National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society

Meet The Board

Lakita S. Watson, CPRP

Lakita S. Watson is the Executive Director of the Richland County Recreation Commission. Lakita started her career in recreation in 1994 as a part-time recreation leader for the summer program. A former director of the City of Suffolk Parks & Recreation Department, Lakita is a dedicated professional who enjoys working with young professionals and students encouraging them to excel in the field of parks and recreation.

Dr. Sonya Shaw, CPRP

Sonya Shaw currently serves as Director of the newly nationally accredited Garner (NC) Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department. She has been in the parks and recreation profession for nearly 25 years. Mrs. Shaw’s career interests include advocacy for educational and training opportunities of underrepresented minority students and young professionals in the field of parks and recreation. She most recently attained a PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.

Cordell “Corky” Wiseman
Immediate Past Chair

Corky Wiseman is the Director of Community Outreach and Citywide Events for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. He is a graduate of the Indiana University Executive Development Program, board member for the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), and has received honors from the City of Minneapolis for work in the community related to inter-city gang’s wars. 

Ashley G. Thompson, CPRP, CYSA

Ashley Thompson is a Facility Director with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Ashley began her recreation career in 2006 as a Camp Counselor and is a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional. She acquired her CYSA (Certified Youth Sports Administrator) Certification in May 2019 and is a past recipient of NRPA’s Young Professional Fellowship.

Chris Bass

Chris is the Parks Manager with the City of Douglasville, Ga Parks and Recreation Department. Chris began his career as a recreation professional in Columbus, Ga where he served in several different positions to include; facility manager, project director and division manager. Chris is a member of NRPA, he serves on the Board of Directors for the National Recreation Ethnic Minority Society and he also serves on the GRPA (Georgia Recreation and Parks Association) Board of Trustees as the Programming Network Chair.

Shajra Thrasher
At Large Member

Shajra Thrasher is the Therapeutic Recreation Supervisor with Columbus Parks and Recreation in Columbus, Georgia. She started as a camp counselor in Henry County, Georgia in 2007. She received her MPA in 2014 and became a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional in 2019. Shajra has a passion for mentoring, programming and providing innovative recreational services to her community.

Chris Allen
At Large Member

Chris Allen is currently the Recreation Coordinator for the City of Rocky Mount in North Carolina. He graduated from North Carolina Central University with a masters and bachelors in sports administration in 2010. Before arriving in Rocky Mount in 2011 he worked with the city of Durham as a Recreation Specialist for 5 years.

Anita Jones-McNair, CPRP
At Large Member

Anita Jones-McNair is the Recreation and Parks Director for the Town of Carrboro. Her career in leisure studies/recreation and parks spans for almost 40 years as an educator and practitioner. In 2018 she was recently appointed the Racial Equity Officer for the Town of Carrboro . She gives back to the community by volunteering through her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Virginia Union University (one of her alma maters) and other neighboring historically black colleges and universities.

Sonia Wimbish, AFO, CPRE
Southern Region Representative

Sonia Wimbish, currently serves as a Recreation Program Supervisor and Acting Aquatic Director for the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation.  Throughout her professional career, she has been actively involved with the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association serving on the Board of Trustees, the Leisure Careers Foundation, and Chairman of the Minority Section.  In 2018, she received her 25 year service pin from the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association.

Dr. Augustus Hallmon
Midwest Representative

Dr. Augustus Hallmon research focuses on understanding and addressing the lack of diversity representation in the recreation field (e.g. programming, staffing, and access).  He is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP).  As well, he has over 10 years of recreation experience ranging from organizing youth programming and athletic programming to broad community-based events.  These experiences allow him to be an effective teacher, mentor, and scholar in assisting students in their future professional development as well as advancing scholarship in the leisure field.

Tiffany Johnson, MPA, CPRP
Pacific Northwest Representative

Tiffany Johnson is the SE Recreation Manager for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. She is a PhD student with a Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) in Public Management, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree (BS) in Parks and Recreation Management, and a Minor in Business Management. She is the two-time recipient of the NRPA Mid-Atlantic Network Young Professional award, an American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) past fellow, 2016 NRPA Crawford National Young Professional recipient, and sits on the NRPA Program Committee.

Randy M. Little
Mid-Atlantic Representative

Randy M. Little is the Recreation Division Manager for the City of High Point Parks & Recreation Department. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree (BS) in Physical Education from North Carolina Wesleyan College, attended Keller Graduate School of Management where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Organization Management, and a Project Management Certificate. He is Certified Parks & Recreation Professional and is member of both the National Recreation & Parks Association and North Carolina Recreation & Parks Association.

Jonathan Jones
New England Representative

Jonathan P. Jones is the Commissioner of Recreation, Youth & Workforce Services with the City of Albany, New York. A former student-athlete, he holds a Master’s in Educational Administration, and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University at Albany (SUNY). He began his professional career in education policy, managing  federal education programs in low-performing schools across New York State. Selected as an Albany Business Review 40 under 40 honoree in 2016, Jonathan has a passion for empowering people to empower themselves.

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