The city of Dalton has named a sole finalist for the Parks and Recreation Department’s vacant director position after a national candidate search. Caitlin Sharpe has been selected as the finalist for the position. She is currently the Parks and Recreation director for Catoosa County.
Ms. Sharpe is a graduate of Jacksonville State University where she earned both a bachelor’s degree in recreation as well as a master’s degree in sports management. After completing her studies she immediately began a career in recreation in northwest Georgia, starting as the athletic coordinator for Rome-Floyd County’s Parks and Recreation Department in 2017. She was hired by Catoosa County in 2018 as an athletic supervisor and then was promoted twice, first to assistant director and then finally to the director position.
“She was described by her references as a rising superstar in the parks and rec world and that really hit home us,” said City Councilmember Dennis Mock who serves as liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee. “That’s the kind of leadership that we need. She’s going to have a lot of big things to do and I think she’s got the energy and capability to do them and we think she’s the right person to lead the charge.”
While leading Catoosa County’s department, Ms. Sharpe executed the consolidation of community-led sports organizations to create the first department-led youth sports program for the county. She also served as project manager for a number of SPLOST improvement projects in the county including renovations to several parks. She was also able to secure a number of grants for her department and recruited five Georgia Recreation and Park Association sporting events to Catoosa County. This year, her department was named as the GRPA’s Class B Agency of the Year.
“We feel she’s got the experience and the creativity to take us to that next level and make an impact on the DPRD and the community as a whole. She’s innovative and we can’t wait to see what she does,” said Zab Mendez, chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. “We’re excited to have her join the team.”
“We’re very pleased to add Caitlin to our leadership team,” said Andrew Parker, Dalton’s city administrator. “She’s had some tremendous achievements in both developing successful youth sports programs and in creating an award-winning Parks and Recreation agency. Her dynamic leadership style will ensure the long-term success of the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department and all of the programs and facilities it manages.”
Ms. Sharpe was selected from a pool of more than 40 applicants after a nationwide search conducted by Mercer Group Associates. The Parks and Recreation director position has been vacant since the December 2020 retirement of Mike Miller. Recreation superintendent Greg Walker has served as interim director for the department since January.
The City Council will vote on the approval of her hiring at its meeting Tuesday, Jan, 4. The regularly scheduled meeting is taking place that day instead of Jan. 3, the city’s observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.