The new Kansas City Parks and Recreation director is a Northland native.
Teresa ‘Terry’ Rynard replaced Mark McHenry earlier this year after he retired following 44 years working for the department.
Rynard grew up walking through Buckeye Greenway park on her way to Chouteau Elementary in northeastern Kansas City. She began working for KC Parks and Rec as a 16-year old trimming weeds and later started mowing parks.
After attending Winnetonka, she earned a bachelor of arts and secondary education degree from William Jewell in 1986 and while waiting for a full-time teaching job, she got hired as full-time equipment operator with Parks and Rec.
That ‘temporary’ job to fill time until she got hired as teacher has lasted 31 years. She worked up way up to from a seasonal worker to season equipment operator, an equipment operator, municipal management trainee, general supervisor, area superintendent, assistant park superintendent and most recently deputy director.
She earned a master’s in public administration in 2015 at University of Missouri-Kansas City, during her six-year run as deputy director.
McHenry was the director for the past 15 years and was responsible for adding 34 parks, six community center, doubling the size of the zoo, revitalizing Starlight Theatre and creating the current World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.
Locally, he helped Kansas City build the Tiffany Springs Aquatic Center; helped acquire the Clay-Platte YMC property at Vivion Road; expanded the parkway system with Shoal Creek Parkway, Maplewood Parkway, Tiffany Springs Parkway and Chouteau Parkway; formed the Platte County Sports Commission to improve sports in Kansas City and Platte County.
To honor McHenry’s service, Tiffany Springs Park will be renamed Mark L. McHenry Park.