Seattle Parks and Recreation staff pride themselves on giving excellent customer service and being admirable public servants. This year, the department received two awards and three honorable mentions from Seattle Management Association’s Excellence in Management Awards Program. The awards recognize the accomplishments and skills of public employees, and we are proud to have such outstanding members on our team.
Out-of-School-Time Manager Lori Chisolm received the Leadership in Community Service Award. Lori’s contribution to the strategic development of recreation services has strengthened the community through her leadership at our community learning centers, which works with middle school students year-round to develop life skills and enhance their academic learning. She raises funds for these centers by applying for numerous grants that have greatly enhanced the program.
One shining example of how Lori goes above and beyond, was the department’s response to the recent teachers’ strike. With only a few days’ notice, Lori was challenged with creating a plan for child care for thousands of children ages 5-12. Lori collaborated with the Human Services Department, Seattle Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office to develop a plan that ensured a continuation of service for some of the city’s most vulnerable families. Once the strike became a reality, Lori oversaw the operation of the day care program at 21 community centers, monitored daily activities and attendance numbers, and troubleshooted any problems that arose.
Policy Strategic Advisor Paula Hoff is received the Leadership in Public Service award. Paula is the department’s “community whisperer”: the go-to staff person for some of the most divisive issues in the community and those requiring the utmost tact. Seattle Parks and Recreation turns to Paula for the tough projects because she embodies our values of access and opportunity and she treats the community with those values foremost in both the design of public processes and in her personal interactions. Paula’s work with the community establishes an exemplary path for other staff members to follow; her skill at working with staff and community organizations to find the best path forward models the highest level of public service leadership.
IT Computing Resources Manager Ayele Dagne received honorable mention for the Leadership in Public Service Award. As the pace of technological change accelerates and technology become ever more important for service delivery, Ayele plays a central role in making sure the department is keeping up with the latest trends. Ayele is responsible for developing strategic plans, advising the Superintendent on technology investment areas and strategies and representing the organization in citywide strategies.
Seattle Conservation Corps
The Seattle Conservation Corps program received an honorable mention for the Leadership in Community Service team award. The Corps is a unique program that gives back in two ways: it trains formerly troubled people for viable, living-wage jobs, and the Corps collectively do great work in Seattle parks and for other agencies and employers on a contract basis. It provides homeless adults opportunities to train and work in a structured program that provides them with job skills and carries out projects that benefit our citizens and our environment.
Planning and Development team
Donald Harris, MaryLou Whiteford and Joanne Daniels of the Planning and Development division received honorable mention for the Leadership in Public Service team award. This team contributes to making sure the parks are accessible, available and safe for the entire Seattle community. Their interactions with the community are always respectful and they are often called upon as a Parks expert for various community groups. This is a true team dedicated to the public and the legacy of the parks system.