July 19, 2021


Sherry Manschot, Marketing/PR Manager
(630) 681-0962 ;

DuPage County-- The Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) is pleased to welcome Dan Leahy as Executive Director. He succeeds Sandy Gbur, who is retired June 11th after a distinguished career as a leader in therapeutic recreation.
Though new to his role as WDSRA Executive Director, Dan is a familiar face in and around the community both professionally and personally.
Dan has served in local government for the past 15 years, has experience in the private sector as a Marketing/Communications professional and has a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Most recently, as part of the Fox Valley Park District’s Executive team, he led the Marketing/Communications/Business Development efforts. As such, he also served as a board member at the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association.
“I believe passionately in the development of individuals through recreation,
and have seen it first-hand…and that’s the WDSRA mission!”
Dan is also a WDSRA parent. His son Tyler, who lives with Down Syndrome, is a familiar face at WDSRA too.  Tyler has been making programs a part of his life for the past nine years through bowling, Tone ‘N Tighten, karaoke, Tae Kwon Do, camps, and most recently, the Rec & Roll day program.
“While Tyler has been the direct recipient of WDSRA’s services,” shares Dan, “our entire family has felt the positive impact. It’s given us all more independence and normalcy to have Ty out doing his thing. My oldest son, Camden, worked as a day camp counselor and a marketing intern with a nearby SRA. My wife has been one of WDSRA’s biggest advocates for years. We just can’t imagine our world without WDSRA and want to share it with any family that may benefit. “
Dan believes that serving people for their entire lifespan, presents some awesome opportunities. He plans to bring his energy and vision to leading new efforts that get people excited about the future of WDSRA. His initial focus will center on three core thoughts; access, how we can improve it; awareness, both in the community at large but particularly with our partners in education; and activities, in terms of the right programs and what’s trending.
Personally, Dan is motivated by elevating others. He believes one of leadership’s greatest gifts is seeing staff thrive with new challenges, new roles and big ideas. “I want our organization to be GRRrrr oriented – show Grit, Growth, Gratitude…each of those mindsets can help lead us to be GRRReat,” says Dan. “How do I plan on doing that? An early mantra for me is “Give the truth…let people know where we’re at and what the expectations are; give the trust, empower people to do their jobs and cut through bureaucracy; give the credit, which means recognize a job well-done.”
Away from work Dan is an avid reader, runner, golfer, foodie, and a music maniac. A self-proclaimed competition nut, he does NOT like to lose.
Leahy most recently served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Fox Valley Park District, and has 15 years of local government experience in various roles at Schaumburg Park District, Bolingbrook Park District and the City of Elmhurst.

He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and recently earned his master’s in Public Administration from Aurora University. Dan is a resident of Naperville where he lives with his wife Marianne and sons Camden (23), and Tyler (22).

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Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) provides engaging, community-based recreational programs and inclusion services for children, teens, and adults with special needs. WDSRA offers Special Olympics, adapted sports, dance and art programs, camps, trips, special events, and more. WDSRA’s mission, the development of individuals through recreation, makes it possible for individuals to grow personally, connect with their community and discover their potential.
WDSRA is an award winning organization and a cooperative extension of nine park districts serving the communities of Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton, and Winfield.
Thank you for your consideration!
WDSRA Mission: The development of individuals through recreation.
WDSRA Vision: Opening a world of untapped potential and a lifetime of possibilities.
Learn more at