Q&A: Kenilworth Village President Cecily Kaz Talks Plans, Priorities and Her Perfect Day in Kenilworth

Cecily Kaz, 46, has played the role of architect/engineer as a sustainability consultant, wife, mom, soccer coach and Kenilworth Village Trustee. On May 17 she took on yet another title as she was sworn in as Kenilworth Village President. She is married to Arthur Kaz and has three children, Henry, 12, Kian, 10, and Charlie, 7. Before being sworn in, Kaz shared a bit about herself with us. 

What are your top priorities for your village as you start in your new role as Village President?

This year marks Kenilworth’s 125th anniversary. As Village President, I must balance our infrastructure needs with responsible planning for future generations. I will continue to execute on our five-year capital improvement plan and will expand that scope to include updates to two major village anchors — our business district and our lakefront.

What’s something great about your village that people who don’t live there might not know about?

Courtesy of Village of Kenilworth

Kenilworth has long been a destination for architecture buffs, but many visitors miss our historic green spaces like Mahoney Park, a wildflower and bird sanctuary designed by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen in 1933. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Mahoney Park sits on both sides of Sheridan Road at the southeast corner of Kenilworth and is a wonderful place to take a walk and look out over the lake.

What’s something in your village that needs improvement and how will you address it?

While the village currently relies on traditional methods of communication to keep people informed of important topics, I would like to offer broader channels using newer technologies like email, social media, online surveys, and apps. We are fortunate to have so many engaged and talented residents and we should constantly strive to improve community dialogue.  

If you had a whole day to spend in your village and the weather was perfect, where would you go and what would you do?

Courtesy of Village of Kenilworth

I would start early and take our dog for a long walk — I’m always on the lookout for ideas for my garden and I’ll never tire of admiring our many old homes. If I’m not watching a soccer game at Townley Field, then spending an afternoon at Kenilworth Beach would be followed up with dinner in the backyard. We love to cook out with friends! 

​Who is someone in your village who inspires you and why?

Courtesy of Village of Kenilworth

There is an impressive list of Kenilworth residents who volunteer their time to make our village better — by organizing events, caring for our public gardens, or supporting youth sports and scouting — to name just a few. I am inspired by this spirit of public service which stretches back to our village’s founding, and hope that my efforts do justice to this long, proud history.

What is your favorite charitable cause or causes?

It is difficult for me to name a favorite but one of my longtime associations is with Chicago-based VOCEL (“Viewing Our Children as Emerging Leaders”), which provides programming for young children, families, and schools in under-resourced communities. VOCEL’s methods are rooted in scientific research of early brain development, and build the cognitive, social, and language skills necessary for children to succeed upon entering kindergarten. More information on this very worthy mission can be found on their website.

What do you want the residents of your village to know about you as you step into your new role?

Residents should know that I am accessible, and I will devote whatever time is necessary. Most days you can find me at Sears drop-off or pick up. I also strongly encourage attendance and participation at our public meetings.

What is a fun little-known fact about you?

I’ve been taking ukulele lessons. I’m not yet very good, but I do find it fun and relaxing!

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Amanda Marrazzo lives in the northwest Chicago suburb of Algonquin. She has been a news reporter for 25 years, including 17 years writing for the Chicago Tribune. She is married with two adult daughters and two dogs.