Jai Cole, who grew up in Fairfax County, is returning to the community as executive director of the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Fairfax supervisors on Sept. 14 affirmed the hiring decision made by the Park Authority board of directors. Cole, who begins work immediately, will succeed Kirk Kincannon, who retired earlier this year.
Her starting salary is $192,268.
Cole “has the experience and vision to lead the Park Authority staff and residents of Fairfax County as we continue our mission to support the changing needs in parks,” said Bill Bouie, who chairs the Park Authority board.
Cole comes to the Park Authority from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks, where she served as chief of the park planning and stewardship division since 2018.
While there, Cole provided overall strategic direction for long-range planning, natural-resource management, cultural-resource stewardship and interpretation, trail planning and construction, development review, and environmental-project review for a 37,000-acre, nationally accredited park system.
Prior to moving to the Maryland agency in 2005, Cole had served for two years as director of adult programs at the Reston Community Center, where she had grown up and attended South Lakes High School, playing youth softball, basketball and field hockey. Cole then went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in biology at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she played Division I basketball.
Cole now resides in Silver Spring with her husband and two children.