KENT—It was recently “hail and farewell” in Kent as Jared Kuczenski, former Park and Recreation director, attended a farewell luncheon with senior citizens in the community hall.
Almost simultaneously, town officials hired Matthew Busse to fill Kuczenski’s vacated post.
Forty-one people attended the Jan. 25 luncheon, where Kuczenski made his final appearance.
Although his position with the town officially ended Dec. 31, he had continued to coordinate programs remotely while a search committee looked for his replacement.
Fran Goodsell presented him with a card and gift from the seniors in appreciation of what he had done to enhance and extend senior programming during his two years in Kent.
Only the day before Kuczenski’s swan song, Busse, who lives in New Fairfield, accepted the Board of Selectmen’s offer of the position. He was selected after a thorough consideration of 45 applicants. Busse plans to start in his new role the week of Feb. 12 at a salary of $63,000 a year.
The Park and Recreation Commission formed a four-person search committee in December, members of which were Selectman Lynn Worthington, the selectmen’s liaison to Park and Rec who served as chair; Rufus P. de Rham, chairman of the Park and Rec Commission; and residents Miranda Lovato and Bethany Keck.
The committee interviewed seven applicants and then toured the town’s parks—Emery Park and Kent Commons Park—and the ballfields with the three finalists. During the tour, Busse offered numerous ideas for developing the use of the parks and obtaining grants to fund planning and implementation.
“We were impressed by Matt’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as his philosophy that a town’s Park and Recreation is centered on community inclusion and pride in the town,” said Worthington.
de Rham said he found Busse to be extremely thorough and personable, as well as someone who puts forth plans that are well thought out.
“I believe Matt is the right person to lead Kent Park and Rec,” de Rham said. “He has a community-based spirit and vision to grow our programs and plan our parks development.”
Busse has extensive experience in managing recreation facilities and developing programming for all ages. He currently serves as director of Aquatic Operations and Safety at the New Canaan Community YMCA. He previously directed the Y’s day camp, which hosted 170 campers and had a team of approximately 60 counselors, program specialists, lifeguards, and assistant directors.
Busse has experience in parks maintenance and operation, having worked for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) at Squantz Pond State Park, as well as having been beach director for Connecticut state beaches.
“I am incredibly excited and honored to step into the role of Park and Recreation director for the Town of Kent,” he said in a statement. “The field of Parks and Recreation is not just about spaces and programs, but about weaving the fabric of our community closer together. It offers a vibrant platform for residents to interact, connect, and create lasting memories.”
He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in recreation administration at Southern Connecticut State University. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental policy with a minor in justice and law administration, legal studies from Western Connecticut State University.
Busse has a Park and Recreation Professional Certification, as well as American Red Cross certification as an instructor in professional rescuer first aid/CPR/AED, basic first aid/CPR/AED, administering emergency oxygen, basic life support, babysitting, lifeguard, water safety, wilderness and remote first aid, and Connecticut Childcare.