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Park Board welcomes Micaela Smith as new Commissioner

Diversity considered a strength as Smith is unanimously approved

Micaela Smith
Micaela Smith is sworn in by Senior Superintendent Sharon Desjardins, while Commissioners Pat Gulotta, Jim Long, and John Kelly witness.
by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (October 16, 2017) – “You have to represent the people you’re serving,” says Park Board Commissioner Pat Gulotta. “You just have to.” In adding Micaela Smith to the Park Board of Commissioners, he believes the Board can continue the momentum they’ve begun building, particularly in the past two years.

Micaela Smith
From left: Smith’s father and mother, Kenny and Marcia Smith, document her appointment and first meeting, and Superintendents Michelle Havran and Oralethea Davenport welcome the addition to the Board.
Smith is perfectly willing to “represent.” A young black woman, she understands that many minorities feel intimidated by political networks and layered systems they haven’t been a part of. She is straightforward about expressing a hope that her example will inspire others like her.

Her appointment to the Park Board is her first political involvement at the municipal level, but she brings a wealth of political experience to the role. Professionally, Smith is Chief of Staff for State Representative Marcus Evans, so she is profoundly familiar with state and county government. The Park Board is eager to learn from her experience and connections.

And Smith is eager to add her energy to what she sees the team already doing. Impressed with the variety of programs and amenities available through the Lan-Oak Park District, she wants to encourage more Lansing residents to take advantage of them and get involved. She has made it a personal mission to find new ways to communicate and educate, so more people can learn about everything the Park District offers.

“We have everything here!” she says. “Why go to another park in another village? Start using Lansing—we have the same things, and your tax dollars are already paying for them! People need to know what’s here.”

Education and Engagement—those are the two words Smith uses to summarize what she hopes to accomplish as a Park Board Commissioner. “I’m proud of Lansing,” she says, “and I believe other people are too. If you want to know how to get involved and make a difference, come talk to me.”

Micaela Smith
Clockwise from bottom left: Park District staff members Sharon Desjardins, Michelle Havran, and Oralethea Davenport participate in meetings with Park Board Commissioners Robert Tropp, Micaela Smith, Jim Long, Patrick Gulotta, and John Kelly.

Updated Lansing Parks to be proud of:

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. Congratulations to Ms. Smith! I know she will to a great job as Commissioner of the Park district.

    Brenda Dixon Hill

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