Tom O’Rourke Named Director of NRPA Directors School | Athletic Business

Tom O’Rourke Named Director of NRPA Directors School

Source: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

O’Rourke replaces former director Dr. Phil Rea   

Ashburn, Va. (Feb. 16, 2017) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), a network of more than 52,000 park and recreation professionals and advocates, is proud to announce that Tom O’Rourke, a leader in park and recreation management, has been chosen as the new director of the renowned NRPA Directors School. O’Rourke replaces Dr. Phil Rea who served as director of the school for nearly 10 years.  

Highly respected by his colleagues and peers, O’Rourke has spent a significant amount of time serving as a mentor and educator in the park and recreation field. Prior to becoming director, he taught at the NRPA Supervisors’ Management School and served on the Board of Regents at the NRPA Revenue Development and Management School. O’Rourke has presented more than 10 education sessions at the NRPA Annual Conference and spoken at numerous state association conferences on the topic of park and recreation management.  

O’Rourke currently serves as the executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission in Charleston, S.C., where he oversees more than 10,000 acres of parkland and a wide variety of parks, programs and services. He is also chair of the Clemson University Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Advisory Board; chair of the Charleston Area Conventions and Visitors Center Board of Directors; and chair of the Charleston Area Sports Commission Board of Directors. In his spare time, O’Rourke enjoys coaching track and field at the high school level. His area of expertise is the pole vault.

Established in 2008, the NRPA Directors School prepares new and prospective directors for the challenges of leading and managing a successful park and recreation agency. The two-year program, made possible through a partnership with North Carolina State University and the Oglebay National Training Center, covers a variety of rigorous topics, including management and operations; strategic planning; program development and evaluation; marketing, public relations and branding; leadership; and legal issues. To date, more than 1,000 park and recreation professionals have attended the program, which is sponsored by The Toro Company. To learn more about the NRPA Directors School, visit 

To learn more about NRPA, visit 

About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 52,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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