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Foundation Board

Vonda Martin

  • Vonda has 35+ years as a parks and recreation professional with an extensive
    portfolio of corporate recreation, non-profit management, state and local government. She is the Grants and Outreach Manager for the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. Prior to being a Park Planner for Greensboro, she served as an RRS Consultant. Vonda obtained a Masters in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from NCSU and an undergraduate degree from Catawba College. She is a co-founder of the LeadHERship Workshop She is married to her wife Dale Smith, and they live in Chapel Hill.

Stephen Poulos
Vice Chair

  • Stephen graduated from UNC-Wilmington in 1982 with a BA in Business Management and

    gained his Masters in Sports Management from Appalachian State University in 1992. That same year, became Asst. AD for Watauga County Parks and Recreation began, promoted to Director in 2003. Retired from in 2022. Stephen served on the NCRPA Executive Board and was elected president 2014. He has served on steering committees for the NC Park & Recreation Directors Conference and the AD Workshop. In 2019 was awarded the NCRPA Fellow Award, and in 2021 opened the $40 million Watauga Community Recreation Center.

Mack McLeod

  • Mack is a 1981 NCSU graduate and retired as Parks and Recreation Director on June 1, 2019 after 37 years of service with the City of Hickory.  He is a current member of NCRPA having served in numerous leadership capacities.  Locally, Mack is a member of the Hickory Kiwanis Club, a member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and President of Tar Heel Leagues, Inc.  He is married to Rebecca and they have two sons – Ian (Jess) and Morgan (Alicen). Mack is also Pa to Theo and Saylor.

Dr. Joy James

  • Dr. Joy James, a Professor at Appalachian State University since 2007, has been involved in teaching and research on resident camps, interpretation in parks and environmental education As co-leader of the Healthy Outdoor Play and Exercise (HOPE) lab, she explores Pediatricians prescribing outdoor play. Since 2008, she has been an NCRPA member serving committees as well as presenting at conferences. Driven by a passion for lifelong learning, Joy strives to encourage everyone to explore and appreciate outdoor spaces, fostering a deeper connection with parks and nature.

Erma Deen Hoyle

  • Erma Deen, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, enjoyed a 39-year career with Lincolnton and

    Lincoln County Parks & Recreation (Director from 1990-2015), involved in the planning and construction of 7 parks and 1 community center utilizing 7 PARTF grants. She served as NCRPA Secretary and NRPA representative and received NCRPA’s Meritorious Service Award. A member of Lincolnton Sunrise Rotary, she has remained active with Lincoln County Sports Hall

    of Fame, Communities in Schools, South Mountain State Park, the Carolina Thread Trail and Messiah Church. She tries to always be available to be Momma Deen for her 4 grandchildren.

Jeff Ashbaugh

  • As the treasurer for the Advisory Board Jeff provides professional guidance and accountability for the scholarship fund. As a landscape architect for the past 34 years, Mr. Ashbaugh has assisted communities across North Carolina with developing parks and greenways. He has seen firsthand how parks and recreation transform our communities. Jeff has a desire to help advance the mission of parks and recreation through deserving students who share the same calling. Serving on the North Carolina Scholarship Board provides the opportunity to invest in the lives of students who enjoy enhancing our communities through park and recreation

Ian McLeod

  • Ian McLeod currently serves as Event Coordinator for the Town of Belville Parks and Recreation. Ian is a 2016 graduate of East Carolina University with a B.S. Degree in Recreation and Park Management with a concentration in Recreation Sports Leadership. Ian has previously worked for Winterville Parks and Recreation and Boiling Springs Lake Parks and Recreation. He has been a member of NCRPA since 2016 and a member of NRPA since 2020. He enjoys playing golf and officiating high school and college football and basketball. He is married to Jessica and new proud father of his first child Saylor Wynn.

Darren Lewis

  • Darren Lewis is a lifelong resident of Mount Airy, North Carolina and began his career in recreation in 1991 and served as the Athletics Supervisor with Reeves Community Center (non-profit) for 12 years. In 2003, he joined Surry County Parks and Recreation until moving to Mount Airy Parks and Recreation in 2005 serving as the Assistant Director and Director for 18 years. In 2022, Darren was promoted to Assistant City Manager with the City of Mount Airy and recently has been promoted to City manager. Darren is still actively involved in recreation as he assists with grant opportunities and serves on the Reeves Community Center Foundation Board. He is also the chairperson for the United Fund of Surry. He is married to Rebecca and they have three boys.

