Bob Whitehouse, Hampshire Park District's longtime executive director, has announced his retirement and a search is under way for his replacement.
Whitehouse, 62, will retire in December after serving nearly eight years as executive director.
Before Whitehouse joined the park district, he spent 33 years in Community Community Unit District 300 -- the last 12 as principal of Dundee-Crown High School. He retired from the school district in 2006.
"It'll be a total of 41 years when you put the two of them together by December, and it's time," the Woodstock resident said. "It's time to pass the baton to the next generation, (with) new ideas, new approaches to things. It's not an issue where I'm being forced out. This was all my choice."
The park district board has advertised the job on its website, through the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and by networking with smaller park and recreation districts around the area.
The park district has spent the last few years preparing for an anticipated population growth by increasing its programming and finding the facilities to accommodate them, according to its website.
For example, the park district partnered with District 300 in 2006 to build a gymnasium expansion for Gary D. Wright Elementary School to offer additional after school care, senior activities and other community programs.
"The relationships with the village of Hampshire and Community Unit District 300 have never been stronger and must be maintained," Whitehouse said, adding his successor has a great opportunity to shape the growing district's park and recreation services.
Due to an expected population boom, the park district will likely expand from its current 34 acres with three parks, to more than 250 acres and 10 park sites, according to the park district's website.
Whitehouse works part-time and makes about $30,000 annually. His successor will be a full-time employee and make between $50,000 and $65,000 a year, Whitehouse said.
The board hopes to fill the job by Nov. 4 and to use the four weeks thereafter as a transition period.
The park district was established in 1948 and has six full-time employees.