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 

Application and Registration Information for Directors School 2023

Directors School 2023 will run from Sunday, August 13 through Thursday, August 17, 2023 at the Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook, located at 2815 Jorie Blvd, Oak Brook, IL. 

Applications for Directors School 2023 are open. Click here to learn more!

Key Subjects Covered

Leadership Development
Building a Responsive Team
Leadership for Diversity and Cultural Awareness
Developing a new generation of park and recreation directors
Creating a High-Performance Culture
Community Leadership

Creating a Data-Driven Organization

Budget and Finance       
Business Management Strategies for Financial Stability
Developing Capital Improvements Programs and Financing

Directors Role in the Political Environment        
Building Resilient Communities
Director’s Role in Advocacy
Directors Role in Community Development

Responding to Changing Communities 
Responding to Community Needs
Crisis Management
Driving Innovation and Creativity

What do graduates say?

To reach my goal to become a P&R Director and compete in the ultra-competitive recruitment process, I needed every edge possible. Directors School helped me gain that edge. It provided me basic knowledge and tools to use, demonstrated to the hiring city manager that I was dedicated to the industry and gave me the confidence to share my skills at the highest level. If it’s your desire to become a P&R director, you should be at this school.” — former participant

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 participant

The expertise offered during Directors School is exceptional and the networking opportunity is invaluable.” — former participant