October 28, 2021

Kankakee, IL (October 28, 2021) – The City of Kankakee has a new Community Outreach Coordinator. Samantha Rocknowski has joined the Kankakee Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA) as Rachel Schramm’s successor under the leadership of Executive Director Barbi Brewer-Watson.

“The Community Outreach Coordinator is significant to the ECDA team’s work that has a positive impact for the City,” states Director Brewer-Watson. “With Samantha’s teaching experience, ECDA will be able to provide better educational materials and events that will help engage residents to take advantage of the programs we offer.”

Samantha’s duties entail building civic engagement and collecting quantifiable data that will be used to report and monitor ECDA grants. The more data collected, the better informed the ECDA team will be to address the needs of the community and appropriately direct federal funds.

After graduating from Bishop McNamara Catholic High School in 2006, Samantha continued her education at Western Illinois University. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in History and Professional Educator’s License. Following a brief time serving as a Petitioning Coordinator and Campaign Manager for three different candidates for office, Samantha returned home to the Kankakee area and accepted employment as a Social Studies Teacher at Kankakee High School. While teaching American Government and African-American History, she also sponsored the high school’s student environmental club, Green Team, and supported the theatre productions as Assistant Director.

Through her experience as a local educator, Samantha has built many relationships with numerous members of the community. She has also served on the Kankakee County Teen Court and Kankakee County Humane Foundation (KCHF) board of directors and continues to be an active volunteer with the KCHF. Samantha says she is looking forward to reaching an audience beyond her classroom where excellent conversations have taken place about the successes of Kankakee and the potential this city has to become even better.

“I am thrilled to be part of the ECDA and City of Kankakee. I grew up in Bourbonnais, but I have thought of Kankakee as my home for many years as this is where I have worked and where my favorite hangouts are located. I love this city and as my former students will tell you, I am very passionate about creating the change you want to see. If there is an aspect of this beautiful community you are unhappy with, then please get involved and help improve it,” said Community Outreach Coordinator, Samantha Rocknowski.

“Samantha Rocknowski is a true asset to this position and will elevate the ECDA’s inclusive outreach efforts”, says Mayor Chris Curtis. “She has been an active member of our community in previous roles and her experience will better help to inform the City of Kankakee’s residents about the resources available to them.”


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About the Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA):

The Kankakee Economic and Community Development (ECDA) is a local government agency whose mission is to improve the lives of Kankakee residents and enhance the economic vitality of communities through housing, economic development and community development. The ECDA administers programs that serve the neighborhoods and residents of the City of Kankakee provided by federal, state and local funding. For more information, contact ECDA at 815-933-0506, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit our website at


About the City of Kankakee, Illinois:

The City of Kankakee is dedicated to protecting, building and nurturing the community while enhancing lives. We are a historic, vibrant and active riverfront community. We continue to transform into an extraordinary place to dream, grow and thrive. Embracing our diversity, we strive to be progressive, inclusive and innovative. For more information on the City of Kankakee, please visit the website at