Glencoe Park Board hires Gurnee recreation director for top job
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:22AM
GLENCOE — After months of closed-door interviews and debate, the Glencoe Park District Board has picked a new executive director.
Lisa Sheppard, the recreation director of the Gurnee Park District, will be officially welcomed at a Tuesday, Jan. 21 board meeting, and will take the reins from Interim Director Steve Nagle Feb. 20.
Sheppard, in a 16-year, award-studded career at Gurnee, was “instrumental in expanding programs and starting up new programs in the Hunt Club Community Center, which opened in 2006,” Gurnee parks Executive Director Susie Kuruvilla said Friday. “She started a monthly social for seniors, and many (other) adult programs as well. She is very good at taking an idea and running with it.”
Glencoe Park District Commissioner Bob Kimble said Friday, “She has a wonderful recreation background, and brings to the table very effective ways of looking to grow at the Takiff Center in areas other than camps and younger children, where we’ve been very effective, to include more adults, different age groups, the whole community.”
Sheppard said Friday that “Glencoe has wonderful preschool programs, but could use some youth, teen and adult programming.
“There are some great programs, but there is always room for growth.”
She said she plans “to take a lot of input from the community, to really find out what they want.”
Park Board President Max Retsky said Friday, “I am really excited. She really is great. It’s awesome for the park district and all its employees.
“She has more energy in her little finger than some people have in their whole bodies.”
Sheppard replaces Don Van Arsdale, who resigned from the Glencoe director’s job last summer under pressure by a majority of the Park Board that included Retsky, but not Kimble.
The atmosphere sounded different Friday.
“It was probably the best experience we’ve had together as a board,” Kimble said, “talking to candidates who were really outstanding.”
The candidate search was organized by Heidi Voorhees and Terry Porter of the Voorhees Associates search firm. Voorhees is a former Wilmette village manager, and Porter a former Wilmette Park District executive director.
Sheppard, who lives in Gurnee, will be paid $120,000 plus a $500 monthly car allowance. Van Arsdale earned about $117,300 annually, plus the car allowance and free residence in a district-owned house.
Van Arsdale was paid five months salary after his resignation. Nagle, who was a finalist in the derby to replace him, will get a bonus for serving both as operations manager and interim director since last July, Retsky said.
Nagle was a finalist for the permanent top job.
“We’re very grateful to Steve Nagle and our whole senior staff, who helped us get through this transition,” Retsky said.
“I’m really excited to come to Glencoe, a great community, with a district that’s already established, and to work with an excellent team, and move to a higher level,” Sheppard said.~.