Between the lines: Dan Kenney


By Maria Ahmad

Dan Kenney may be a fourth grade teacher by profession but he is also an activist for community sustainability and change in DeKalb.

Kenney grew up in Galva, Ill., a small town with mostly locally owned businesses and tight-knit neighborhoods. Growing up in this atmosphere influenced Kenney’s commitment to his work with community development in DeKalb today. Kenney is currently the coordinator for the DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Justice, co-founder of No Private Armies, and executive director of DeKalb Community Gardens.

“Well first I became involved in the one effort and then another, and one by one my connection to the community grew stronger and stronger,” Kenney said. “I find that if one looks around at all the work there is to do to make a community strong for all its members, and if you devote your time and effort to one effort and then another soon you are involved in the community.”

Kenney received his bachelor’s degree in education from NIU. He has been involved in the field of education for over 35 years, and serves on the Board of Directors of the DeKalb Teachers’ Union Local of the American Federation of Teachers.

Kenney also serves as the energy manager and educator for the DeKalb Community School district. He also serves as a mayoral appointment to the City of DeKalb citizens’ environmental commission.

“What this [being sustainable] means for me is that we honor the resources we have and we do all we can to preserve and enhance them for future generations,” Kenney said.

Another goal Kenney is working towards is moving DeKalb county towards a sustainable food system which will help close the food gap, and provide locally grown produce for all citizens.

“I believe that when we live in the kind of climate we do, and when we have much green space, and such productive soil there is no reason for any one in DeKalb County to go hungry”, Kenney said.

Kenney is also on the board of directors at Hope Haven, 1145 Rushmoore Drive,, the local homeless shelter. He is also the President elect to the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb.

Kenney is inspired by people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Robert Kennedy. His personal motto is “living, loving, learning, leaving a legacy.”