Ron Schneider will begin as director of parks and recreation for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board on Monday, July 8. (Photo from the Springfield-Greene County Park Board)

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The search for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board’s new director of parks and recreation has come to an end.

The Park Board named Ron Schneider as the department’s new leader in a May 28 news release.

“I understand the importance of recreation and the value it brings to a community including quality of life outcomes and economic impact,” Schneider said in the release. “I’m excited for the bright future of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and look to build upon the impressive level of service already offered.”

Schneider will replace Bob Belote, who retired from the Park Board in January. Schneider will begin work on July 8. Jim Fisher has served as interim director during the nationwide search for a new director, led by the Park Board and Springfield city management.

“Ron is a visionary with a track record of creating successful strategy and working with stakeholders to turn plans into reality,” City Manager Jason Gage said in the news release. “He is the right person at the right time to lead the parks and recreation efforts tied to our comprehensive plan, Forward SGF.”

Schneider has 25 years of management experience in parks and recreation, having most recently served as the executive director of the Freeport Park District in Freeport, Illinois. Schneider has a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.

In the news release, Springfield-Greene County Park Board chair Randall Blackwood cited Schneider’s experience and enthusiasm as reasons for his selection by the board. 

“The board was very impressed with his energy and his interest, specifically, in our Parks system, and in recognizing that we’re already a leader in the field,” Blackwood said. “As he learned more about our department and the resources available here, he was more excited, and his energy was infectious. He has a lot of ideas on new trends in parks and trails. He is going to bring a great deal of vision, and continue the tradition of great Parks leadership in our community.”

Schneider’s annual salary will be $180,000 a year as director of parks and recreation, according to Park Board spokesperson Jenny Fillmer Edwards.

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the government affairs reporter at the Hauxeda. He previously covered politics and business for the Daily Citizen. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at or (417) 837-3663. More by Jack McGee