The City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department hires experienced contractors to provide instructor services. Many are highly qualified practitioners with advanced degrees and/or professional certifications. All instructors are carefully screened and must successfully complete a background investigation which includes information obtained from the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC).

Several of our program instructors are profiled below. Click here if you are interested in becoming an instructor.

Lori CooleyLori Cooley
Lori has been directing and teaching gymnastics through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department since 1997. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a B.A. in Health, Recreation and Administration where she was a scholarship gymnast. Lori started teaching gymnastics as a teenager and has almost 30 years of experience teaching at all levels from recreational gymnastics to competitive teams.

Brian DixonBrian Dixon (great gig DANCE co.)
Brian attended Jacksonville State University where he majored in Drama and minored in English. He is a former graduate and faculty member at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, GA, where he was the head varsity dance team coach, leading the team to three national titles and second place in the state for two consecutive years. Brian was awarded Best Hip-Hop/Funk Choreography at the 2005 National Championships in Myrtle Beach, SC. Brian has performed in lead roles in Oklahoma,Young Abe Lincoln, Star Spangled Girl, Story Ville and The Sunshine Boys.  He also choreographed and performed at regional and national beauty pageants and Hip-Hop and Pom-Pom dance competitions.

Diana DowdDiana Dowd
Diana’s Chinese name is Hsueh Tan-kuei. Diana has lived in Kennesaw since 1997, but is originally from Taiwan, Republic of China. Her native language is Mandarin Chinese. Diana has been teaching Chinese singing and CSOL classes at the Chinese School of Atlanta since 2007, where was chosen as the Teacher of the Year in 2007-2008. In 2007 and 2009, she completed the Educational Training Program for Teaching Mandarin, which is sponsored by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission, R.O.C. (Taiwan).  Diana graduated from National Taichung Commercial College, International Trade Department. She enjoys working with young children and watching them learn Chinese language and culture.

Holly FrenchHolly French (Software-on-the-Go)
Holly has worked in the training and software development field for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in computer training as well as systems analysis, programming, curriculum development and software development. She brings a unique blend of patience, humor and computer knowledge into every training class. Holly started out as a computer consultant in upstate New York  and previously held training positions with ExecuTrain and IKON Office Solutions. She holds a Computer Information Systems degree from Weber State University in Ogden, UT.

Jessica Geist
Jessica GeistJessica has always been surrounded by art and art appreciators. At age 13, she enrolled in community art classes through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department where she studied with internationally trained artist Chris di Domizio. Techniques of the old masters and careful studies of their works of art formed the foundation of her instruction. She continued to draw and paint throughout middle and high school, and entered juried art shows through the Fine Arts Society of Kennesaw. Winning honorable mentions and even a second place award only gave her more confidence and motivation to become a professional artist. In 2009, Jessica won a first place award in oil painting at a North Cobb Arts League exhibition and Best of Show at the Artist Guild of Northwest Georgia’s First Annual Juried Art Competition.

Sachiko Hirata
Sachiko HirataSachiko (Sachi), who is from Japan, is a Certified Taiji (Tai Chi) instructor of the Chinese Boxing International Institute. Since 1997 she has practiced Chen Style Taiji. In 2000, she won the gold medal for Chen Taiji hand form and sword form at the Invitational Wushu Tournament in Beijing, China. For almost four years, she trained at the Taiji Kungfu Academy, which is the organization that follows Grandmaster Zhu Tian Cai, the 19th Generation Chen Family Taiji. In 2008, Sachi won a gold medal for Chen Taiji hand form at the Chinese Martial Arts Tournament in Las Vegas. She is also an aroma therapist and practices natural healing.

Mark KirkMark Kirk
Mark has worked for the Cobb County Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs Department tennis program for over 20 years with experience as a facility manager and teaching professional. He previously managed Terrell Mill Tennis Center and has taught at Fair Oaks and Kennworth Tennis Centers. He is a certified USTA tournament official.

