Sierra 2 Executive Director Terri Shettle to step down

By Dorsey Griffith

After 14 years at the helm of Sierra 2 Center, Terri Shettle has announced she will leave her post on Sept. 8. After a three-week vacation, she plans to return to help out 10-15 hours per week. Shettle did not elaborate on why she has decided to step down but expressed general weariness after dealing with the COVID pandemic disruptions and the most recent Curtis Park controversy over the off-leash dog park at Sierra 2 Green.

“The decision has been coming for a while,” she said. “It’s just time. The past three and a half years were very hard and the past six months have been especially hard with the dog park issue.”

The Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association (SCNA) board has begun the search for Shettle’s replacement, a task those who know Shettle and her accomplishments agree will be challenging. “She’s got a lot on her plate,” said longtime tenant and friend Bruce Beals, whose Sacramento men’s AA group has met daily on the campus since 1981. “Whoever replaces her has absolutely massive shoes to ll.”

Sierra 2 is a 40,000-square-foot, non-prot community facility that includes a 296-seat theater, three dance studios, a senior center, banquet hall, garden room with courtyard, five general spaces, and 12 rooms rented to regular tenants. As executive director, Shettle has overseen the management of the historic building’s upkeep, its tenants and events – operations that under her leadership have become more sophisticated and financially sound.

Shettle said she is leaving Sierra 2 functioning well.

“The staff is in good shape. The tenants are strong. The organization is in good shape. We just have to put the pieces of the transition together. This is my neighborhood. This is my community. This is my place. I don’t want to see it collapse.”

Prior to her job at Sierra 2, Shettle was a vice president at a resort company when she moved to Curtis Park from Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia in 2002 to join her partner, Melissa, who is now her spouse. She later worked for Target Corporation while completing her MBA, the Sacramento Foods Co-Op (original locations), Title Nine, (a women’s athletic clothing store), and had a full-time consulting business – jobs that demanded a lot of travel. She was excited to apply for SCNA’s executive director position as it would allow her to work so close to home.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time,” she said. “I thought I’d be running a venue and doing property management.”

The job turned out to be far more than that. Shettle had stepped into the middle of a complex and controversial period for SCNA as the then-named Curtis Park Village development plans were getting underway. The creation of what is now called Crocker Village engaged many Curtis Park residents, eliciting criticism on several fronts and creating community divisions. Lawsuits between the City of Sacramento and the developer ensued.

“The (SCNA) board was meeting almost daily at one point, and I found myself very involved,” Shettle said. “All the communications and recordsflowed through my office. It’s a central hub.”

Real estate broker Steffan Brown has known Shettle for more than 10 years and worked with her while he was an SCNA board member and also as a leading sponsor for various SCNA events over the years. He said he has been impressed by how she’s handled her responsibilities.

“She always was professional but never seemed impersonal,” he said. “I never saw her lose her composure, and she could convey compassion and empathy without being unprofessional. She’d give you a clear-eyed, unbiased view and the facts the best she could. I always felt that she could have run a lot of medium-size or large companies with ease.”

Eventually, Shettle built a stronger infrastructure for Sierra 2 Center, including developing center staff, pushing for a better website and social media, reporting and tracking systems for accountability, and promoting SCNA events to a wider audience. During her tenure, the annual SCNA operating budget has grown from $400,000 to $1 million.

Kathy Les, a current SNCA board member who served as interim executive director of Sierra 2 from 2003-2005, said Sierra 2 operations have benefitted enormously under Shettle’s management.

“I have been very impressed with her ability to have so many plates spinning at once,” she said. “She’s so good at keeping track of everything in a very organized fashion. She has a great institutional memory and is very dynamic in her skill set – everything from task management and not-so-interesting administration duties to event organizing.”

Les noted that the Curtis Park wine tasting fundraising event more than doubled in size under Shettle’s leadership, drawing up to 500 people from across Sacramento before COVID put the event on hold.

“We’ve elevated the professionalism and the image of the facility,” Shettle said. “You want to create a place where people want to be. You can only do that by thinking about what your facility needs to be.”

Shettle also managed to build strong bonds in the community, ties she hopes to maintain long after her departure.

Valerie Burrows, who has worked at Sierra 2 for 19 years, said she treasures the many ways her boss made them feel appreciated. She cited a recent outing for food and games at DOCO’s Punch Bowl Social, a River Cats game, an offce tribute to the Olympics replete with costumes, flags and games, cooking contests, cookie swaps and festive birthday acknowledgments.

“We will miss her commitment to making sure staff had opportunities to bond,” Burrows said, “so that each of us felt part of our team.”

Now Hiring an Executive Director, Apply through Sept 15th

Qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume of qualifications to [email protected] with “Executive Director position” in the subject line no later than midnight on September 15, 2023.   Please convert documents to pdf format before sending. 

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