Roaring River hires new superintendent

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Kerry Hays, newly-hired superintendent of Roaring River State Park, stands by the river while hundreds of people enjoy the favorable weather over the weekend. Hays was one of 13 people who applied for the position. Kyle Troutman/

Former assistant, acting superintendent hired full time

Nearly two months after former Roaring River State Park Superintendent Dusty Reid left the park for a position with the Cassville R-4 School District, Missouri State Parks has hired his replacement.

Kerry Hays, 58, of Roaring River State Park, former assistant superintendent at the park for five years and acting superintendent after Reid's departure, was hired recently as the full-time superintendent at Roaring River.

"I am very excited," he said. "I've spent the past five years as assistant superintendent, and in that time, I have experienced what a wonderful and special place this is," he said. "I am excited to share this new challenge with the dedicated staff that works here and I hope to provide the best experience I can and work on upcoming projects to make better experiences for visitors."

Hays was one of 13 applicants for the position, and he was hired through the Missouri Office of Administration's Merit application process, which grades applicants and puts them in order based on a number of factors.

"Kerry's experience and background made him the best choice for the park manager position at Roaring River State Park," said Steph Deidrick, information specialist for Missouri State Parks.

Hays said his past experience at the park is likely what made him a top candidate, and it will be a great benefit to him going forward.

"[Being assistant superintendent] was a very good experience, and over the years, I've realized the park is a lot more than just for the guests," he said. "People have been coming here for generations and been on the river, at the campgrounds or on the trails, and I feel it's an amazing experience and humbling when I think about all the people that have come here throughout the years."

Hays said one of his goals as superintendent is to improve Big Sugar Creek, as day-use camp in McDonald County and home to the Ozark Chinquapin Trail.

"Big Sugar Creek has been a part of our management unit as a day-use facility, and I want to work with others to find ways to increase use at that site," he said. "We hope to make people more aware of that site in McDonald County, so in the initial stages, we want to find ways to increase use."

Hays said he plans to stay at the position for a while, and he also hopes to continue the relationships with area leaders and businesses.

"I hope to stay here many years, because there are way too many exciting things that happen here," he said. "I also think we have great relationships with civic leaders and local businesses in local communities, and I think it's important to maintain and build upon those relationships."

Hays officially began his duties as superintendent on April 8, and he will earn an annual salary of $41,511.60.

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