2023 WRPA Election Results

Welcoming New WRPA Board Members

Each year, we welcome new members to the WRPA Board of Directors at the Annual Conference & Tradeshow. The Board of Directors is the governing body of our association and is responsible for the supervision, control, and direction of WRPA. These Board members are elected by you, the members, during an annual election.

The following WRPA members have been elected to join the board:

WRPA Vice-President 

The WRPA Vice President serves a four-year term, assisting the President and President-Elect with all association business. They become acquainted with the activities of the corporation and the duties of the President in preparation for assuming the presidency. (The person in this position automatically advances to become WRPA President-Elect and then WRPA President.)

Nick Farline, CPRE, Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities, City of Kennewick 

Education: M.S. in Recreation and Sport Sciences from Ohio University, and B.A. in Economics from Eastern Washington University. 

Job History: Nicholas Farline has over 20 years of experience in the parks and recreation field, currently is the Parks, Recreation & Facilities Director for the City of Kennewick, Washington. Previously he served as the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director for the City of Valdez, Alaska. He also worked for the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, Washington State University Extension and was born and raised in Spokane, WA. He is passionate about the power positive recreation and leisure opportunities have on an entire community!

Farline is accredited as a National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE), earned a M.S. in Recreation and Sport Sciences from Ohio University, and B.A. in Economics from Eastern Washington University. He has directed outdoor recreation programs internationally as well as for municipal and state agencies, has taught both didactical and skill-based college courses, and has presented at state, national, and international conferences.

WRPA Involvement: Farline was a member of WRPA in 2016-2018 and is currently a WRPA member involved in monthly Director Meetings, and RCO Youth Facilities Workgroup member Community Outdoor Athletic Facilities Technical Work Group.He was an Alaska Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) President-Elect, and has attended seven NRPA conference in a row. He would be honored to serve on the WRPA board.

Why do you want to serve on the WRPA Board of Directors: Opportunity to continue to grow partnerships with institutes of higher education to bolster the number of new professionals entering our field. Continue to be an advocacy tool for the Parks and Recreation field both here in the state of Washington and nationally.

What type of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives have you contributed to previously or would you contribute to in the future?: Nicholas Farline spearheaded a successful award of an Economic Development Association Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grant to provide a 186-acre park and trail system in an underdeveloped natural area. The award was for $2.3 million for a rural Alaska town. What makes this worthy of acknowledgment is the primary element of the award and plan is inclusive access to the park. Farline was able to use ARPA and his network to receive statements about the importance of inclusive community assets that helped articulate the need and value to both federal funding entities and local stakeholders. The ability of all ages and physical abilities to access a community asset is at the core of our responsibilities to each of our communities. In addition, he secured $500,000 of funding to develop the first fully inclusive splash pad for the City of Kennewick.  He is also leading an effort to update playground surfaces across the Kennewick system. This is an area he is intentional about securing funding and articulating the value of inclusivity to decision-makers, staff, and the community.

Describe the contributions you feel you can make as a member of the WRPA leadership team: He has a core belief that WRPA is and will continue to be an advocacy tool for the Parks and Recreation field both here in the state of Washington and nationally. The voice of many is stronger than the voice of a few, supporting partnership opportunities of local municipalities across the state to advocate for funding and legislation is a critical feature of WRPA. In addition, he thinks another opportunity is to continue to grow partnerships with institutes of higher education to bolster the number of new professionals entering our field. The need to grow the number of highly qualified individuals entering the Recreation and Parks field is critical to stay relevant and meeting the needs of our communities. He would contribute to these efforts and provide valuable input to the board through varied experience and national connections in the field.

Back to Top

WRPA At-Large Director

Keisha Taylor, Recreation Coordinator,  Auburn Parks, Arts & Recreation

Education: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Major in Community & Therapeutic Recreation, Minor in Communications & Business Administration

Job History: Since 2010 I have taken on many roles with the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department, where I began working as a junior counselor. Then camp/Program Director and regional coordinator for the youth and teens department. Soon after graduating, I became a sports director at the Y where I volunteered throughout college. Currently, I am the teen coordinator for the City of Auburn. 

WRPA Involvement:  Current Programers Network Chair and speaking at the 2023 Conference. 

Why do you want to serve on the WRPA Board of Directors: Being on the board comes with great responsibility. I'm excited about this opportunity, as it would allow me to develop strategies that deliver results. Engage with all park professionals and become a trusted listener with a desire to help and guide. 

