Gahanna has a new parks and recreation director.

Stephania Bernard-Ferrell, who has served as deputy parks and recreation director since October 2017, has been promoted to lead the department.

Her new assignment was effective Jan. 13.

Bernard-Ferrell, 36, of Lithopolis will be paid an annual salary of $91,998 plus benefits valued at $46,662, for a total annual package of $138,660.

"I am thankful to serve the city of Gahanna and am honored to work alongside some of the most talented, committed and passionate professionals in the field of parks and recreation," she said. "The parks and recreation department will continue to provide activities, events and programs promoting health and wellness, creating access to safe parks and trails, educating the community on conservation and creating memorable experiences in our open spaces."

Bernard-Ferrell said parks and recreation are part of who she is.

"I am thrilled for this opportunity," she said. "I look forward to seeing you out exploring our parks and trails."

Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin said she's excited about Bernard-Ferrell's promotion.

"She brings more than 10 years of leadership experience in the parks and recreation field," Jadwin said. "In my prior role with Visit Gahanna, I worked closely with the parks and recreation department and had the opportunity to observe Stephania's work firsthand.

"I am confident that she will provide great vision and strong leadership for her department. I am proud to welcome her as part of our senior leadership team and look forward to working with her as she creates a new path forward for our valued parks and recreation programming."

According to her LinkedIn profile, Bernard-Ferrell previously worked as the sports and fitness manager for the city of Groveport.

She received a master's degree in allied health and wellness from Otterbein University in 2015 and a bachelor's degree in health promotion and fitness-sports management in 2005 from Otterbein.

Bernard-Ferrell succeeds Jeff Barr, who had served as director since Jan. 10, 2017. He had been the department's deputy director since April 2016 and joined the department as parks superintendent in September 2015.

"We wish him the best for the future," said Carrin Wester, Gahanna's communication's manager.