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Jan Arnold Named Director of Park Board

"Dynamic, ebullient" Oak Park resident named to park district's top spot.

has announced its new executive director, Jan Arnold. She'll replace Gary Balling, who's held the seat for the past 12 years.

Arnold, an Oak Park resident, is leaving her post as executive director of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association to take the job in her hometown. Here's her LinkedIn profile. The park board announced their choice at a special meeting held on Tuesday. 

Here's the Park District's release: 

The Park District of Oak Park Board of Commissioners is pleased to announce the selection of Jan R. Arnold, 44, as the new Executive Director. Arnold has held various positions of increasing responsibility within the parks and recreation field, most recently as the Executive Director of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association. An Oak Park resident, Arnold earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Youth Agency Administration from Murray State University and a Masters of Science degree in Sports Administration from Indiana University. She was a Recreation Management Specialist in the United States Air Force before joining the staff of the Wheeling Park District where she worked for seven years and was eventually promoted to Superintendent of Recreation Facilities. Arnold has also worked for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago during which time she earned her Masters of Business Administration from The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

“She brings a unique breadth and depth of managerial accomplishment that fits well with the mission and goals of the Park District of Oak Park. We’re confident she will continue to position our organization for future growth and success.” states Park Board President Marty Bracco. “Jan has a dynamic and ebullient personality which we're certain will be embraced by the staff and the community. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her commitment to Oak Park is evident through her involvement in the Park District’s Citizen Committee and the Longfellow PTO.”

Over 90 applicants from across the country expressed interest in the Executive Director position. “While the choice was difficult, we are thrilled at the result. We look forward to Jan’s leadership,” said Bracco, “as the Park District moves forward with several major capital improvement projects while maintaining the many important community partnerships we have developed through the years.” Arnold will replace Gary F. Balling who is retiring after more than 12 years of service to the Oak Park community.

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