3190

Athletics

Chris
Maliszewski
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3108
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

Chris
Maliszewski
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3108
Carol
Sassorossi
Recreation Program Manager
847.579.4103
Stephanie
Sylvester
Recreation Supervisor
847.579.4108
Erik
Kuffell
Recreation Facilities Coordinator
847.579.4102
Sheila
Lonergan
Skating Coordinator
847.579.4104
Deb
Dean
Gymnastics Coordinator
847.579.4106

Deer Creek Racquet Club

Amy
Murrin
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
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
Maria
Jaba
Senior Accountant
847.579.3102
Samantha
Santizo
Accounts Payable Administrator
847.579.3140
Jennifer
Voss
Finance and Administrative Assistant
847.579.3113

Heller Nature Center

Chris
Maliszewski
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3108
Jessica
Reyes
Manager
847.579.4182
Amy
Banner
Naturalist
847.579.4184
Meghan
Meredith
Naturalist
847.579.4183

Hidden Creek AquaPark

Amy
Murrin
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3111
Kari
Acevedo
Aquatics Manager
847.579.4051
Shelby
Mepham
Aquatics Supervisor – Programs
847.579.4050

Highland Park Golf Learning Center

Rob
Saunders
Manager of Programs & Services / PGA Professional
847.579.4162

Human Resources

Chris
Kopka
Director of Human Resources & Workforce Strategy
847.579.3107
Nick
Kapetan
Manager of Human Relations, Employee Development and Safety
847.579.3117
Rebecca
Rooks
Payroll & HRIS Coordinator
847.579.3189

Information Technology

Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning & Projects
847.579.3109
Dan
Johnson
IT Manager
847.579.3115
Bryant
Jackson
Network Administrator
847.579.3144

Marketing

Elizabeth
Gogola
Director of Communications & Marketing
847.579.3136
Nik
Lapin
Advertising & Sponsorship Lead
847.971.0718
Kris
Sanchez
Creative Marketing Supervisor
847.579.3147
Ryca
Shih
Marketing Technician
847.579.4086
Natalie
Wong
Digital Marketing Specialist
847.579.3145

Parks

Dan
Voss
Director of Parks
847.579.3130
Brian
Dumas
Parks Operation Manager
847.579.4175
Rebecca
Grill
Natural Areas Manager
847.579.4087

Planning

Jeff
Smith
Director of Planning & Projects
847.579.3109
Mike
Evans
Landscape Architect
847.579.4085
Amalia
Schwartz
Project & Planning Manager
847.579.4090

Recreation

Chris
Maliszewski
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3108
Julie
Nichols
Recreation Program Manager
847.579.3131
Angie
Fee
Recreation Supervisor
847.579.3121
Chris
Holling
Recreation Supervisor
847.579.3123

Recreation Center of Highland Park

Amy
Murrin
Assistant Director of Recreation & Facilities
847.579.3111
Jodi
DiTomasso
Fitness Manager
847.579.4049
Kari
Acevedo
Aquatics Manager
847.579.4051
Joanne
Kelly
Membership Services Supervisor
847.579.4045
Shelby
Mepham
Aquatics Supervisor – Programs
847.579.4050
Eric
Gonzalez
Lakefront Aquatics Supervisor
847.579.4061

Registration

Caitlin
Deptula
Customer Experience Manager
847.579.3133
Michele
Long
Registration Specialist – Accounting
847.579.3101
Sean
Berry
Registration Coordinator
847.579.4040
Dolores
Daley
Registration Coordinator
847.579.4040

Rentals

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
Facility Supervisor
847.579.4161
Harry
Pierson
Assistant Golf Course Superintendent
847.579.4159