Aquatic manager joins Sunset Empire recreation district

KATHERINE LACAZE PHOTO Russell Cleveland, right, talks with a patron of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District during a meet-and-greet with candidates for the aquatic manager in late August. Cleveland recently was hired as the new aquatic manager, a position left vacant after former manager Genessee Dennis resigned this summer.

Russell Cleveland will begin as the aquatic manager for Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Sept. 29.

He will replace Genessee Dennis, who resigned earlier this summer.

Cleveland comes from Vashon Island, Wash., where he was the associate director for campus recreation at Seattle University. He oversaw the operations of the aquatic facility and risk management for university recreation.

“We are excited to have Mr. Cleveland join our team,” said Justin Cutler, general manager of the Sunset Empire recreation district. “He brings with him a passion for service, aquatics and community as demonstrated in his previous positions.”

Prior to working at Seattle University, Cleveland had started a nonprofit organization to bring awareness to childhood obesity. He also worked at Anytime Fitness in Nevada and served in the U.S. Navy.

He expects to receive a master’s degree in sports administration and leadership from Seattle University next year, as well as a graduate certificate from the university’s executive leadership program.

Cleveland received his bachelor of science degree in nutrition from the University of Nevada at Reno in 2012.

Cleveland said his mantra is,“Be the type of person you would want to meet.”

He grew up in Stevensville, Mont., which had a population of less than 8,000. He became an Eagle Scout at age 13 and started a landscaping business that same year.

“I found a sincere joy in serving small communities, refining my skills through many years of management and leadership roles as my hometown’s pool manager, as a college athlete, through honorable service in the US Navy, through the founding of my own organizations and through an enjoyable and reflective professional role at Seattle University,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said he wanted to bring his family to a smaller community.

“I believe the values and morals that have made my path thus far both a successful and enjoyable one can also be of great service to the Sunset Empire district,” he said.

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