Alex Langley, CPRP

  • Alex is the Athletics Division Supervisor with the City of Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Department. His professional background includes experience in campus recreation (2007-2011), non-profit (2011-2012), and local government (2012-present). Alex is a two time graduate of East Carolina University, holding a B.A. in History & Philosophy (2003) and a M.S. in Recreation Sciences. Other board experiences include ECU Recreation Sciences Alumni Board, ECU College of HHP Advancement Council, Rocky Mount Little League, and Tar River Youth Soccer Association. He and wife Jessie live in Rocky Mount and are the proud parents of two daughters - Lennox and Lyllian.

Teah Rawlings

  • Teah Rawlings currently serves as an instructor in Recreation Management at Shaw University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from UNC Charlotte and a master’s in Recreation Administration from NCCU. She is CPRP certified and a certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has previously worked for the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources and the City of Creedmoor Parks and Recreation. Additionally, Teah serves as a member of the Recreation Advisory Commission for the City of Durham, where she advocates for Durham Parks and Recreation and the Durham Community.

Kelsey Newsome

  • Kelsey works for Wilson Parks and Recreation as the Special Populations/ Senior Coordinator. She is CPRP certified and joined NCRPA in 2012. Kelsey attended East Carolina University College of Health and Human Performance, graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation and Park Management with a concentration in Sports Leadership. She was awarded the Outstanding Graduate for the class of 2016 and now serves on the Recreation Sciences Alumni Board. She loves her family and her job and strives to “do good work, laugh every day, and press on”.

Dr. Jill Mills

  • Jill is Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Mount Olive. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and worked for many years in Florida in resort and municipal recreation before attending North Carolina State University (M.S. Park, Recreation and Tourism Management) and Indiana University (Re.D. Recreation Administration).  Jill and her husband Greg love living in Goldsboro, NC. Jill serves on the Goldsboro/Wayne County Tourism Board. Both enjoy gardening, hiking, visiting NC State Parks and beaches, and traveling.

Cory Tobin

  • Cory Tobin currently serves as Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Thomasville. He has served in his hometown community of Thomasville since 2011. His career began as an intern in Thomasville and he has held multiple positions within the Department.  He received his undergraduate at UNCW (BA in History and Parks and Recreation Management), and Graduate Degree from NC State in Parks and Recreation Management. He serves on a variety of local boards and is a firm believer in servant leadership in all aspects of life. He is a Husband to Alex and a Daddy to Griffin.

Lee Tillery

  • Lee serves as the Director of High Point Parks & Recreation and has over 25 years experience in the field.  Lee obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from Western Carolina University and a Master of Arts Degree from Appalachian State University.  Lee has been active in NCRPA throughout his career serving in a variety of capacities, including President in 2021.  He serves on various boards in High Point including the Macedonia Resource Center, A Special Blend, and Visit HP.  Lee is married to Ashley and is the proud father of Thomas, Jack, Walt, and Meg.

Londa Strong

  • Londa has been with Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks since 1981, held several different positions, and has been the Director since 2008.  She earned a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Park and Recreation Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.   She has held several different elected offices within NCRPA and served on several committees since joining NCRPA in 1981.  She serves in several volunteer capacities locally and sits on several committees.  She has rescued 12 dogs and 3 cats since moving to NC and currently has 3 rescues including a Chihuahua, Chihuahua-Pug, and a Greyhound.

Lisa Wolff

  • Lisa Wolff is a Senior Consultant with the BerryDunn, Parks, Recreation, & Libraries and has previously served on the Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors. She has been an appointed member of the North Carolina Park Authority Board, Past President of NCRPA, and served many other roles within NCRPA. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Elon University and a Master of Science & Leadership from Pfeiffer University. Serving in many volunteer capacities within the Alamance and Burlington community is a passion and is the current Chair of the Alamance Parks, Recreation Commission. Her passion for parks and recreation runs deep and she is CPRP certified. Her motto is “Live Boldly, and continue to make a difference within communities.”

Billy Wilkes

  • Billy Wilkes currently serves as Recreation & Parks Director for Craven County. He has served in Craven County for over 30 years. His first stop was the City of New Bern from 1990-1995 and has worked the last 25 years at Craven County in a variety of capacities including Program Manager, Assistant Director and Director. Billy has two children Hannah and Miles. He has taught tennis and coached baseball and basketball through the years. He was a 1988 graduate of Craven Community College and a 1990 graduate of Pembroke State University.

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