Executive Director

DeKalb Park District   DeKalb, IL   Full-time     Management
Posted on March 26, 2024
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The role of Executive Director at the DeKalb Park District encompasses a broad spectrum of responsibilities crucial to the efficient functioning and strategic growth of our parks and recreation system. As the key steward of park district policy, the Executive Director assumes overarching accountability for the effective execution of statutory obligations and the adherence to policies approved by the Park Board of Commissioners.

This position entails dynamic oversight across all facets of the District’s operations, encompassing recreation programming, personnel administration, facility enhancement, and fiscal management. In this capacity, the Executive Director is the central administrative hub, providing leadership and direction to a diverse team of Superintendents responsible for Recreation, Parks, and Finance and department managers for Marketing, Golf Operations, and Golf Maintenance.

Direct supervision extends to the administration team entrusted with critical operational domains, ensuring alignment with strategic objectives and operational excellence. Moreover, the Executive Director interfaces directly with the Board of Commissioners, providing regular updates and insights to inform decision-making processes and strategic initiatives.

The DeKalb Park District operates under the guidance of a dedicated five-member elected Board of Commissioners, charged with crafting policy frameworks and setting strategic trajectories that shape our community’s recreational landscape. With a team comprising 24 full-time personnel and a substantial contingent of part-time and seasonal staff, the Executive Director is pivotal in fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and service excellence within the organization.

This position presents a unique opportunity to lead a dynamic team in enhancing community well-being through unparalleled recreational experiences and sustainable park management practices.


Education & Experience Requirements:

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in business management, public or business administration, parks and recreation administration, or a closely related field is required. A master’s degree is preferred. However, the Park Board may consider a comparable amount of directly related experience as a substitute for the minimum educational requirements at their discretion. The Executive Director should possess at least five (5) years of related experience in an upper-level management or administrative role, preferably within the parks and recreation field. At least one year of experience as an Executive Director is preferred. Additionally, candidates should demonstrate a track record of developing effective working relationships between organizations and individuals.


Position Mandatory Qualifications:

  • Strong organizational skills, consistently delivering high-level performance.
  • Proficiency in fiscal procedures and strategic budgetary planning.
  • Demonstrated expertise in efficient personnel management, with the ability to lead and train staff
  • effectively.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Advanced computer proficiency with a sound understanding of business applications.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously, requiring minimal supervision.
  • Effective communication and collaboration skills with diverse stakeholders, including the public, media,the Board, and District staff.
  • Skilled in evaluating the District’s programs and operations.
  • Willingness to attend frequent meetings, workshops, and conferences outside regular business hours.
  • Possession of a valid Illinois Driver’s license; DeKalb residency is NOT required.
  • Undergo and successfully pass a criminal background check and drug screening.


Position Desired Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in understanding and applying rules, regulations, and ordinances relevant to
  • recreation programs and facilities, ensuring compliance with state and federal regulatory bodies.
  • Proven track record in evaluating park district programs, facilities, and operations to enhance efficiency
  • and effectiveness.
  • Skilled in developing, organizing, and overseeing a comprehensive community recreation program
  • tailored to address the diverse recreational needs of the community.
  • Expertise in crafting and executing parks development and maintenance strategies to ensure optimal
  • utilization and upkeep of recreational spaces.
  • Proficient in designing and implementing programs for acquiring, constructing, and maintaining park
  • areas and facilities, ensuring the continuous enhancement of recreational amenities for the community.


Essential Personality Traits & Characteristics:

A collaborative leader and team-builder, adept at fostering creativity and innovation while demonstrating solid problem-solving abilities and decisive decision-making skills. With a people-oriented approach and a strong work ethic, prioritize accountability, ethical conduct, and civic responsibility, serving as a pivotal connector within the organization and the community.


Compensation Package:

The salary for this position ranges from $117,000 to $138,000. In addition to competitive pay, the District provides a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, a health savings account, dental insurance, life insurance, and membership in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). A cell phone, laptop, and reimbursement for using a personal vehicle are provided as part of the role. Employees also enjoy generous benefits such as up to 20 paid vacation days, 12 personal days, and 12 holidays, with the potential for annual merit increases. Professional development opportunities are actively encouraged to support career growth and advancement.



As you apply, please answer the following questions, limiting each response to no more than one typed page:

  • Why are you drawn to this position?
  • Outline your plans for the initial 120 days in this role.
  • What metrics do you use to gauge success?
  • Detail your approach to management and leadership.



Position Vacancy Posted: March 22

2024 Application Deadline: April 22 at 9:00 am

Application Review: Week of April 22

Board of Commissioners Interviews: End of April/Beginning of May


How to Apply:


All application inquiries should be referred to:

John Shea, Jr., Executive Director

jshea@dekalbparkdistrict.com or (779) 777-7265