Steve Scholten served as Executive Director of the Arlington Heights Park District through 2016, concluding a 40-year career in public service. During his time at Arlington Heights, the District completed numerous capital improvement projects, revised the Comprehensive Plan, collaborated with the community on the development of master plans for the 5 neighborhood community center parks, and worked with the Board of Commissioners and staff to offer 2 early retirement incentives and restructured the organization.

The Arlington Heights Park District employs over 100 full-time and more than 1,000 part-time staff who work hand in hand with the community to offer a comprehensive system of parks, facilities and recreation programs. Located in northwest suburban Chicago, the Park District utilizes a $27 million budget to operate 58 parks, over 715 acres, 5 community centers, 5 outdoor pool complexes, an indoor swimming center, an 18 hole and a 9 hole golf course, 2 indoor tennis clubs and a 5 building museum complex. Arlington Heights Park District is financially stable; earning a Aaa rating from Moody’s and has been an accredited agency since 1994. The District is governed by a 5 member Board of Commissioners elected by the citizens to provide parks and recreation services for the 76,000 folks who call Arlington Heights home.

In addition to his service in Arlington Heights, Steve served as the Executive Director of 3 other Chicago area Park Districts, Medinah, Glen Ellyn and Bloomingdale (Gold Medal Award winner 2006), spending 32 years of his career as a Chief Executive Officer. For 8 years Steve worked for the Elk Grove Park District, known for its progressive and creative facilities. Steve has served on the Board and as Chairman of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association and the Northwest Special Recreation Association, served as President of the Bloomingdale/Roselle Rotary Club and President of the Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as Chair of committees and on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.

Steve graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. degree in Parks and Recreation Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management.

In 2004 Steve received the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Professional of the Year Award and in 2010 was awarded the IPRA Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award. As an avocation, Steve is a basketball referee, having officiated the 2008 state championship game in Illinois. He was inducted to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012.

Public service is difficult and rewarding. Steve feels fortunate to have been a part of agencies who were able to facilitate a commitment to quality and memorable customer service for both external and internal customers, and an opportunity to impact and shift the culture of organizations. He is committed to getting things done the right way while honoring the organization and the individual.

Professional Education, Training and Instruction

  • Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Management, Illinois State University, IL
  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago, IL

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Illinois Park and Recreation Association, Board of Directors
  • Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, Board of Directors
  • Northwest Special Recreation Association, Board of Directors
  • Bloomingdale/Roselle Rotary Club, President
  • Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce, President
  • Elk Grove Village Police and Fire Commission


  • Gold Medal Award (2006)

Local Government Professional Background:

Over 40 years of experience in Parks and Recreation Management
  • Arlington Heights Park District 2008-2016
  • Medinah Park District 1979-1983
  • Glen Ellyn Park District 1983-1987
  • Bloomingdale Park District 1992-2008
  • Elk Grove Village Park District, IL 1976-1979, 1987-1992