Recreation district nearing executive director decision

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SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Recreation District board approached its anticipated Aug. 31 deadline for hiring a permanent executive director with no word of shuffling hiring papers or a change of title for Seth Ulvestad. However, the board, which will expand from five to seven members after the required 45-day waiting period, has narrowed 12 applicants down to three and will continue with phone interviews this week.

Ulvestad currently serves as both interim executive director and recreation program supervisor. Ulvestad said he’s doing fine now thanks to his comfort with programming, but is anxious to jump into expansion and growth for SRD’s future.

“We’re going to need another staff person to move us forward with that,” Ulvestad said.

Ulvestad took over as interim executive director when the board removed Richard Wright from the position in May 2018. Since then, he has organized and carried out summer and now fall sports seasons for adults and youth with the help of five staff members. Only one of those five staffers is specifically focused on recreation programming.

The expansion of board members came out of the need for the district to grow and evolve.

“The more people working toward the common goal of making the rec district more viable in the community (was the idea behind expanding the board),” Ulvestad said. “And expanding what we do in our programming to have more people contributing ideas toward that.”

Ulvestad, city of Sheridan Mayor Roger Miller and two additional rec district board members interviewed candidates for the position left vacant by Don Julian in July and appointed Diana Riesen to that spot. The board shuffled positions and named Sheridan Junior High School assistant principal and activities director Jesse Swanke president, Casey Osborn vice president and Molly Steel secretary.

The two additional positions on the board will be filled in similar fashion to the vacancy process. Ulvestad said the ratio of members representing the school district and city of Sheridan will remain the same, with the majority of members from each entity switching every three years.

“It gives you more insight, more people to bring suggestions to the table,” Swanke said.

“It’s more people to reach out to the community and get that community feedback because that’s what we’re all about — the community.”

Before the two additional board members join the board, the current five members will hire the new executive director. The final three applicants for the director position will complete phone interviews this week.

“We’re actually going to present them with a task and through the responses of that, we’re going to narrow it down even further,” Swanke said.

The board anticipates hiring someone for the executive director position by Sept. 21, between the summer and fall seasons. Swanke said the delay from the original deadline was because of the transition of positions among board members.

“Summertime hit and people get busy, I guess you could say,” Swanke said. “The changeover has caused it to be a little bit slower than it would have been.”

While Ulvestad currently handles the dual role at SRD, he is eager to see the organization grow and change with additional board members, a permanent executive director and additional staff.

By |Sep. 5, 2018|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the public safety and city government reporter before moving into the managing editor position in November 2018. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, Montana. Email Ashleigh at:


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