Member Biography

Michelle Park

Michelle Park, CPRP, is a retired park and recreation professional currently providing agency accreditation technical support to departments interested in seeking CAPRA Accreditation. She retired in 2019 after forty-one years in the parks and recreation profession receiving degrees in the field from the University of Florida and the University of Southern Mississippi. A native of south Florida, she spent 11 years working with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, 8 years as Director of Recreation. In 1989, she moved to Washington DC to become the executive director of the Maryland Recreation and Park Association.

In 1991, she was hired by the National Recreation and Park Association as director of Professional Services, providing education and training opportunities to professionals and citizens in the field. National program responsibilities included professional certification, agency accreditation, college curricula accreditation, playground safety certification, etc.

In 1996, Michelle became the executive director of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. A major function of her job was sharing the important message to elected officials and community leaders about the tremendous benefits that public park and recreation agencies brought to the citizens and businesses of Ohio. She also managed the OPRA Foundation, the fundraising ally of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association.

In 2008, she began her last full-time position as the Assistant Director of the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in Gainesville, FL, during which she led the master planning process, CAPRA accreditation and re-accreditation process, and was the department’s lead on the passage of a county-wide ballot initiative to fund the City’s first parks and recreation master plan in 2016. During these years she also helped to create the 501c3 Gainesville Arts and Parks Foundation.

Awards and recognitions she is most humbled by:
The Michelle Park Family Recreation Scholarship for Gainesville, 2015 to present; B.K Stevens Award for Service, University of Florida, College of Health and Human Performance, 2008; President’s Award for Exceptional Service, American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration, 2002, 2008; and the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Florida, College of Health and Human Performance, 1999.