Connie Newport recently retired as the Executive Director of the Park District of Highland Park, Highland Park, Illinois where she worked for 28 years. She has a B.S. in Recreation and Park Administration from the University of Illinois and served on the Department's Advisory Board and is one its past presidents. She received the department's Joseph Bannon Award in 1999. Connie also has a M.S. in Public Administration from Roosevelt University. She served for many years on the board of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and is a past president of the association and a recipient of the IPRA Outstanding Professional Award. Connie was appointed by Illinois Governor Ryan to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Advisory Board which oversees grants and natural resource issues. She represented Illinois for many years on the Great Lakes Regional Council and was a fund-raiser for the Ahren's Institute.