Local Chief: Tucker Blythe, Superintendent, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area – Minneapolis Riverfront News

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Article by Becky Fillinger

Superintendent Blythe TuckerTucker Blythe will assume the role of superintendent of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area September 12. We spoke to him about his lifelong interest in parks and what drew him to Minnesota.

Q: Congratulations on your new role! Please tell us about your earliest memories and your interest in pursuing a career in parks.

A: When I was a kid, my family traveled to national and state parks and spent a lot of time outdoors and visiting historic sites. When I went to college, I knew I wanted to pursue something related to history and historic sites. I discovered historic preservation as a major and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was really my undergraduate counselor who referred me to the National Park Service (NPS) and my first seasonal appointment. Once I was in the NPS, I knew it was work that filled my soul. I have been blessed with many wonderful roles and positions within the National Park Service.

Q: What inspired you to take on this superintendent position?

A: There are several reasons why I chose this particular position. First of all, I love that this park is such a collaborative and relationship-based park. I felt that my experiences and skills could help the park grow and allow me to continue to develop as a servant-leader. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and my formative years were tied to the Mississippi River. My wife Sandy is from Minnesota, born in Coon Rapids, so the Mississippi River connected us and was a theme in both of our lives. We are so happy to be close to the family again. Even though I’m not from Minnesota, it’s my happiest place and I can’t wait to go back.

Tucker with his wife Sandy at the source of the Mississippi River.

Q: You mention the GOAL Leadership Academy in your profiles. What is that?

A: GOAL Leadership Academy is a leadership development program for NPS employees. The program started in Grand Canyon National Park, but is now a program for all mid-level NPS employees. I went through GOAL in 2011-12. The main emphasis of the program is to develop self-awareness so that participants can be leaders wherever they are in the organization. I know that by going through the program, I was able to see more clearly what I could bring to the park service as a public servant.

Q: What innovative programs from your previous appointments will you consider for your new role?

A: This is a difficult question for me. I don’t know if I have a clear idea of ​​something I want to bring to the park from my previous appointments. What I want is to be open to the strengths that my staff and our partners already have and find ways to improve their ability to use those strengths. I love collaborating and brainstorming, so who knows what kind of creative ideas and synergy we’ll create. I’m looking forward to it!

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