Neighbors in the News: Oakton administrator elected to serve on national board

• Palatine resident Katherine Sawyer, Oakton Community College's chief advancement officer, is among four higher education leaders elected to serve on the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier member organization for strategic board governance in higher education.

In addition to her role as chief advancement officer, Sawyer also serves as Oakton's associate vice president of Marketing and Communications. She oversees the work of the college's educational foundation, alumni and affinity programs, marketing and communication, legislative affairs and community relations.

Sawyer came to Oakton Community College in 2018 after serving as executive director of Institutional Advancement and Foundation at Elgin Community College. She also previously served as associate executive director of the Harper College Educational Foundation at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine.

"I am honored to be named a director for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges," Sawyer said. "AGB strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. It's the trusted resource for board members, chief executives and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership."

Ron Bannon, director of Public Works, city of Highland Park. Courtesy of city of Highland Park

• Ron Bannon, deputy director of Public Works for the city of Highland Park, will serve as Highland Park's new director of Public Works, following the departure of longtime director/assistant city manager Ramesh Kanapareddy.

As deputy director, Bannon was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Operations division, with oversight of, streets, sewer, water distribution, facilities, fleet and forestry, where he implemented operational efficiencies, environmentally friendly improvements, and other refinements. Prior to his tenure in Highland Park, Bannon served as director of Public Works for the village of Lansing.

"I am honored to lead the incredible team at Public Works," said Bannon. "With more than 80 full- and part-time staff members across our four divisions, the Department of Public Works consistently delivers responsive and anticipatory service to Highland Park and to our water service subscribers in communities throughout the North Shore. I look forward to continuing our work to maintain and enhance the city's critical infrastructure, provide high-quality potable water, offer reliable public transit, and invest in preserving Highland Park's natural resources."

Bhumika Puklin, member of the Palatine Public Library District Board of Library Trustees Courtesy of Palatine Public Library

• On Sept. 20, Bhumika Puklin was sworn in as a member of the Palatine Public Library District Board of Library Trustees to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of board member Andrea Vanderhoek. Puklin's term will expire May 2023.

Puklin is a registered nurse working in the neuroscience intensive care unit at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. She is a former high school English teacher and holds a Master of Science degree in nursing and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

A frequent library user, Puklin lives in Palatine with her two children. She has served as a volunteer in several organizations and has participated in Spanish immersion activities.

Krystal Hernandez in her JROTC uniform at Waukegan High School. Courtesy of Terry Waddell-Moenter

• Krystal Hernandez of Waukegan attended Illini Girls State, a weeklong summer program dedicated to providing training for young women in city, county and state government. Krystal was sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 281 of Waukegan.

Attendees at Illini Girls State form their own government on three levels - city, county and state. They hear from guest speakers in the political arena (present and past), veterans and/or active servicemen and women, American Legion Auxiliary members, and motivational speakers.

Over 400 Illinois students attend Illini Girls State each year in June at Eastern Illinois University.

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