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Posted on: February 23, 2022

New Chicago Heights Parks Chief, Shari Demitrowicz, Starts New Era

Logo - CH Park District - edited by Kaz for city web posting News Flash section

Dr. Demitrowicz, who earned her doctorate in education from the University of Saint Francis in Joliet, will replace interim superintendent David Gonzalez who has held the post since August 2021.

 

“It has been an honor to be born and raised in Chicago Heights, a product of the school systems and being a proud active community member that has a desire to serve and make a difference,” said Dr. Demitrowicz. “And so, it will be an additional honor to serve as the Chicago Heights Park District superintendent.”

 

Park board president, Jessica Mangiaracina says Dr. Demitrowicz will provide the “integrity, professionalism” needed to clean up the park district.

 

“Under the previous park board majority and previous district superintendent, financial mismanagement, wasteful contracts, and expensive political cronyism plagued the district,” said Chicago Heights Park District Board of Commissioners President Jessica Mangiaracina. “But Dr. Demitrowicz brings to the Chicago Heights Park District integrity, professionalism, leadership, and a vision that focuses on innovative park programming for our children and families.”

 

In January 2021, Mangiaracina and fellow commissioner Curtis Straczek had proposed that the then-park board conduct an independent, forensic audit of park district spending and contracts, contracts that had benefitted family members and friends of sitting park district commissioners but were rebuffed by the then-board majority. 

 

Dr. Demitrowicz, who had most recently served as the principal at Kankakee High School and previously as principal at Serena Hills Elementary School, highlights the importance of “innovative programming” in her new role.

 

“Innovative programming is vital to creating diverse multigenerational to intergenerational experiences and interactions,” said Dr. Demitrowicz. “It is essential to provide a vision for programming that focuses on the present as well as the future in developing healthy lifestyles.”    

 

Gonzalez, who also serves as Chicago Heights’ mayor, “applauded” the board’s decision.

 

“When I assumed the interim superintendent’s post, my intention was to stabilize the district, and search, vet, and train a long-term superintendent who is committed to good governance at the park district,” said Gonzalez. “With Dr. Demitrowicz’s appointment by the board as the permanent superintendent, good governance at the park district is what Chicago Heights can expect, so I applaud the board for its decision.”

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