Jennifer Schroder retires on Jan.15 with over 11 years with the City
The City of Kirkland’s Director of Parks & Community Services, Jennifer Schroder, has announced her plans to retire. Schroder has worked in the field of parks and recreation for 35 years, has served as Kirkland’s Parks Director since 2004 and officially retires on January 15, 2016.
“Jenny has been an extraordinary director who has built upon the great legacy of our parks system created by past generations and has set a strong foundation for parks and community services for future generations,” notes Kurt Triplett, City Manager. “She has led her department through the Great Recession, the City’s largest annexation, the successful 2012 Parks levy, and given us a new and innovative Parks, Recreation and Opens Space Plan. She will be missed, but we thank her for her exceptional service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
The City’s Parks Department is responsible for over 550 acres of parkland and open spaces, including 45 community and neighborhood parks and natural areas. The Department provides a diverse array of recreation, sports, fitness, arts, music and self-improvement classes and programs. The Department supports youth, senior, and human services programs. The Department employs 48 full-time administration, operations, and maintenance staff and over 150 seasonal staff.
“Parks do create community and I feel fortunate to have made that happen in Kirkland,” notes Schroder. “It is because of the hard work of my staff that Kirkland residents consistently identify parks and recreation as one of the highest rated services for performance and satisfaction.”
Schroder was instrumental in the formation of the Green Kirkland Partnership (GKP) program in 2005, which works to engage the local community in the restoration and care of natural areas in City parks. Since its inception, more than 15,700 GKP volunteers have contributed over 60,000 hours.
“I have had the great pleasure of working with Jenny over the years and have always been impressed by her knowledge, expertise and commitment to providing parks and recreation for everyone,” states Kirkland City Council Member Shelley Kloba, former Park Board Member and current Chair of the Public Works/Parks/Human Services committee. “Her leadership on the development of community assets like Jasper’s Dog Park, the McAuliffe Park partnership with Seattle Tilth, the Cross Kirkland Corridor Interim Trail, and the master plans for Juanita Beach and Edith Moulton parks will allow Kirkland residents and visitors to benefit from Jenny’s dedicated work and consummate professionalism for many years to come.” Under Schroder’s leadership, an additional 24.6 acres of parkland has been acquired.
As part of the Kirkland 2035 initiative, extensive outreach was led by the Department to receive feedback to update the City’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. The PROS Plan, adopted in November 2015 by the City Council, is a six-year strategic plan for managing and enhancing park and recreation services in Kirkland.
“Jenny led the ambitious efforts of the citizen-based Park Funding Exploratory Committee that took a broad look at the community’s needs for parks, open space and recreation facilities,” notes Adam White, Chair of Kirkland’s Park Board. “She carried the committee’s work through the extensive siting study of the proposed aquatics, recreation and community center with immense integrity.”
During her overall career, Schroder, a certified park and recreation professional, has been an active member in state and national organizations. As a member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), she served on the Certification Committee in 2006-2007 and was a Board of Trustee member, representing the Pacific Northwest Region. Additionally, Schroder served as president (2007) of the Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA). In 2010, she was nominated by her peers and received the WRPA Honor Fellow Award, the state organization’s highest honor, recognizing an individual’s lifetime achievement in the field of parks and recreation.
Deputy Director Michael Cogle will step in as the Acting Director to ensure a smooth transition while the City conducts a hiring process to fill position.