Adrienne Korn (Peachtree Music Together)
Adrienne KornAdrienne has been involved in music for many years. She is a flutist and has been a member of a concert band and jazz band, as well as a flute chamber group. Adrienne believes that music is a gift we should share with our children and believes that Music Together is a wonderful way of doing just that. She looks forward to exploring the world of music with you and your children. Adrienne is a trained and registered Music Together instructor, and has been teaching since 2004.

Maureen KrivoMaureen Krivo
Maureen has been dancing since she was 10 years old, just after “retiring” from the world of competitive ice skating. Thrilled to find a fusion between her love of dance and her passion for fitness in the dance fitness movement, she has never looked back! Maureen is certified by AFAA in both Group Fitness Instruction and Kickboxing. She is a Masala Banghra Workout® Ambassador. She resides in Kennesaw with her husband, son, and dog and enjoys hiking, kayaking and writing when she’s not dancing.

Neil Lynch (Challenger Sports Corporation)
Neil is a regional director for Challenger Sports Corporation (Georgia and South Carolina region). He is a long serving member of the Challenger Sports team and has been a dedicated youth soccer coach for almost 10 years. Originally from Ipswich Town, England, Neil played semi-professional soccer in the UK and was a member of Leeds Metropolitan first XI soccer team (ranked top five in the country) during his college years.

Mario Manera
Mario ManeraMario received his black belt in 1991 while with the U.S. Air Force in Germany. Before his Taekwondo training, he had some Japanese Hakko-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu training at Kelly Air Force Base, TX. He received his International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) instructor certification in Ireland from Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha, one of the 12 original Taekwondo masters under Taekwondo’s founder, General Choi Hong Hi. Mario taught classes in Germany before moving to Georgia in 2006. He has been teaching through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department since 2007. When Mario is not teaching Taekwondo-Do, he is an IT Analyst and the Communications Budget Director at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, GA. Mario holds A.A.S. degrees in Electronics Systems Technology and Financial Management, and a B.S. degree in Computers.

Wendi McHughWendi McHugh
Wendi is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she earned a BBA degree in Business. She is a Registered Nurse (RN), having earned her a degree in Nursing from St. Petersburg College of Nursing. Wendi is a Certified American Heart Association CPR/AED Instructor, Nationally Certified Asthma Educator, and holds certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). She was recently selected to co-chair the American Heart Association's "Cardiovascular Task Force" for the state of Georgia school nurses, and was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Medtronic Foundation to help fund CPR and AED training. Wendi is currently employed as MS/HS RN at Wesleyan School in Norcross.

Karen Newkirk

Karen NewkirkKaren is a professional cake designer who received her education through the Wilton Method of cake decorating. She has been decorating cakes, cookies and cupcakes for over eight years. Her focus is wedding and themed cakes. Karen has decorated cakes and pastries for college presidents and Fortune 500 companies, as well as nationally-known Hollywood celebrities. She is an avid watcher of the Food Network and is always researching new ideas to enhance her work and classroom curriculum.

Carolyn ShelburneCarolyn Shelburne
Carolyn is a muscular therapist whose initial training was with Dr. Ben Benjamin, a noted educator and therapist in the field of sports medicine and education at The Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA. Carolyn is a licensed massage therapist in Georgia with a private practice in Kennesaw. She has taken classes in Chinese Medical Massage with Dr. Wolfgang Luckmann, A.P., L.M.T., and Orthopedic Massage with James Waslaski. Carolyn is also a practicing artist who has exhibited in Georgia and Massachusetts, and is the Georgia Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America. She studies several years under Michael Shane Neal, and has taken classes and workshops with Marc Chatov, David Leffel, Sheri McGraw, Margaret Carter Baumgaertner, Damon Carter, Thomas V. Nash, Luana Luconi Winner, Joseph Perrin, and watercolorists Mary Field and Joseph Fettingis, NWS.

Kristen Smith
Kristen has been playing and working with clay for 11 years. Kristen’s passion for pottery started by enrolling in community art classes, and has developed into a desire to teach others the wonders of pottery. Kristen can throw both funky and functional pottery in various sizes and shapes.

