News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 26, 2013

Kish gets nod as new leader of Vigo parks

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Kara S. Kish was selected Monday as the new superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department.

The appointment is effective June 1. With her years of experience, Kish will earn $40,690.

Kish, 30, will become the county’s fourth superintendent since the park department was formed in 1967 and the first female superintendent. She was among two finalists selected and interviewed by a committee of the Vigo County Park Board. The other candidate was Daniel Neeley of Washington.

W. Keith Ruble, who has served as superintendent since 1973, in January told the Park Board he would remain until no later than June 1 to help the department to select a new superintendent — now selected —  and if necessary a new assistant superintendent.

“We feel Kara’s knowledge and enthusiasm speaks for itself on a daily basis,” said board member Tim Hennessy.

Ruble said Kish “is well, well thought of and is well qualified.”

Ruble told the board Kish will now need an assistant who has knowledge in land management to complement her talents in administrative skills. “She will do a great job. You made a wise decision,” Ruble told the board. “She is a very intelligent young lady.”

Kish, who had left the board room during discussion, put her hands over her flushed face when told by the board of her selection.

“I am so excited, thank you so much,” Kish told the board.

“I look forward to sticking around for a while.”

Kish said the position of assistant superintendent will be immediately posted on the county’s website. Kish said she and Ruble will now work “so that we have a full transition plan in place.”

The new superintendent will oversee nine full-time employees and 20 to 25 seasonal workers and a department budget of $1.2 million.

In 2010, Kish received a master’s of public affairs degree with a concentration in public management from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and in 2005 received a bachelor’s degree in recreational and sports management with an emphasis in park and community recreation from Indiana State University. She is also a certified playground safety inspector.

She has served as Vigo County’s assistant park superintendent since August 2009 and previously served as recreation program coordinator at Fishers Park and Recreation Department.

In 2011, Kish was awarded the Robert W. Crawford National Young Professional Award from the National Recreation and Park Association. That award is given to one person nationally each year.

Kish said future goals as park superintendent include park development, land acquisition and “the creation and provision of outdoor environmental programming. We’re hiring a new person in July. It is a natural resource programmer, for programs of youth, adults and more special events” in the parks department.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.