What type of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives have you contributed to previously or would you contribute to in the future?: Currently as the chair-elect for the inclusive Aubrun Advisory team I have a great responsibility to lead a team of peers to uphold our mission. While serving on this team, I work closely with our Cheif Equity Officer and Executive Board to identify the needs in the city and present research-based solutions to leadership. I would be interested in continuing this work with WRPA that aligns with WRPA's Mission, Vision, and Values. 

Describe the contributions you feel you can make as a member of the WRPA leadership team:  I will come into this role with a team-minded spirit to accomplish the goals set by the WRPA Organization. I am committed to serving as an ambassador for WRPA.  

Back to Top

WRPA Regional Directors

Four regional Directors represent one of the four regions. The four regions are identified as the following: 

  • King County
  • Southwest WA
  • Northwest WA
  • Eastern WA

This year Northwest Director and Southwest Director are up for election.

WRPA Northwest Director

Brian Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation Department, City of Oak Harbor

Education: Brain holds a degrees in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership, a Master of Public Administration, and is a CPRP and has been approved to take the CPRE exam.

Job History: He is the current Director of the City of Oak Harbor’s brand-new Parks and Recreation Department which was created in 2022. He grew up in Pasco, Washington and has been in the recreation field for 28 years, serving in various capacities around the Country, including operating a high adventure travel business. In 2013, he worked with a team in the Utah State Governor's Office of Economic Development to create the nation’s first state-level Office of Outdoor Recreation, which has been duplicated in States around the Country, and served as a board member for the Grant Programs. In 2014 he won the Guinness World Record for the largest scavenger hunt as part of a recreation and economic development initiative with Google’s Fiberhood. He oversaw the RecPlex, the nation’s largest municipally owned recreation center. Brian has served on numerous steering committees at local, state, and regional levels to advance the benefits of parks and recreation and provide better opportunities for professionals in the field to access resources to accomplish their mandates, having served on the Mountainland Association of Governments, the Utah Council of Local Affairs, the recreation planning team for the Middle Colorado River Integrated Management Plan, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Leadership Summit, and the International Mountain Bike Association.

Why do you want to serve on the WRPA Board of Directors:  Brian loves teaching and has worked to bridge the academic and professional fields for young adults interested in parks and recreation and new emerging leaders. He and his wife have four children and foster at-risk youth. While they are self-described travel junkies, they are thrilled to return home to Washington and absolutely love the PNW island region they live in.

What type of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives have you contributed to previously or would you contribute to in the future?: After completing a Recreation Economies in Rural Communities Technical Assistance Program in partnership with the EPA, USFS, and Northern Border Regional Commission, Brian saw that there were many underserved populations and created the region’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator that helped him implement several initiatives, programs, and special events to remove barriers to participation for these groups. He created a gear library of recreation equipment for low-income families along with a program and membership scholarship. They were awarded a resilient communities grant to hire an outreach coordinator that helped translate our marketing materials and website for ESL and non-English speakers. They created a series of Pride events and safe places and held several listening sessions and purposefully diversified their boards and commissions to better represent the unique cultures and background of the community.

Describe the contributions you feel you can make as a member of the WRPA leadership team: 

Brian looks forward to bringing his experience with DEI initiatives to the members of WRPA in helping them find resources and implement their own DEI plans. He hopes his outreach efforts serving on the Board for WRPA will inspire others in our field to contribute beyond their daily job to the advancement of the Parks and Recreation profession.

WRPA Southwest Director

Lisa Ellson, Community Center Assistant Supervisor, Metro Parks Tacoma

Education: Associates of Science – Pierce College (Puyallup) 2013

Job History: 

