Bennett, Ayers seek re-election to Parkland College board

CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College trustees James L. Ayers of Monticello and Thomas M. Bennett of Gibson City filed their respective nomination petitions seeking re-election in the April 9 consolidated election. 

Ayers and Bennett have more than 40 years of combined trusteeship and leadership at Parkland College, at the state level through the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) and at the national level through the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), representing the governing board members of the 1,200 community colleges nationwide.   

Bennett is employed as an insurance company information technology manager. He was appointed to the Parkland board in 1995, then elected three times. He currently serves as chairman of the board.

Bennett was also the first Illinois trustee elected to chair the ACCT. As chairman, he helped to create a new partnership with other community college organizations that pushed for a new and greater system of accountability. Bennett is also a past president of the ICCTA and has served in a variety of committee chair and member positions in both the ACCT and ICCTA. 

Meanwhile, Ayers, an attorney and business owner, was first elected in 1989 to a six-year term on the Parkland board and has been re-elected three times since.  He was recently honored as Monticello Citizen of the Year and has received the M. Dale Ensign Trustee of the Year Award at the national level and the Ray Harstein Trustee Award at the state level.  The awards were in recognition of his seven years of service on the board of directors of the ACCT and several years of service to the ICCTA. Ayers is a past board chairman on the Parkland board and past president of the ICCTA.

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