KC Parks: Women’s History Month

KC Parks: Women’s History Month

As we close out Women’s History Month, we would be remiss if we did not include our Director, Terry Rynard. Terry is the first female Director in the 129-year history of the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Parks and Recreation Department. Terry Rynard grew up in Kansas City, walking to school each day through the Buckeye Greenway park. She remembers the Parks and Recreation leaders who helped her with after-school activities, and at age 16 she started working a summer job as a weed whipper. She was one of three young women who worked hard to prove that they could mow faster and carry more sod rolls than the boys. Her KC Parks jobs have included equipment operator, area superintendent, assistant park superintendent, and Deputy Director.

Terry Rynard

Terry holds an Executive Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a BA in Social Studies and Education from William Jewell College. She completed studies in the Mid-Level Labor Management Leadership Training Program at Rockhurst College. Most recently, Terry has been accepted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), which is an organization of distinguished practitioners and scholars committed to the advancement of the park and recreation field.  

Since Terry became Director in January 2019, she has implemented some historic policies during her short time as Director, most recently, creating the QLID (Quality of Life Investment District) which is bringing social equity to KC Parks.  Historically, parks located in the QLID (38 of them) have not scored as well in internal audits.  Meaning, the is trash, overgrown grass or assets in the park are not up to par.  Terry is working to bring all parks up to good standards and works hard to bring that into reality.

With Terry’s history of working through the maintenance side of the parks, she knows our parks, knows how hard her staff works and is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, hence her showing up on a Sunday at Yvonne Stark Wilson Park with her daughter to help pick up trash  Kansas City is fortunate to have this woman at the helm of 221 parks, 10 community centers, 8 museums, 5 golf courses, hundreds of ballfields and courts, swimming pools and spray grounds and so much more.  Thank you, Terry, for all you do to make KC Parks what it is today.

Karen Daniel, who was on the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners from 1999 until 2003, is from Kansas City, Missouri.  She attended Southeast High School and showed proficiency in math.  Graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in 1980 with a degree in accounting, she also attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City and received a Master’s Degree in Accounting.

Karen Daniel

After working her way up at KPMG Peat Marwick Certified Public Accounting firm first as an assistant accountant to a Senior Audit Manager, she went to work at Black and Veatch in 1992.  She was named the Chief Financial Officer in 1999 and also Executive Vice President of Black and Veatch.  Ms. Daniel joined the Black and Veatch Board of Directors in 2006.

In 1999, Mayor Kay Barnes appointed Ms. Daniel to the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners citing the skills of Ms. Daniel and those of the other appointed Commissioners Tim Kristl and Bob Lewellen as bringing experience in business management, finance and auditing.  Ms. Daniel served as President of the Board from 2001 until 2003.  She resigned from the Board in 2003.

Ms. Daniel retired as CFO from Black and Veatch in 2018.

She has given much time to organizations including the Black Economic Union, the Women’s Employment Network, and Junior Achievement.  She served as Chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce from 2016 until 2017.  She has served on the boards of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Commerce Bancshares, Inc., Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and Northwest Foundation, Inc. of Northwest Missouri State University, among others.  In 2017, Ms. Daniel received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from her alma mater Northwest Missouri State.

In 2020, Ms. Daniel became part owner of the Kansas City Royal and joined the Board of Royals Charities to help guide community engagement efforts.

Cici Rojas became the first Latina on the Board of Parks & Recreation Commissioners when she was appointed by Mayor Kay Barnes in 2003, at the same time serving as the CEO & President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.  During her tenure on the Board, Parks and Recreation opened the first off leash dog park in Penn Valley Park, dedicated the Terra Cotta Warriors statues at the Sister Cities Bridge on the Plaza, and added Platte Purchase Park to its acreage among many other things. 

Cici Rojas

In 2005 she resigned from the KC Park Board to become Vice President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.  After several years, she returned to the Midwest as the Executive Director of the Kansas GOP.  And later she held the positions of VP of Community Engagement at Truman Medical Center and President & CEO of The Central Exchange before leaving to work with her husband Oscar Monterroso at his company, Tico Productions LLC and Tico Sports LLC, a full-service, bilingual multimedia production company.  The company has established Spanish broadcast partnerships with various sports organizations. 

Some of her additional civic works include being on the boards of Guadalupe Centers, Inc., Visit KC, YMCA, Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, Kansas City Zoo, Hope House, and USA Volleyball.  She has received numerous awards, including Nuestra Latina Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and the Greater Missouri Woman’s Leadership Foundation Woman of the Year in 2013.

Ms. Rojas graduated from UMKC with a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies.  She grew up in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, where she embraced the virtues of teamwork, discipline and respect, and was inspired to give back to others.  At other times, she had to refocus from family and career and fend off a pair of nasty attacks of cancer.

Anita B. Gorman Anita Belle McPike was born in Palmyra, Missouri.  Her family moved to Clay County, Missouri when she was 11 years old.  She attended North Kansas City High School where she met her future husband, Gerald Gorman.  She graduated from William Jewell College with a degree in economics and earned a master’s degree from Boston University. 

Anita B. Gorman

Anita Gorman, who married Gerald Gorman in 1954, has had a life full of involvement in civic improvements and community service.  She worked to stop the destruction of the Hopewell Indian archaeological site at Line Creek in 1964. She was played a leading role in the passage of bonds for the establishment of the Kansas City International Airport and was on the commission for its dedication in 1972. She was on the Citizens Association of Kansas City’s Board of Governors and was elected its first woman chairman in 1977.    She has served on many civic boards and committees including the Salvation Army, City Union Mission, Starlight Theatre, City of Fountains Foundation, the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and the Liberty Memorial. 

Mrs. Gorman was the first woman appointed to the Board of Kansas City, Missouri Park and Recreation Commissioners, serving from 1979 until 1991 and was its President from 1986 until 1991.  During her time on the Board, she worked with the other Park Board commissioners to make improvements to the City’s park and boulevard system.  Among many advances are the establishment of Frank Vaydik Line Creek Park and Archaeological Museum; construction of the first public ornamental fountain north of the Missouri River (Northland Fountain); establishment of a bronze restoration fund to preserve Kansas City’s outdoor bronze art and establishment of the Sculpture Park on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum; passage of boulevard and park maintenance levies and bonds to do major improvements at the Zoo in Swope Park.

Upon her departure from the Board of Park Commissioners in 1991, a park in Kansas City North was named for her.  Anita Gorman Park, formerly the Northgate Park, is located at North Holmes Street and Northeast Vivion Road.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources named their conservation center in Kansas City the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in 2005 in recognition of her efforts in raising money for the center, her support of conservation programs, and for serving on the Missouri Conservation Commission from 1993-2005 where she was appointed as Conservation Commission Chairman, the first woman to receive the honor. 

In 2017 Mrs. Gorman received the prestigious Pugsley Medal from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration for outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks, recreation, and conservation in the United States.