New Linn County Parks director named

New Linn County Parks & Recreation Director Stacey Whaley and her predecessor Brian Carroll share a love of the outdoors dating back to family backpacking trips, his on the east coast and hers 3,000 miles away on the west coast.

Whaley, 47, has been hired to succeed Carroll, who retired at the end of December after 25 years heading up Linn County Parks. The move was announced last week.

“The selection committee unanimously supported Stacey’s application, even though we had a number of great applicants including several internal candidates,” Linn County Administrative Officer Darrin Lane said. “Stacey brings enthusiasm and a broad base of experience that will help move the Parks Department forward for many years to come.”

Although she has spent more than 20 years as a school teacher and administrator, Whaley has a degree in parks and recreation management from the University of Utah, where she played volleyball.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about this,” Whaley said. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity.”

Whaley and her family live near Springfield and she is an administrator for the Marcola School District.

She has several friends who live in Linn County and one of them posted the parks job opening on their social media account.

“I grew up near Coburg and my parents were PE teachers,” Whaley said. “We did lots of outdoor activities. We hiked, camped, went whitewater rafting, kayaking, you name it.”

While at the University of Utah, Whaley worked several outdoor jobs including working with the college outdoor program, as a river guide and working hospitality at local hotels that catered to the ski crowd.

“I did a little bit of everything,” she said.

Now, her family focuses on water sports, camping, and four-wheeling.

Teaching has been Whaley’s focus for many years, mostly at Springfield High School with programs such as Special Education, Employment Literacy, and Remedial Reading.

She was the principal at Mohawk High School and most currently has been the Director of Student Services for the Marcola School District.

“I think many of the same skills I have learned and used here will transfer over into the parks job,” Whaley said. “I also write grants and am used to working with federal programs.”

The Whaley family already has a link to Linn County.

Her husband, Garth, is a mechanic and works at Advanced Mechanical in Brownsville. Their daughter Brooke, 17, is a junior at Mohawk High School and is a volunteer cadet at the Marcola Valley Fire District. She is planning a career in firefighting/paramedics.

Whaley said she can’t wait to get going, work with Carroll for a bit and meet the folks who make the parks system run.

“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Whaley said. “It’s my dream job.”

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer