Academy ENews - September 2020
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President's Message

Dianne Hoover, CPRP 2020 AAPRA President

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called Stress; working hard for something we love is called Passion.”

This inspirational quote has kept me going through the struggles and turmoil of 2020. As we all work through COVID-19 in our respective jobs, we cannot ignore the impact of racial injustice and climate change throughout our nation.  Your work in your respective cities has kept citizens healthy and happy.  Recent studies have shown that parks and the creativity of the revised recreation programs has reduced stress of isolation and lack of mobility to Americans throughout the country.  Parks Make Life Better!© and this year, Parks Saved Lives. 

Other good news: America is celebrating two great milestones: (1) the signing of the Great Americans Outdoors Act for lasting, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and (2) 100 years of women’s right to vote.  Both present lasting legacies for future generations and both greatly influence our profession in positive ways.

Women and men across this nation will soon vote for leadership in the midst of great pain as we have witnessed shootings and murders by those that are sworn to protect us.  In our respective cities, we have witnessed demonstrations and peaceful protests, begging for better awareness of the root issues and lasting solutions to a harmful history.  More than ever before, it is crucial to cast our votes for the America that we want to see in the future.  More than ever before, parks and recreation plays a key role in healing deep wounds.

These times call for great leaders, and I commend each of the Academy members for stepping up and excelling in 2020.  There are numerous accomplishments by Academy Board members, Committee/Task Force Chairs, and their respective team members.   Please take time to review the updates in this newsletter, and make a commitment to be involved in this work next year. New initiatives will need your Passionate leadership in 2021.

As Academy members, ballots are in the mail to choose next year’s board members.  Each candidate brings amazing knowledge and skills to their respective offices, so review their statements of commitment and choose accordingly.  Please take a few minutes to review the candidate statements and cast your vote.  All votes count, and yes, we rely on the USPS to deliver our ballots! 

Mark your calendars for October 20th –the first ever virtual Academy Membership meeting.  This meeting will combine the Annual Membership meeting with the Annual Banquet.  It is packed with action items such as swearing in of the 2021 Board of Directors, inducting new Academy members, recognizing our Pugsley Medal recipient, Best Dissertation author, Legends interviewees and much more.  We intend to keep the meeting fast paced and meaningful, so you will not want to miss it.

Thank you, each of you, for your leadership, your commitment, and your passion. I am truly humbled by the Academy’s accomplishments during this year of so many personal hardships.  Lastly, Executive Director, Jane Adams is responsible for keeping us all on task and on time.  Thank you, Jane for your tremendous experience with managing associations and your skills in accomplishing greatness with Passion.

Announcing the 2020 Virtual General Membership Meeting

October 20, 2020 11:30 am – 1:00 pm PDT; 12:30 – 2:00 pm MDT; 1:30 – 3:00 pm CDT;
and 2:30 – 4:00 pm EDT

With the cancellation of NRPA’s annual conference in Orlando, we are going virtual to connect and to recognize the Academy’s accomplishments in 2020. 

Each member will receive an invitation/announcement to the Virtual General Membership Meeting which will be Tuesday, October 20, at 11:30 am PDT; 12:30 pm MDT; 1:30 pm CDT; and 2:30 pm EDT. 

Mark your calendar and watch for the announcement!

Vote NOW for the 2021 Academy Board of Directors - Ballots Must be Postmarked by September 11.

Paper ballots were recently mailed to Academy members with a postmark deadline of September 11th. At this time, the Academy’s Bylaws require a mail ballots be sent to each active member. Candidate bios and statements are available on the Academy website: 

Welcome Class of 2020!

The Academy appreciates the members who took the time to select and nominate individuals for membership in the Academy. The Board of Directors, at their July meeting, approved the following individuals as members:

Jesus Agúirre, Seattle, Washington
Stacie Anaya, Lewisville, Texas 
Randy Auler, Westerville, Ohio
Alicia Bradford, Wayne County, Michigan
Kelly Bricker, PhD, University of Utah, Utah
Boe Carlson, Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota
Seve Ghose, Thornton, Colorado
Lakita Frazier-Watson, Richland County Recreation Commission, South Carolina
Sean Johnson, University Park, Texas
Michael Kies, St. Charles Park District, Illinois 
Ingrid E. Schneider, PhD, University of Minnesota, Minnesota
Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Metro Parks, Ohio

The Academy Board thanks RJ Cardin, Membership Committee Chair and committee members Joe DeLuce, Joe Turner, Carrie Fullerton, Dale Larsen, Karla Henderson, and Carolyn McKnight, Board Liaison. 

Happy 40th Birthday AAPRA! 

Over the next twelve months, as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), we will reflect on our history as an organization; remembering leaders and events that were instrumental to our founding, development and growth.  We’ll celebrate AAPRA’s forty years of success; as noted in the initial ten-year history prepared by Bob Toalson, charter member and Executive Secretary/Treasurer at the time (1990), “from its inception the Academy has been very successful because of the hard work and efforts of some very dedicated people.” Historical background was prepared by Charlie Hartsoe, also a charter member and AAPRA president 1984-85.


