Mayor Jane Castor and Neighborhood and Community Affairs Administrator Ocea Wynn, selected Sherisha Hills to serve as the interim director of Tampa’s Parks and Recreation Department. Hills is a current City employee who worked for several years as a manager within the department she will now lead. She replaces former director Paul Dial who retired earlier this summer.
In her interim role, Hills will oversee the City’s largest department in terms of employees outside of police and fire. The nationally recognized parks and recreation department provided programs and services to more than 300,000 community members, in addition to managing 555 special events in 2019. As the city prepares to host Super Bowl LV, Hills will play an integral part in the strategic planning and management of park resources for the national event.
Hills’ appointment comes on the heels of Tampa City Councils’ approval to fund key neighborhood projects and recreation center improvements over the next year at the tune of $5.2M as part of Mayor Castor’s plan to invest in Tampa’s neighborhoods. Specific projects include the New Tampa Inclusive Playground, Fair Oaks improvement planning, Rivercrest Park Boardwalk along with various projects to enhance the accessibility and security of parks and recreation sites throughout the city.
During her interim designation, Hills will report directly to City Administrator Wynn whose Neighborhood and Community Affairs operational portfolio includes the Parks and Recreation Department.
“With a track record of success in achieving a broad range of goals throughout her career, Hills brings leadership skills and a well-rounded educational background to this position that will benefit not only our organization, but the Tampa community as a whole,” said Wynn.
Her expansive career experience features a strong track record and active engagement in park planning and development, program operations, budget, community events, urban forestry and grounds maintenance. Hills commitment to the community extends outside of her profession. In her spare time, she coaches a girls’ basketball team and mentors troubled teens to help get them back on the right track.
“I am humbled to be afforded the opportunity to lead an amazing Parks and Recreation team for both the City and the residents of Tampa. I am proud of our Parks and Recreation programs, our management staff and team members. We will continue to lead our department with optimism and hard work that will allow us to improve the quality of life for our community and park patrons now and in the future,” said Hills.
A Tampa native, Hills attended Academy of Holy Names where her athleticism on the basketball court earned her a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Leisure Service Management from University of Florida.
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