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The original item was published from 9/8/2021 6:35:02 PM to 10/1/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: September 8, 2021

[ARCHIVED] New Amherst Recreation Director Named


Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman announced the appointment of Rey Harp as the new Recreation Director for the Town of Amherst. The appointment is subject to review by the Town Council. 

Rey Harp will assume the role of Recreation Director, succeeding Barbara Bilz who retired after many years of service to the Town. The appointment of Mr. Harp was referred to the Town Council on September 7th and the referral is expected to be acted on by the Town Council on September 13th. 

Rey Harp has dedicated his life and career to empowering and teaching young people. He has been a professional educator for 22 years both as a classroom teacher and as a coach of both boys and girls as well as work as a camp administrator. He has a very strong reputation in building community and participating fully in the development of children and their families. 

In his new role as Recreation Director, Rey will bring the skills he has honed over 20 years of coaching, teaching, and running a sports camp in Amherst to a broader community setting. He will work with the Recreation Commission and staff to incorporate sports, arts, theater, science, technology, and cultural programming to engage the entire community. 

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said, “Rey is a community builder. He has taught social studies at Northampton High School for 22 years. He has also coached the boys’ basketball team, and has been the junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach of the girls’ lacrosse team and girls’ field hockey team. More importantly, Rey has shown a high level of integrity and deep involvement in the community. I hope he will have the same kind of impact on our Amherst community as he has in Northampton.” 

Rey Harp said, “I am thrilled and challenged by this new opportunity to engage with the broader community of Amherst. I know the town well, having lived and worked here for many years. To return to the place I started, with young people and families I am still familiar, it is my honor.” 

In addition to his teaching and coaching, Rey has been the camp administrator for the Western Massachusetts Basketball Camp based in Amherst since 2002. There he was responsible for many aspects of the camp including being commissioner with full operational and instructional responsibilities for the 8-10 year old division. 

 Rey is also a board member of Pioneer Valley Restorative Justice for Youth, a community-based restorative justice organization striving to build relationships and restore trust after harm has occurred in the community. 

A graduate of Amherst College with departmental honors, Rey also holds a Master’s Degree in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

Bockelman concluded, “I thank all who applied and went through the process. I especially want to thank the interview team who worked extended hours in completing their assignment.  They offered invaluable insights, observations, and guidance to support my decision.” 

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