Anne-Marie TremblayAnne-Marie Tremblay
Anne-Marie has been dancing for as long as she can remember. She began with classical ballet, and ballet-jazz classes. As a teenager, she developed several choreographies, and later on, she began dancing international folk dances, which led her to join the Troupe folklorique égyptienne de Montréal, where she became a part of the troupe for over two years. Through this experience, Anne-Marie discovered other forms of belly dancing, which became her passion for many years. She then discovered ballroom dancing, taught it for over 15 years, and started a dance school with her husband. Now she is widening her horizons, combining fitness to dancing through the Zumba Fitness program. Anne-Marie is an authorized instructor for Zumba® programs, including Zumba Fitness, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold Toning, Zumba Gold Chair, ZumbAtomics, Zumba in the Circuit (Curves) and Aqua Zumba. She is also an AFAA certified Group Exercise Instructor. She completed SilverSneakers and Arthritis Foundation trainings after teaching Zumba Gold to expand on her knowledge of the specific needs of the older, active population.

Interested in Teaching?

The City of Kennesaw is committed to providing quality programs for all ages, abilities and interests. Programs offered strive to foster new skills, promote health and well-being, and expand cultural and artistic development.

In order to provide these programs, the Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department seeks contracted instructors to share their special talents, skills or knowledge with others in a class, camp or workshop format.

An instructor must possess strong communication, organizational and teaching skills; and demonstrate a desire to develop and promote their program(s).

Why Kennesaw Parks & Recreation?  

  • We are a progressive municipal agency, and member of the Georgia Recreation and Park Association and the National Recreation and Park Association.
  • We use an advanced computer registration system that enables users to check availability, view program information, register and pay online with just a few clicks -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • We provide advertising for our instructors through a variety of sources, including the Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Program Guide, which is mailed to past users and distributed to area schools, businesses, and city facilities. We also publicize activities through periodic news releases, informational newsletters, e-mails, on the Internet, and at city-sponsored special events.
  • We pay our instructors a significant portion (percentage) of the fees paid by participants registering for their activities.
  • We provide our instructors with beautiful facilities to teach. The Ben Robertson Community Center, Swift-Cantrell Park and Adams Park are available year-round for classes, workshops and camps. The 26,000 square foot Ben Robertson Community Center features two 840 square foot meeting rooms that can be joined to form a large meeting room, three dance studios, two art/craft labs with sinks, a fitness room, a large gymnastics room, a ceramic studio, and a 3,952 square foot banquet hall complete with catering kitchen. These facilities are maintained to assure the comfort of instructors and participants.
  • We draw students from a range of cities and backgrounds, allowing our instructors to share their knowledge and passion for a certain subject with a wide variety of individuals.

Programs are selected based on the instructor's qualifications and experience, availability, need for the program and marketability.

We are no longer accepting proposals for the Fall 2014 programming season. Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on how to submit a proposal for the Winter/Spring 2015 programming season, which will feature activities scheduled between January and May 2015.

Contact Information

Kennesaw Parks & Recreation
2753 Watts Dr.
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: (770) 422-9714
Fax: (678) 460-3373

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Doug Taylor, CPRP, CPSI 
Parks & Recreation Director
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Ben Southard
Assistant Director
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David Pies, CPRP
Recreation Division Manager
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Laurel Fleming, CPRP 
Special Events Coordinator
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Kimberly Flores, CPRP 
Fundraising Coordinator
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Lindsey Mullaney, CPRP 
Recreation Programs Coordinator
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Lane Reid, CPRP, CPSI
Operations Manager
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Paul Porter
Parks Supervisor
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Jerry Wiley
Administrative Assistant
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Missy Sebree
Office Assistant
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Upcoming Events

Sat Nov 01, 2014 @ 7:30AM -
Garden Gallop 5K
Tue Nov 11, 2014 @12:00PM - 02:00PM
Veterans Day Luncheon
Sat Dec 06, 2014 @12:00PM -
A Day with Santa