2018 Slate of Candidates

Candidates for the office of Vice President

The person elected to this position will serve a three-year term. Vice President (2018), Incoming President (2019) and President (2020).

Kristie Riester, Community Services Director

City of Maricopa

Kristie Riester joined the City of Maricopa in June 2014 as the Community Services Director where she was responsible for the management and oversight of Parks, Recreation, Library and Special Events. She is currently serving the City of Maricopa in the City Manager’s Office as the Special Projects Administrator. Kristie discovered her passion for community services would lead to a career while at the University of Arizona where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree, in Physiology. She has a Master of Administration Degree with an emphasis in Public Management from Northern Arizona University.

She has 20 years of municipal experience working her way up from seasonal lifeguard to Director. Her first professional position was with the Town of Oro Valley where she served as the Aquatics Manager from April 2001 through December 2007. Before moving back to Arizona she served as the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of El Centro from January 2008 through May 2014. Ms. Riester has been a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) since March 2008. She is actively involved with her State and National Associations and has had the privilege to be an educational presenter at the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association conference as well as the National Recreation and Parks Association conference and National Aquatics Management School. She has also been a guest lecturer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the Parks, Recreation and Leisure Tourism Administration program.

Kristie has been a member of APRA for ten years throughout her career in Arizona and has been serving on the APRA Board since January 2017 as the Program Committee Chair. She served on the Education Session Committee for the 2015 APRA Annual Conference and looks forward to continue to serve APRA members for years to come.

Vote for Vice President and Central Region Representative

   (Voting will close on October 31st)

Candidates for Regional Representative

The candidate in this position will serve as a 2-year term as a voting member of the Board of Directors representing their specific Region. 

Central Region

Joseph Petrella CPRE, Recreation Manager

City of Chandler

Joseph’s career in the parks and recreation industry started at the age of 18 in Vernon, Connecticut where he worked as a summer camp counselor. He currently works for the City of Chandler as the Recreation Manager and came to Arizona from Great Falls, Montana, where he served as the Parks and Recreation Director. He has also served as a Division Chief in Alexandria, Virginia, Senior Center Manager in Madison, Connecticut and Recreation Supervisor in Vernon, Connecticut. He has a Masters in Recreation, Sports and Tourism from University of Illinois and a Bachelor’s from University of Connecticut. Joseph completed the National Recreation and Parks Association Director’s School program and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive.

Joseph strongly believes in the power of parks and recreation and the positive effects it has on communities throughout the nation. He has played a key role in establishing a strategic vision and plan for the City of Great Falls and City of Alexandria to set those agencies up for future success in the ever changing public sector environment. He enjoys being outdoors—golfing, hiking and going to sporting events. He has a firm belief in NRPA’s three pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity and strives to ensure that elected officials understand how public parks and recreation agencies can help mitigate some of the challenges communities face daily.

Chrystal Sawyer, Lifestyle Director


I began my career at a very young age with the Town of Queen Creek Parks and Recreation Department. During my time with Queen Creek I had the opportunity to do it all while working my way up. Anything that was offered for me to do I did. I took score at ball games, referred youth and adult sports, supervised youth and adult sports, helped implement a Youth Commission, programmed and supervised the drop in youth and teen programs and helped with senior program. After my 9 years with the Town of Queen Creek I was ready for a new challenge. I accepted a position as a Recreation Coordinator II with the City of Apache Junction. During my 8 years with the City of Apache Junction, I coordinated events and special interest classes. I was also able to help create a strong marketing platform for the Parks and Recreation department. After a brief stint in the Healthcare career, I am back in Recreation but in the private sector as a Lifestyle Director for a community association. I have been able to utilize my strong municipal parks and recreation background to create community events.

During my years in the parks and recreation field, I have had the opportunity to serve through APRA in many different facets. I have been the youth and teen branch chair, served on the Rec Pros branch and I have served as the 2014 Conference Co-Chair. I have volunteered as a room host at conference numerous times and have helped with many branch events and functions.

In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family that includes three dogs, travel to new places, kayak, and hike and visit local craft breweries!

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software