Kyriazis comes to the Smokies from Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, and Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornish, New Hampshire, where she served as Chief of Interpretation and Education. However, she’s no stranger to the Smokies. In spring 2019, she served in a three-month detail as the park’s Acting Chief of Resource Education, a position that she will now fill permanently.
“Stephanie brings proven leadership, expertise in her field of discipline and rich work experiences, which will be of tremendous benefit to the park’s management team and to the dedicated park educators and interpreters,” Cash said.
The Deputy Chief position for Resource Education had been vacant for several years and is not frequently used in the Smokies. However, Cash decided to fill it after former Chief of Resource Education Nigel Fields was sent on a year-long detail as Superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Starting the hiring process for the deputy chief position was seen as the best way to provide consistent leadership during that time. In January, Fields accepted a permanent position as superintendent of the Virgin Islands parks, and while the Smokies works to permanently fill the Chief of Education position, Kyriazis will lead the division.
Kyriazis has been with the National Park Service for 15 years after starting her career as a geology intern at Bryce Canyon National Park. She served as an education ranger at Death Valley National Park and Acadia National Park, and then as Chief of Interpretation and Education at Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park. Her professional passions include science communication, youth engagement and equity work.
“The incredible biological diversity, human stories and recreational opportunities that characterize Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer unique opportunities for education, connection and enjoyment,” she said. “I am eager to collaborate with park staff, partners, volunteers, visitors and community members to protect and share this unparalleled place.”
Kyriazis holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in resource interpretation. She will move to the Smokies with her husband Justin Sochacki, who also works for the National Park Service, and their 7-year-old son. She started her new job July 19.