General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, Michael P. Kelly, Named Chair-Elect of NRPA

SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

Kelly will begin his two-year term as NRPA chair in September 2020

Ashburn, Va. (Feb. 5, 2019) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the election of long-time board member, Michael P. Kelly, as chair-elect of the organization. Kelly, who is the general superintendent and CEO of the award-winning Chicago Park District, will begin his two-year term as chair of the NRPA Board of Directors in September 2020.

“On behalf of the entire board, membership and staff, I want to congratulate Mike on this achievement,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “His exceptional leadership skills and experience in the park and recreation field will strengthen NRPA and help ensure the continued success of the organization.”

Under Kelly’s leadership, the Chicago Park District has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, national accreditation for standards of excellence by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and two successive Distinguished Park and Recreation Agency accreditations by the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.

Michael P. Kelly has served as general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District since 2011. Prior to his appointment, Kelly served as the District’s chief operating officer, where he worked to provide executive management in areas, such as park operations, capital construction, repairs and maintenance, landscape services, security and other contract services pertinent to the operations of the park district. Kelly earned a JD from DePaul College of Law in Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

“It is with great honor and enthusiasm that I accept the role of chair of the NRPA Board of Directors,” said Kelly. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves, alongside park and conservation leaders from across the U.S. and continuing our work of strengthening our communities, cities and country through recreation and park advocacy.”

Currently, Jack Kardys, who is the former director of Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, serves as chair of the NRPA Board of Directors.

To learn more about NRPA’s leadership team, click here.

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 ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, 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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