The Fox Valley Park District's board of trustees has a new look with the addition of four new members.
Alex Alexandrou, Gloria Bunce, Cynthia Hernandez and Robert Vaughan, all of Aurora, were sworn in during the monthly January meeting. Appointed by Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, each will serve until November 2017, when they are eligible for reappointment.
They replace outgoing board members Dan Barreiro, Nancy Hopp, Paul Greviskes, Chris Studebaker and Bill Thompson.
Existing board member Theodia Gillespie was reappointed, while DuPage County representative Rachel Ossyra was reappointed earlier this year by Chairman Dan Cronin, with her term expiring in July 2017.
North Aurora resident Aaron Anderson also was appointed, but it was learned his residence exists just outside the park district's service area border. Lauzen plans to announce a new appointee in coming weeks and will choose from an existing pool of candidates who applied.
Representation on the seven-member board of trustees is based on population proportions in the district, with six representatives from Kane County and one from DuPage.
Alexandrou is the chief administrative officer for the city of Aurora. Since moving to Aurora from Chicago in 2000, he and his family have been active participants in park district programs and events. He has served on various boards and committees.
"I welcome this opportunity to give back to the community," he said.
An avid baseball fan and youth coach, Alexandrou is particularly excited about the prospects for Stuart Sports Complex, which recently was expanded to include 37 soccer fields and 11 ball fields with lights.
"We (board members) are here to serve our residents," Alexandrou said. "I want to make sure we offer the best programs we can offer at all our facilities, and make them accessible to everyone."
Bunce, executive director at CASA Kane County, has lived in Aurora for more than two decades, raising her two children here.
"I applied to be a board member because I'm all about serving -- serving our community, our public -- the people who entrust board members to make the right decisions," Bunce said.
"If I can play a small part in that, it's very exciting. Having had two children go through park district programs since youth, it gives me great pride to continue upon that legacy."
Hernandez formerly worked in the Aurora aldermen's office and is past chairman of the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board. She's also a past participant in the park district's award-winning boxing club, made famous by Jesse "The Law" Torres, and she brings a fighting spirit to her new position.
"I'm very excited about everything that's going on with the park district because it helps create a better quality of life for our residents," Hernandez said. "I'm looking forward to further expanding our outreach and working collaboratively with other organizations in the community to put on great events for families."
Vaughan spent 27 years working for the Fox Valley Park District and was executive director from 1998 to 2005. He currently serves as the Dunham Fund executive director and is the namesake of the park district's signature facility, the Vaughan Athletic Center.
What inspired Vaughan to return in a leading role?
"The Fox Valley Park District is at the center of my heart," he said. "We're really lucky to have what we have here -- a park district that provides first-class facilities, beautiful parks and efficient operations.
"Whenever I travel, I'm reminded of how fortunate we are. There is no comparison to what we have and the services we offer. We make our communities proud."
Vaughan will serve as board president, with Bunce as vice president, Hernandez as secretary and Ossyra as treasurer.