Board of Commissioners Identifies Successor for Executive Director

During a special open board meeting, Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners interviewed Assistant Executive Director Jay Sandine for the position of Executive Director.

Jay SandineLast month, current Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke announced plans to retire this summer. Sandine’s interview took place in front of a packed room of supporters and the Board was presented a petition with hundreds of signatures in favor of Sandine being offered the position. After the interview, Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners determined next steps and announced plans to enter into contract discussions with Jay Sandine.

“Jay lives and breathes the Rockford Park District in every aspect of his life. His commitment to the institution is evident to everyone around him. We think he is the best choice to lead the Park District in the years to come,” said Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary.

Pending contract discussions, the Board will take a formal action on an Executive Director contract at the next Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners meeting on May 23, 2017 at 5 p.m.

UPDATE - May 23, 2017

Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners Selects Next Executive Director

ROCKFORD, IL – Since the Rockford Park District’s inception in 1909, only seven people have held the position of Executive Director. Tonight, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the Terms of Employment for the District’s eighth leader, current Rockford Park District Assistant Executive Director Jay Sandine.

About the Process

The Board of Commissioners requested support from the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) President and CEO, Peter Murphy, who led a thorough and inclusive search process that included a comprehensive needs analysis to determine the skills and talents required of the next executive director. Murphy reported the results of this analysis, based upon written survey responses and personal interviews with Rockford Park District Commissioners, staff, citizens, and Park District partners, to the Board at its April 25, 2017 meeting.

During a special open board meeting on May 16, 2017, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners interviewed Sandine for the position of Executive Director. Sandine’s interview took place in front of a packed room of supporters, and the Board was presented a petition with hundreds of signatures in favor of Sandine being offered the position. Commissioners asked questions about District priorities, strengths, and challenges, along with Jay’s leadership style. “We believe we have successfully concluded our responsibilities for the selection of the District’s next leader and our citizens can expect a smooth succession plan. Jay is a demonstrated leader who has the overwhelming support of staff, citizens, community leaders, and valued partners of the Rockford Park District,” said Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary.

Current Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke will officially retire on June 23, 2017 after 44 years of serving the Rockford Park District. Dimke began his career at the Rockford Park District by taking care of the animals at Lockwood Park. He has worked in a variety of positions, and was selected to be Executive Director in 2006. Tim is credited with the development of many recreation facilities in Rockford and Loves Park, notably Carlson Ice Arena, Aldeen Golf Club, Mercyhealth Sportscore Two, and the acquisitions of Magic Waters Waterpark and Indoor Sports Center. Dimke was one of the key leads involved in Reclaiming First, a community-wide comprehensive plan to enhance and enlarge the sports facilities in the Rockford area and to reclaim the region’s dominance in sports tourism. “We can’t thank Tim enough for his dedication to this organization and for turning the Reclaiming First initiative into a tangible project, which has been recognized multiple times. Reclaiming First took an unprecedented level of intergovernmental regional collaboration and community coordination, and is a legacy project that has contributed to the transformation of our region,” said Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary. Most recently, Tim received two awards: the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) Honored Professional Award.

Sandine will begin his role as Executive Director on June 24, 2017. “Parks and recreation is my life, as I grew up inside a state park. Both my grandfather and father were park superintendents; I grew up learning from two of the best mentors who believed in leading by example. While at the Park District, I have been fortunate to work alongside Webbs Norman and Tim Dimke, two great leaders in our community. I am excited to create my own footsteps but will build upon the great core values, priorities, and culture past leaders have established. It’s also an honor to lead and serve alongside the best park and recreation team in the country. I have always said that our Park District really belongs to our citizens; I’m here to help connect our citizens to the recreational opportunities they want to experience, and collaborate with others to make that happen,” said Jay Sandine, Rockford Park District Assistant Executive Director.

About Jay Sandine

Sandine is a graduate of Rockford University with a master’s in business administration. Sandine has been with the District since 1996, taking on additional roles and responsibilities throughout his career. He began his career in maintenance at Elliot Golf Course, most recently serving as Deputy Director of Operations overseeing major District operations including golf courses, Police, Sportscore Complexes, aquatics, ice facilities, park maintenance, skilled trades, concessions, and revenue development, among other administrative functions. In 2013, Sandine graduated from the National Recreation and Park Association’s Directors School in Oglebay, West Virginia.

In addition to his leadership at the Rockford Park District, Sandine has led numerous community partnerships with organizations such as the YMCA, RPS 205, The First Tee of Greater Rockford, Rockford IceHogs, and the Harkins Community Memorial Foundation. Sandine has also been active in Transform Rockford as an original member of the Shared Values and Process teams. He also serves on several boards throughout the community.

Vision

To be the best urban parks and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.

Mission

To help people enjoy life by providing an exceptional parks and recreation system.

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