The Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission has hired the town’s first parks director just in time for the summer.
Lara Sargent, of Round Pond, will start in the newly created position Monday, June 26.
During Bristol’s annual town meeting in March, voters authorized the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission to hire a parks director to oversee the day-to-day operations of the parks, administer the commission’s budget, and serve as a liaison between the commission and parks staff, the town, and the public.
As the first person to hold the position, Sargent said she is looking forward to working with the commissioners to further develop the director’s duties and responsibilities.
“The commissioners are just a wonderful, energized group of people,” Sargent said. “They really sold the position for me, and I’m really happy to be working with such a sincere group of people.”
Sargent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in medical biology from the University of New England and taught eighth-grade science at Sanford Junior High School.
After five years of teaching, Sargent decided she wanted to work from home to be able to spend more time with her kids. She became a portfolio accounting analyst for Putnam Investments, an investment management firm headquartered in Boston. For the past 16 years, Sargent has worked for the company remotely in a variety of roles.
Sargent said she found the ad for the parks director position the day the applications were due. After reaching out to see if the commission was still accepting applications, she applied for and later was interviewed for the job.
“It just seemed like everything fell into place,” Sargent said.
Sargent said she hopes to help bring in more money for the parks commission by applying for grant funding and organizing fundraisers. Since 2009, she has written grant applications for two elementary schools in Maine and has secured more than $70,000 in grant funds.
While she has “lots of ideas” about learning experiences and activities she wants to bring to the parks, Sargent said she is eager to speak with the commissioners and learn how they would like to see the parks move forward.
“They’re doing such a great job, and I’m looking forward to working with them more and seeing what we can do together,” Sargent said.
Sargent and her husband, Jim Sargent, have two sons, Jimmy and Jack.