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May 30

JCPRD’s recreation division gets new assistant superintendent

Posted on May 30, 2019 at 12:07 PM by Becky Burnside

A longtime employee with a variety of experience acquired over more than 20 years with the agency has been tapped to serve as JCPRD’s new assistant superintendent of recreation.

Shannon Sonnier began in the new position on April 21.

“This position was something that I’ve been interested in for the past five years, even though it did not exist until recently,” Sonnier said. “The recreation division has grown by leaps and bounds (as has the rest of JCPRD) and I knew that more and more work needed to be done. I find the thought of helping others accomplish their individual goals as well as helping the division accomplish larger goals extremely appealing and rewarding.”

“We’ve been talking about adding an assistant superintendent for the last couple of years, due to the growth in the Recreation Division and the important support this position will bring to staff,” said Superintendent of Recreation Rhonda Pollard. “We’re fortunate to have Shannon on the district’s team and I’m excited to work alongside him in this new role.”

The assistant superintendent will oversee all of the recreation division’s sports and sports facilities, as well as the agency’s nine concession operations.  

“Shannon brings a wealth of knowledge in regards to facility and field maintenance as well and he’ll be instrumental as we work to improve several recreation sports complexes,” Pollard said. “He will work closely with staff at our north and south locations to ensure we’re working as a consistent team in how we manage and operate our facilities, leagues, and rentals.  With customer safety and service as our top priorities, Shannon will be instrumental in our continual efforts to bring a level of excellence to these operations. Shannon is a natural leader with proven experience developing staff to reach their highest potential.” 

Sonnier first came to JCPRD to work on athletic field maintenance in a seasonal capacity in March 1996.  In 2001, he was promoted to a full-time position as a sports park worker.   In 2010, he was promoted to the then-new position of Sports and Facilities South Manager in preparation for the opening of the New Century Fieldhouse (NCF).

A graduate of Kansas State University, Sonnier holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing. He has also been actively involved in the park and recreation field at the state level, currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, and he has earned his Certified Professional Recreation Executive certificate, and was the first JCPRD employee to complete NRPA’s Director’s School.

“JCPRD is a great place to be,” Sonnier said. “Never in a million years did I think when I went to work as a seasonal at Heritage Park 23 years ago that this would be my career.  I think what I bring to this position is a deep respect and love for JCPRD.  I’ve literally grown up along with this organization; I care greatly about our mission and the amazing things that are accomplished on a daily basis.  I know lots of staff members across all divisions, and believe I have the ability to connect with everyone.  As for my experiences, I’ve worked in maintenance, management, and in the organization for a long time, which allows me to understand a variety of needs across all of JCPRD.”

With Sonnier’s move to the assistant superintendent’s position, Adam McElhattan began on May 20 as JCPRD’s new sports and facilities south manager.  McElhattan has been the maintenance supervisor for NCF for the past eight years, and previously worked for the city of Overland Park.