The initial idea for establishing a park and recreation academy grew out of the merger that created the National Recreation and Park Association in 1965.  Many of the founding board members of NRPA felt that an academy of distinguished professional and citizen leaders should be established to serve as an advisory body to the NRPA Board of Trustee; in fact it was included in the original NRPA Constitution   … Article IV, Section 6 :“There shall be a Recreation and Park Academy composed of lay and professional persons who have distinguished themselves in the recreation and park movement, to serve as an advisory body to the Board of Trustees.  They shall be elected to this position of honor for life by two-thirds (2/3) vote of trustees.  They need not be or have been members or officers of the National Association.” 

By 1973, the provision of the NRPA Constitution regarding establishing an academy had not been fulfilled. A special 12-member board committee was appointed by the NRPA Chairman, to develop a charter and procedures for establishing a park and recreation academy as outlined by the constitution; however there was no follow-up to the report nor an academy established and the provision of the NRPA’s Constitution that mandated an academy was subsequently dropped from the Constitution. Read more...

Academy Member Agencies Chosen as 2020 Gold Medal Finalists

Congrats to the 2020 Gold Medal Finalist agencies. The Grand Plaques will be presented Tuesday, October 27th, at NRPA’s Virtual Conference.

Class 1 (population 400,001 & over)
•    Dallas Parks and Recreation, Texas (Willis Winters, retired Director)
•    East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission, Louisiana
     (Carolyn Fredd McKnight, retired Director)
•    Metroparks Toledo, Ohio
•    Mesa Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities, Arizona (Marc Heirshberg, Director)

Class II (population 150,000 – 400,000)
•    Greensboro Parks and Recreation, North Carolina
•    City of Tampa Parks & Recreation, Florida
•    City of Henderson Parks & Recreation, Nevada
•    Des Moines Parks & Recreation, Iowa

Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)
•    Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, Indiana (Michael Klitzing, Director)
•    City of New Braunfels Parks & Recreation, Texas (Stacey Laird Dicke, Director)
•    Thornton Parks, Recreation, & Community Programs, Colorado (Seve Ghose, Director)
•    Arlington Heights Park District, Illinois (Carrie Fullerton, Director)

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)
•    Decatur Park District, Illinois (Bill Clevenger, Director)
•    Coppell Parks & Recreation, Texas
•    Centerville-Washington Park District, Ohio (Arnie Biondo, Director)
•    Evanston Parks, Recreation & Community Services, Illinois

Class V (population less than 30,000)
•    Green River Parks & Recreation, Wyoming
•    East Goshen Township Parks & Recreation, Pennsylvania
•    Vernon Hills Park District, Illinois
•    Valley City Parks & Recreation, North Dakota

Armed Forces Recreation
•    US Army Garrison Fort Riley, Kansas
•    US Army Garrison RP Kaiserslautern, Germany
•    US Army Garrison Bavaria, Grafenwoehr, Germany
•    US Army Garrison Fort Know, Kentucky 

The National Gold Medal Award Program is proudly sponsored by Musco Lighting and is offered in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.
Academy's Mentoring Program Expands to 91 Pairs 

The Mentoring Program is off and running with 91 mentee/mentor pairs in 2020!  
For Mentees:

  • 23 states are represented (AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MN, MA, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI)
  • Texas leads with 18 mentees
  • Followed by Florida (10), Illinois (9), California (7)
For Mentors:
  • 21 state are represented (AL, AK, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, KY, MD, MN, MO, MA, NJ, NY, NC, OH, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT)
  • Texas leads with 26 mentors
  • Followed by Florida (11), Virginia (7), California/Illinois (5)

Chair Stacie Dickie shared, “Interesting note, only 25% (23) of mentors are AAPRA members. This shows that we have lots of room for mentor growth among our own Academy members!”
2020 Legends Announced
There were a record number of Legend nominations in 2020.  The Legends Committee has selected the following individuals to be recorded as a Legend in Parks and Recreation:

  • Dr. Ted Cable, Kansas State University
  • Richard Doelsh, National Recreation & Park Association (retired)
  • Dr. Lynn Jamieson, Professor Emerita, Indiana University (retired)
  • Dr. Michal Anne Lord, Executive Director, Texas Recreation and Park Society
  • Gina McCarthy, President & CEO, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Kathy J. Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration- American Evolution

The Legends in Parks and Recreation Program is sponsored by Landscape Structures, Inc.

Click here to read bios of the selected Legends.

Legends Committee: Linda Lanterman, Chair; Chris Dropinski, Priscilla Geigis, Don Hoch, Michael Meadors, Linda Kotowski, Leon Younger, Chris Beth, and Dan West.

AIPE/Academy Foundation Update 

The AIPE/Academy Foundation restarted its campaign in early August and included outreach to those who had not yet donated in 2020 and to those who had already given to the campaign. For both, we encouraged Academy members to consider donating what they would normally have paid for the Academy’s banquet in addition to their regular donation and many of you have generously responded!  