  • 1996- 2000 Grey line of Seattle/Westours, (Safety and Compliance Supervisor) Responsible for drug testing compliance, DOT, accident claims, L&I claims, and accident investigations, Safety Committee Chair; conducted monthly board meetings, provided excellent customer service to trips and tour clients, management team member committed to providing the best service for our clients
  • 2009 – 2010 YMCA Pierce and Kitsap Counties (Lakewood) (Gymnastics Coordinator)- Analyzed attendance and class structure which increased participation from 30 to 300 per year, managed program budget, implemented staff development and training to improve coaching, supervised 15 part time staff throughout the year, managed 100 athletes per week to develop confidence and teach technical fundamentals of gymnastics, researched program and facility process improvements, presented to other directors, and worked collaboratively to implement changes.
  • 2012 Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (Running Coach) - Coached 12 member running team to train and compete in the 2013 Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas, researched and presented running and health information to team members, provided regular and consistent information and encouragement, coordinated travel schedules and training agendas, provided support and encouragement during practice runs and race, organized special events with local doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and fitness instructors to educate runners on how to be successful and avoid injuries.
  • 1999- 2020 YMCA Pierce and Kitsap County (Puyallup) (Health Coach, Fitness Instructor, Teen leadership Programs) - Regional YMCA location serving 21,000 members each year, research, present, educate and motivate participants regarding healthy lifestyles, fitness planning and scheduling for up to 250 individuals per year, maintain working relationships with other staff to strengthen member’s needs; problem solve together to create energy and increase participation, work with an inspiring and dedicated team of adults to provide a safe environment for an average of 400 teens every Friday night, build relationships, consistently modeling accountability and integrity with teens to make positive impact, event management and enhancement.
  • 2014 – 2021 Washington State Fair Events Center (Event Coordinator) – Book approximately 60 events per year which range in size from 100 to 10,000 participants at the Northwest’s premier event and entertainment complex, contains 14 bookable facilities, the largest being 82,000 square feet, entire grounds for largest events, support and assist promoters and customers to ensure staffing, concessions, alcohol vendors, equipment, oversee concessions, alcohol permitting, parking, and security for over 120 events per year, assist Facility Rental Service Manager to ensure accuracy of revenue and expenditure budget administration, foster and maintain positive relationships with promoters, sponsors, vendors, clients, and co-workers, Health and Wellness Committee member; responsible for annual budget
  • 2021 – Present Metro Parks Tacoma Center at Norpoint (Community Center Assistant Supervisor) Supervise and oversee the highest membership community center in the Metro Parks Tacoma system, work collaboratively with and support other assistant supervisors, supervisors, and programming staff, work collaboratively with centralized marketing team to promote Center at Norpoint, particularly with social media, plan and oversee three major annual Center Community Events, collaborate with rental staff to book space, develop community partnerships (Tacoma Public Schools, Library and local business owners), hire, supervise, and train approximately 12 full time and part time staff annually, helped organize community centers re-opening to the public after pandemic closures, supported and assisted with staffing restructure.

Other Accomplishments:

  • YMCA Youth Soccer Volunteer Coach, Present
  • Puyallup School District Volunteer, 2002- 2013
  • 5K Run Coordinator South Sound Titans swim team, 2010
  • King Kamehameha III Elementary School PE Coach, 2009

WRPA Involvement: 

  • Member of WRPA since 2022
  • 2022 Conference Attendee
  • 2023 – Conference Planning Committee (researched/viewed keynote speakers, volunteered with raffle baskets)

Why do you want to serve on the WRPA Board of Directors: I would like the opportunity to serve as a volunteer on the WRPA Board of Directors because I have a strong desire to learn and improve my skills as a recreation professional, build my network, and experience personal growth.

What type of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives have you contributed to previously or would you contribute to in the future?: At both of my YMCA locations (Puyallup/South Hill, and Lakewood) I have served very diverse communities.  The strategies I have used to ensure that all segments of the population are reached and welcomed into programs are to accept all people, be mindful of other perspectives, and to be a good example of acceptance and mindfulness to my staff.  In addition, I believe in employing people that represent the diversity of the community, and in providing programs that appeal to a wide range of cultural interests.  Reaching out to diverse local groups and forming partnerships to provide programs is crucial in creating opportunities for the neighborhood.

One example of my experience with diversity is working on the Leadership Team at the YMCA teen outreach program (Late Nite) in Puyallup.  I provided and sustained an environment that acknowledges and celebrates diversity and employs inclusive practices.  An average of 400 diverse teens with varying backgrounds, situations, ages, and abilities came to us every week and we provided a safe, organized environment to keep them communicating and cooperating with their peers, accountable to themselves and others, and help positively influence their behaviors down the road.  We made it clear that everyone was welcomed and included as long as basic rules were followed.  I was a positive role model to the kids, and approached each person with their unique differences to promote a fair level of success in a safe environment.  The Leadership Team appreciated each individual teen and created a culture of acceptance and inclusivity in our one to one conversations with the kids, and our group discussions and productive activities with them.  This environment helped teens find positive solutions to their life challenges. 

I'm currently working with local leaders, business owners and community members on a teen center for diverse populations in northeast Tacoma at the Center at Norpoint.  We want all teens to be included and have a safe place to belong. 

Describe the contributions you feel you can make as a member of the WRPA leadership team: I want to be a member of the WRPA leadership team because it’s another opportunity to make a difference within WRPA and within my own organization. I am passionate about promoting health and wellness, and motivating others to do so in their communities. I work well as a team to enact change, and care about helping others succeed and reach their goals.  


Back to Top

Share this post:

Comments on "2023 WRPA Election Results"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment