About the Board of Directors

The board consists of the officers of the Society, one student representative, one professional affiliate chapter representative, and totals up to least nineteen (19), but no more than twenty-one (21), members. Eight members are elected to provide regional representation and serve two year terms. Four members are elected at large and serve 2 year terms. The president may appoint on professional affiliate chapter representative for a two year term.

The nominations committee is responsible for recruiting candidates for office and conducting the election of officers. Ballots will be mailed to qualified members to vote not later than 60 days before the annual installation meeting. Vacancies may be filled for the unexpired portion of a term, or for a new term, whichever is applicable, by the Board of Directors from nominees submitted by the Nomination and Election Committee or by individual directors.

Chris Bass, MPA, CPRP

Chris Bass boasts over 15 years of dedicated experience in the realm of parks and recreation within local government. Currently holding the position of Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Douglasville, Chris has a solid background. Before joining Douglasville, Chris spent a decade at the Columbus Consolidated Government, overseeing a department division focused on youth development and volunteerism across the bi-city area.

Actively engaged in industry leadership, Chris serves as the Vice-Chair on the executive committee of the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). In 2022, Chris earned recognition as the top young professional from the Douglas County Chamber, adding to a prestigious list of accolades including the Ira Hutchinson Young Professional Award and the NRPA Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award.

Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University. Furthering professional development, Chris is a graduate of NRPA Directors School and the NC State Supervisor Management School, where he now serves as a regent.

Khalid Salahuddin

Khalid Salahuddin has worked in the Parks and Recreation field for over 30 years. He currently serves as Recreation Supervisor for the City of North Miami where he oversees athletics, aquatics, facilities and recreation programming for over 75,000 residents. He has served on the Miami Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) for the past seven (7) years and is currently the chair of the Board. Mr. Salahuddin is an active member of NRPEMS serving on the nominations and strategic planning committees. He is a passionate professional who is dedicated to improving the lives of citizens through Parks and Recreation services.

Khalid’s academic foundation includes a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Miami Dade College, underscoring his dedication to academic excellence and professional growth within the realm of recreation and leisure services.

Dr. Sonya Shaw
Immediate Past President

Dr. Sonya Shaw, Founder and President of SR Shaw Enterprises, is a retired parks and recreation director with 33 years of experience in municipal parks and recreation and consulting services. Additionally, Dr. Shaw serves as an Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology & Recreation Administration program at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration, Past President of the NC Recreation and Parks Association, and former board member of Supervisors Management School and the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions. Dr. Shaw is the first African American woman to earn her Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management from North Carolina State University with research centered on race, gender, equity and career mobility. 

Jonelle Bailey

Jonelle Bailey has over 25 years of experience in the parks and recreation field, from seasonal to executive director, in various areas of the country. She has a Bachelor Degree in Recreation, Parks, Tourism, and Administration and a Master’s degree in Organization Leadership and has taught financial leadership for Booth University. Bailey has presented at local, state, and national venues regarding customer service, programming, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. She is the Member representative of the IPRA Diversity Section, a member of the IPRA Diversity Taskforce, a Member of the National Ethnic Minority Society, appointed to the CAPRA Commission, and one of the lead facilitators and co-creators of the Safe Zone Conversations. 

Tameka Williams, CPRP, CYSA

Tameka Williams is the Deputy Director for the Richland County Recreation Commission in Columbia, SC.  She is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP), Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA) and First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor.  She is a member of NRPA, SC Recreation & Parks Association (SCRPA) and serves on the SC Special Purpose District (SCSPD) Board. She is a past NRPEMS Diversity Scholarship recipient and currently serves as a CAPRA Visitor.  She has served in the Parks and Recreation profession for over 24 years in various capacities in local government. She is a dedicated professional who is passionate about improving the lives of citizens in her community.

Daniel Betts, MBA
At Large Member

Daniel Betts is a public servant with 20 years of executive leadership experience managing personnel, property and multi-million-dollar budgets. Daniel have served in leadership roles within higher education, the US military, nonprofit, government and economic development organizations. Daniel is an innovative and creative leader with strong skills in project management, strategic planning, program planning, facility management and developing strong partnerships.

Throughout his career, Daniel’s focus has been on delivering top-tier services, spearheading change management, and achieving meaningful results. He’s earned a reputation for producing extraordinary outcomes in the face of challenging environments.

Daniel isn’t just a leader; he’s a strategic thinker and an innovative force. His excellent record speaks to his talent for identifying key strategic solutions to pertinent issue while ensuring sustainable outcomes.

Edwin J. Rivera-Guzman, CPRP
At Large Member

Edwin J. Rivera-Guzman brings over 25 years of experience to the recreation program and facility management field across both public and private sectors. His dynamic professional journey encompasses roles such as Facility Director, Camp Director, Program Coordinator, and Assistant Special Events Manager. A Springfield College, Massachusetts graduate from the birthplace of basketball, Edwin holds a master’s degree in recreation management and a B.A. in physical education from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. Further enriching his academic credentials, he has completed the NRPA’s Revenue Development and Management School and Supervisors School and is currently a Ph.D. student at Clemson University in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management program. An active leader in several professional bodies, Edwin is involved with the National Recreation Parks Association (NRPA), American Camp Association (ACA), and the Maryland Parks and Recreation Association (MRPA). He extends his commitment to service through community-based and nonprofit organizations. Notably, he earned the Eagle Scout Rank in 1995 with the Boy Scouts of America (Troop 276) in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Edwin’s research as a Ph.D. student focuses on understanding the motivation of minority groups, especially within the Latinx community, to participate in summer camps, community recreation, and leisure activities, with a specific interest in youth development and community outreach. Edwin’s entrepreneurial and communication skills come to the forefront as the franchise owner of Hi-Five Sports Clubs DC Metro and a Social Media Assistant for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. His passion for inclusivity and empowerment led him to realize a long-held aspiration: founding the Hispanic Professionals in Parks and Recreation group, aiming to develop, empower, and connect Hispanic professionals in the field. His outstanding contributions to the field have been recognized through several prestigious awards, including the Ethics and Minority Society Service Award and the American Camp Association Southeastern Region Community Service Award in 2023, and the Maryland Parks and Recreation Association’s Quarterly Award/Member of the Year in 2018.

Keith Wallace, CPRP
At Large Member

Keith’s impactful journey with the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association (LWSRA) began in 2006 when he joined the team as the Superintendent of Recreation. Over the years, his dedication and passion have propelled him into increasingly pivotal roles, showcasing his commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs. 

In 2013, Keith’s leadership qualities led him to take on the mantle of Executive Director at LWSRA, a position he has adeptly held since. His tenure has been marked by innovative approaches to recreational programming and a steadfast focus on inclusivity. 

 However, Keith’s involvement with LWSRA goes beyond administrative duties. Recognizing the importance of direct engagement, he actively participates in numerous LWSRA programs. His coaching of adapted sports teams, participation as a referee, and contribution as a DJ for dances and special events illustrate his hands-on dedication to fostering meaningful recreational opportunities. 

 Keith’s influence extends far beyond the local arena. He proudly served as the Head Coach of Team USA Wheelchair Softball, showcasing his expertise in coaching and leadership. This distinction was further solidified with his induction into the National Wheelchair Softball Hall of Fame in 2018, a testament to his significant contributions to the sport. 

His academic foundation is as impressive as his practical achievements. Keith holds a bachelor’s degree in Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Grambling State University. This educational background, combined with his extensive practical experience, has positioned him as a notable figure in the field. 

 Keith’s contributions have garnered significant recognition. In 2022, he earned three notable awards: the IBCA State Coach of the Year award, the Red Cross Community Hero award, and the SSPRPA Professional of the Year award. These accolades underscore his exceptional achievements and the enduring impact he continues to have on his community and the field of adaptive recreation. 

In 2023 Keith was given the NRPEMS Award for outstanding leadership, which thanks those individuals who continue to mentor, motivate, and inspire through their commitments to NRPEMS Education; he is currently serving as a Board Member for the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA); he served a Coach and Commissioner for Wheelchair Softball and in November coached Team USA at the Hanazono Cup in Osaka, Japan. 

Shajra Thrasher, CPRP
At Large Member

Shajra Thrasher is the Operations Manager with the City of Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department in Douglasville, GA. Her major duties includes overseeing the departmental budget, major projects such as the Master Plan and CAPRA Accreditation. Shajra assists the department with locating grants to fund specific projects and managing the internal staff engagement. She has her AFO and CPRP certification and started in the field over 15 years ago. She is a previous NRPEMS Ira Hutchinson Young Professional award winner and AAPRA extern. Shajra has worked in youth development, community events and programs, marketing and loves mentoring other professionals in the field.

Ramondo Davidson
Southern Region Representative

Ramondo Davidson brings a wealth of professional expertise and civic leadership as the esteemed Director of Constituent Services for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. His distinguished career trajectory includes a pivotal role as the former Executive Director of Recreation for the esteemed City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation Department, where he showcased his astute management acumen and dedication to fostering vibrant community engagement through recreational initiatives.

An esteemed alum of Temple University, Ramondo Davidson distinguished himself not only academically but also athletically, contributing his talents as a member of the university’s esteemed football team. This experience instilled in him the values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance that continue to underscore his professional endeavors.

Ramondo’s illustrious career also includes spearheading the inception and successful implementation of the City of Atlanta Midnight Basketball League, a testament to his innovative vision and commitment to providing constructive avenues for community engagement and youth development.

His tenure in public service, coupled with his impactful initiatives in sports and recreation, embodies Ramondo Davidson as a visionary leader dedicated to enhancing community well-being and fostering inclusive, active lifestyles among Atlanta residents.

Sydney Elliott, CPRP
Southwest Representative

Sydney Elliott is the Youth & Business Supervisor for City of DeSoto, a suburb outside of Dallas, Texas. She spearheads youth initiatives as well as facilitates business activities within the Parks & Recreation Department. Sydney oversees tourism for the city and serves as Accreditation Manager for CAPRA. Sydney has over ten years of experience and a passion for youth and developing relationships that create positive social impact. Since the age of 14, Sydney has served in some capacity related to the youth initiatives in DeSoto. Sydney was an original founding member of DeSoto Youth Advisory Council (now known as DeSoto Teen Council which she oversees). She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and later earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University – Commerce. Sydney serves on several non-profit and professional organization boards and also is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional. In her free time, Sydney loves traveling, reading, and 90’s R&B music.

Bernita Reese, M.S. CPRP
Great Lakes Representative

Bernita Reese joined the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in January 2022. Bernita joined us from the Huntsville, Alabama Parks & Recreation Department, where she served as the Director.

Prior to her time in Huntsville, Bernita spent three years as Assistant Director for Columbus Recreation and Parks, overseeing the Community Recreation section. Her previous leadership experience includes 12 years as the Divisional Manager for the DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department.

Bernita has a background of specialized training and experience that surpasses 25 years in the parks and recreation profession. She is a practical, problem solving, professional administrator, educator and self-motivated organizer who welcomes evaluation based on performance. She is active in a diverse range of professional activities at national, state and local levels. She is currently a member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA). She is the current president of the Bridge at Austin and previously served on numerous boards including Sports DeKalb.

Bernita has experience working with public, private and military recreation. She has worked nationally and internationally in recreation, athletics and therapeutics. Her life has not only been steered to motivate people but to implement programs that have a lasting impact in the community.

Sedrick Swan, CPRP

Sedrick Swan, MPA, CPRP is a native of Perry, Georgia and graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University.  Sedrick began a career in Recreation serving as the Director of Intramurals and Recreation Facilities at Andrew College. His career in municipal recreation began with roles within the Macon-Bibb County Recreation Department.  Swan would expand his professional experience by serving various leadership roles throughout Florida and Georgia.  He is an active member of both the state and national Recreation and Parks Associations. Swan credits the resources provided by these professional associations for his relatively successful career in Recreation. These professional experiences also encouraged Swan to further his academic pursuits.  He obtained a master’s degree in public administration and is currently a PhD Candidate at Liberty University. He currently serves as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Stonecrest, GA. 

The call to ministry was placed on Sedrick’s heart at an early age. He became licensed Minister in July 2021. Sedrick serves as an Associate Minister at Hebron Fellowship Baptist Church of Byron, GA.  Swan believes that his role of public servants is grounded in the servant leadership principles modeled by Christ.