We set benchmark goals for 2020 to raise $12,000 from 125 donors and to have 100% contributions from our new 2019 members. We are proud to announce that we have hit the dollar amount but not yet the number of donors.  We thank all the generous donors and will continue to make the final push to reach our goals. Thank you to Brit Kramer, the Academy’s Executive Secretary for keeping track of the detail of each donation for the Foundation. 

Our fundraising enables us to support our “Pottsie” scholarships to NRPA Directors School which we recognize will be critical for many young professionals next year due to budget reductions. We are all “paying it forward” with our donations and investing in potentially future Academy members!

If you have not yet given this year, please consider making a donation.  While the average donation is close to $100 any amount is appreciated.
Campaign Committee members are:  Mark Young, Tom Shuster, Michael Kalvort, Cindi Wight, Chris Nunes with support from President Renée Bahl.

John C. Potts “Pottsie” Leadership Development Scholarships
Thanks to your generous donations, the AIPE/American Academy Foundation's Pottsie Scholarship Committee awarded John C. Potts Leadership Development Scholarships to two parks and recreation professionals to attend the NRPA's Directors School. This was an unusual year as the 2020 Directors School was held virtually due to COVID-19. 

Jeannne Sprague, Director of Lincoln City Parks & Recreation in rural Oregon, opted to attend the virtual 2020 Directors School, which was held August 16-20. Ms. Sprague, who is rebuilding Lincoln City's parks and recreation department, believes that the Directors School will provide her the tools and resources to be a more effective director. 

Josh Hendricks, Director of Marketing & Communications at Bloomingdale Park District, Illinois, opted to defer his scholarship to attend the 2021 Directors School in Oak Brook, IL. Mr. Hendricks, who has been in the field for 12 years, is an aspiring leader who believes the Directors School is the final step toward becoming an executive director.

We look forward to hearing what they gained as well as to working with these future leaders.

Committee members: Mark Young (chair), Chris Dropinski, Cindi Wight, John Potts, Renée Bahl and Tara Eggleston Stewart (former Pottsie scholarship awardee)

Thank you to all the Academy members who support this program and our industry. 

Member News

After 26 years as a faculty member in the Experience Industry Management (RPTA) Department Dr. Bill Hendricks ( will be embarking upon a new role at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA. Bill was recently appointed Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) to commence on September 1.

Newly elected Academy member Sean Johnson will assume a new director position with the City of University Park, Texas. Johnson’s managed recreational and cultural activities for the City of Lancaster since 2010. In that capacity, he’s been responsible for the operational management of more than 1,000 acres of park and recreation space, a 60,000 square-foot recreation center with an indoor family aquatic facility, a 200-acre nature park, and Country View Golf Course. His duties also included oversight of the city’s Veterans Memorial Library, a full-service Senior Life Center, a Visitor Center and State Auxiliary Museum, and the city’s tourism efforts. Sean will be inducted into the Academy on October 20th. 

A double congrats to Academy member Dr. James Worsley, (, CPRE, CTRS, former director, Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation, Chesterfield, Virginia, as the 2020 recipient of NRPA National Distinguished Professional Award. 

James has also taken on a new role in Chesterfield County as Deputy County Administrator and will be responsible for all human services of Chesterfield County to include six departments: social services; mental health services; citizen information resources; juvenile justice services; drug courts; and community corrections. In addition, the deputy county administrator is the county’s representative on several regional boards. Human Services has about 950 employees and an annual budget of about $95 million. 

Congratulations to The Woodlands Township with Academy member Chris Nunes, Director, for being the 2020 recipient of NRPA’s Innovation in Conservation Award

Please share your agency’s achievements, awards, etc. Send press announcements to 

Announcing the GP RED Think Tank - November 18-20, 2020

The GP RED Think Tank is a national gathering of a diverse network of Thought Leaders brought together via a Multi-Day Virtual Summit to discuss innovations, best practices, and collaborations across multiple disciplines. Held every two years, it fosters an atmosphere that brings unique perspectives to address, identify, and create solutions to challenges and problems facing communities.
2020 topics include:

  • This Land is Your Land – the Future of the National Park Service
  • Changing Law Enforcement Perception through Recreation
  • Love Thy Nature – Documentary Film and Discussion by Sylvie Rokab
  • Developing the New Normal: Green/Open Space Standards for the Future
  • Building Community Resiliency from Response to Recovery
  • Trends in Outdoor Recreation and Health: Providing Access to Nature
  • The State of Education for Parks & Recreation – How to Move Forward

To apply to attend visit:


Academy Sponsors


AAPRA mailing address:
1401 Marvin Rd NE, STE 307, #552
Lacey, WA 98516

Contact: Brit Kramer, AAPRA Executive Secretary/Treasurer
(206) 823-3144   |   email:

American Academy for Park
and Recreation Administration

President - Dianne Hoover
President Elect - Michael McCarty
Past President - Carolyn McKnight
Secretary - Janet Bartnik
Treasurer - Bill Foelsch

Tracey Crawford (2020)
Terry Schwartz (2020)
Mary Beth (Thaman) O'Dell (2021)
Joe Turner (2021)
Steve Wolter (2022)
Susan Trautman (2022)
*year term expires

Copyright © 2020 American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration, All rights reserved.

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