Johnson County parks leader Jill Geller to leave agency this fall for job in California

Geller, center, at the ribbon cutting for Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village earlier this summer.

Jill Geller, who has overseen the award-winning Johnson County Park and Recreation District as executive director since 2013, will leave her position this fall to take a job in California.

The park board accepted her resignation at its meeting last week. When she departs Sept. 20, she will have employed by the agency for 36 years.

Geller’s first involvement with JCPRD was as a recreation coordinator, teaching aerobics and gymnastics classes and officiating volleyball games. She then went on to become the first-ever executive director of the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. She spent ten years as superintendent of recreation before being named JCPRD executive director.

During her tenure leading the organization, JCPRD earned the National Gold Medal of Excellence from the National Recreation and Park Association, among the highest honors for parks and recreation organizations in the country. She played key roles in a number of major accomplishments in recent years, including the opening of the new Meadowbrook Park and clubhouse in Prairie Village and the opening of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in Overland Park, among many others across the county.

JCPRD board chair Steve Baru said the group would begin considering a hiring process to identify Geller’s replacement.

“We are fortunate to have a very talented internal pool of highly-qualified candidates but we have also had inquiries from some outstanding individuals around the country,” Baru said in a statement. “Obviously our executive director position is a prestigious positon that is highly sought after. The Board will soon decide which direction to proceed and what steps to take.”

Baru also credited Geller with helping JCPRD achieve excellent results for county residents.

“Jill Geller has expertly guided JCPRD toward its mission of enhancing the quality of life in Johnson County by providing excellent parks and high quality recreation programs,” Baru said. “She has achieved this by listening to our patrons, and responding in a professional, timely, and knowledgeable manner. She has also molded the organization into an employer of choice, allowing us to present professional and effective services to the community by employing highly qualified and talented staff.”

Geller is leaving JCPRD to become the Director of Parks, Recreation, and Libraries for the city of Roseville, Calif., in suburban Sacramento.