A newsmaker you should know: Collier's new recreation director brings lifelong passion to job know
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Collier commissioners were so impressed with Lisa Novak's educational background and work records that she was their top choice in February for the township's first full-time parks and recreation director.
But another factor undoubtedly also caught officials' attention from the field of more than 70 applicants -- Ms. Novak's lifelong participation in recreational activities.
Growing up in Canonsburg, she recalled practically "living in the park," spending all day there through the summer.
She remembered attending two daily playground programs as well as spending the time in between at the town pool.
Her passion for the outdoors, sports and group activities made her a natural choice to organize and supervise recreation programs for all ages.
Ms. Novak, 53, of Upper St. Clair, has a bachelor's degree in recreation management from The Ohio State University, a master's degree in exercise science from West Virginia University and a clinical exercise specialist certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. She previously worked as manager/fitness director for Mt. Lebanon and, most recently, was activity coordinator for Presbyterian SeniorCare.
Collier has plenty to offer the recreation lover: the Panhandle Trail, numerous neighborhood parks and a new 72-acre park in the early stages of development at the former Charles E. Kelly Support Facility on Nike Site Road. The municipal building has a community room that can be used for events including meetings, creative lessons and movies.
To give her adequate space to work and to provide public access to her department, Ms. Novak recently moved from an office on the municipal building's main floor to the former tax office on the lower level. A part-time summer intern is helping her this summer.
Her job includes overseeing the operation of the township's park system, scheduling and managing activities at the former Kelly site's community center and pavilion, coordinating recreational programs and community events and participating in the planning and development of the large new park.
She also has to come up with policies and procedures as well as incorporate her own expertise and best practices into the mix.
"Here I'm wearing 10 different hats," she said.
The Kelly site, which has been renamed the Collier Township Community Park, is scheduled to be completed in 2014. It will not be just for kids, Ms. Novak noted.
"All these parents and seniors need to recreate, too," she said.
She also hopes to extend Collier programs to kids in other communities.
"You've got to get kids out and play and get them away from computers, texting and television," Ms. Novak said. "I want to give them an avenue to play."
First Published July 19, 2012 5:02 am