The City of Lake Forest seeks an experienced and innovative leader to head its Parks and Recreation Department. With a world-class beach, new state-of-the-art athletic field facility, thriving youth organization and a variety of adult offerings, Lake Forest provides an excellent opportunity for Parks and Recreation programming. At the same time, Lake Forest has experienced a significant population shift in recent years, with a record number of new families moving into the City. This brings an exciting opportunity to build upon the City’s solid Parks and Recreation foundation. The City of Lake Forest seeks a creative leader who can collaborate with employees across the organization, elected and appointed officials, and the public to shape the future of recreational experiences in this exceptional community.
Lake Forest, IL (pop. 19,149) A beautiful, historic, family-oriented community is seeking candidates for its next Director of Parks and Recreation. Located 30 miles north of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan, Lake Forest is an AAA rated community known for its stunning landscape, excellent schools, and commitment to open space. Lake Forest is home to more than 1200 businesses, from small boutique shops in its thriving downtown Market Square to corporations in Conway Park, including Abbott, Pfizer, Reynolds Consumer Products, the Chicago Bears, Trustmark, and many others. Lake Forest is known for its commitment to professional, forward-thinking local government leadership.
The Parks and Recreation Department is a City run department under the direction of the City Government. The Director of Parks and Recreation reports to the City Manager and also works closely with the Parks and Recreation Board, which serves as an advisory body in regard to the development and operation of recreation programs, playgrounds, the Recreation Center, the Deer Path Golf Course, the beach and other parks and recreational facilities. The Director of Parks and Recreation is responsible for a $9.3 million budget and 23 full-time and 360 part-time and seasonal employees. 
The Ideal Candidate Will Be: 
  • A visionary leader who can develop the department’s mission, goals, and strategies in alignment with the community’s priorities.
  • Innovative and experienced in identifying emerging parks and recreation trends and opportunities and able to effectively implement them.
  • An approachable and supportive leader who has a proven record of developing high performing teams. 
  • A transparent and knowledgeable leader able to build trust with all stakeholders.
  • Decisive and firm when necessary while acting with a clear sense of urgency with important priorities set forth by the community.
  • Able to balance the needs for strategic thinking and direction with the day-to-day cultivation of positive morale throughout the management of the department.
  • A strong, collaborative leader who can combine vision, strategy, and innovation.
  • A community-engaged leader with the ability to establish and maintain trusting relationships with staff, community leaders and the community at large. 
Candidate Requirements:
  • A bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation, or a related field. A master’s degree is a plus. 
  • At least ten years’ experience in parks and recreation, with five (5) of those years served in a management capacity, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience. Municipal or public sector experience is a plus.
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of all functions and facets of parks and recreation.
  • Enthusiasm and energy for working at a fast pace with the ability to prioritize and delegate effectively. 
  • Proven track record of being an effective mentor and leader for staff.
  • An excellent communicator and an active listener.
  • The demonstrated ability to build collaborative, effective relationships across all levels of the organization. 
Compensation & Benefits
The salary range for this position is $155,000 to $185,000. Appointments within the range will be made depending on the qualifications of the selected candidate. A generous benefit and retirement package is also offered by the city, details which are available at the City of Lake Forest website.
How To Apply
Candidates must apply by Monday, March 4, 2024, with resume, cover letter and contact information for five work-related references to the attention of Steve Scholten, Vice President, or Joe DeLuce, Senior Vice President, GovHR USA, IL 60062. Tel: 847-380-3240 x 185 or x 155.
The City of Lake Forest is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Application Deadline: March 4, 2024

Posted: 2024-02-02

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