Directors School

The NRPA Directors School is an exclusive two-year professional development opportunity that prepares new and potential park and recreation directors to be effective leaders. Students who complete the program will leave with the knowledge and confidence to navigate emerging challenges, improve operations and maximize positive impact on their communities.

Who Should Apply?
Current park and recreation directors, assistant/deputy directors, or mid-level managers working towards a park and recreation director position.

For more information about program content, contact education@nrpa.org. 

Application and Registration Information

Dates & location for 2025 will be available soon. Keep checking back for information!

Click here to add your name to the interest list!

Key Subjects Covered

Year 1
-Diversity and Cultural Awareness
-Economic Benefits of Parks and Recreation
-Facility Operations Strategy
-Qualities of Effective Leadership
-Creating a Data Driven Organization
-Director's Role in Community Development
-Human Capital Management
-Master & Strategic Planning
-Park Planning and Development
-Responding to Community Needs

Year 2
-Crisis & Risk Management
-Developing a High Performance Culture
-Developing Capital Improvement Plans
-Fundraising in Parks and Recreation
-Healthy Partnerships
-Building Political Capital through Advocacy
-Climate Resilient Communities
-Business Management for Financial Sustainability
-Impactful Marketing and Communications
-Driving Creativity and Innovation at your Organization

What do graduates say?

96% of attendees in 2024 agreed that Directors School was a valuable opportunity.

“NRPA Directors School is an outstanding way to advance your knowledge of the Parks and Recreation field while networking with other professionals from all around the country. Everyone aspiring to be a Director someday should attend this school!” - former attendee

This has been an awesome and wonderful experience. I only wish I had attended sooner. The classmates, instructors, accommodations and observers were great. The diversity of the school is an invaluable asset as practices, views, philosophies, differences, and commonalities are all brought together for the enrichment of all. My spark is now a healthy flame that is burning bright and hot and my aim is to re-light the flame in those I manage and lead in hopes of motivating in spite of our challenges. Thank you NRPA for a wonderful experience.” — former attendee

“Attending NRPA Directors School was a transformative experience for me and my career in parks and recreation. The program's comprehensive curriculum, taught by industry experts, provided me with invaluable knowledge and skills to effectively lead my department.” — former attendee