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Sep. 11, 2017 #94-253 a2z
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Marion ready to promote hometown

John Dykstra
jdykstra@daily-journal.com

Sarah Marion has spent the past six years teaching first grade at Manteno Elementary School. Now, she will promote her hometown as executive director of the Manteno Chamber of Commerce and the village's event planner.

Marion replaces Staci Wilken, who last month became executive director of the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Marion's first official day on the job was Monday. The village and chamber will split her $48,000 salary and benefits.

Marion, 33, moved to Manteno when she was 5 years old. She holds a bachelor's degree in corporate communications and public relations from Northern Illinois University.

She worked in public relations a few years before earning her master's degree in teaching from National Louis University in Chicago. After that, she taught at Manteno elementary.

Now, she's back in the business world.

"I have to say, this is my dream job, working for the community I pretty much grew up in and lived my entire life," Marion said. "I look forward to bringing forth my background knowledge and my new ideas to continue to make Manteno a great place to live."

Marion's goals are to encourage more businesses to join the chamber and to continue Manteno's gradual growth while maintaining its small town feel. She plans to expand the farmers market and get Manteno students more involved with the village.

She will spend the next few weeks meeting business owners face-to-face, as well as preparing for events such as Music in Manteno and the village's first golf cart parade on June 17.

"She's jumping into a position where she's going to be very busy immediately," Mayor Tim Nugent said. "She's got a lot of events coming up, and that's a good thing. She's going to do a very good job."

The village received 34 applications for the position and interviewed 14 people before whittling the pool down to four finalists.

Those finalists had to make a persuasive presentation regarding a hypothetical situation in which the village wanted to have a craft beer festival with split support from village trustees.

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