Mayor Harrell Names AP Diaz Next Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent
Oct 03, 2022 - 02:43 AM
Seattle – Mayor Bruce Harrell announced his appointment of Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz as interim Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. Diaz will lead the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department and advance Mayor Harrell’s agenda for clean, safe, accessible parks. Diaz currently serves as the Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
“Seattle’s parks, playfields, and community centers are essential to build healthy communities – they are places of growth, learning, play, and opportunity for everyone in our city,” said Mayor Harrell. “AP understands what our parks system represents – how parks create opportunities, advance equity, provide safe spaces, and support youth through mentorship. With a track record of working collaboratively and innovatively with community and a commitment to preserving open spaces, I believe AP Diaz will bring the values, leadership, and experience needed to ensure our world class parks system reflects our city and vision for One Seattle.”
“I am excited to join the team at Seattle Parks and Recreation because I share Mayor Harrell’s vision for our park system – recognizing how integral they are for healthy, thriving communities,” said AP Diaz. “As Superintendent, I will treat Seattle’s parks and community centers as essential infrastructure that drive opportunities for recreation, mentorship and education, equity, and climate action. I am a data-driven, performance management focused leader who will push Seattle Parks and Recreation to be transparent and accountable, while collaborating with Seattle’s diverse communities to never lose focus on our shared priorities that Parks make life better!”
Diaz currently serves as the Executive Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) and an Assistant General Manager overseeing all day to day operations of the Department, including financial services, capital projects, special operations, recreation, maintenance, HR and risk reductions matters, governance and leadership matters while assisting the General Manager in all governance, legal, support and policy matters related to City’s Park’s Commission, the City Council, the City Attorney’s Offices and the Mayor’s Offices and the LA Park Foundation.
Prior to his roles as Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager, he served as General Counsel for LA’s Park’s department. He notably worked on the transformation, restoration, and management model for the historic Greek Theatre which opened in 1930 and remains of the country’s most recognized outdoor entertainment venues.
“AP will help us usher in a renewed focus on safety, equitable access, and climate conscious facilities across our parks system,” said Mayor Harrell. “I want to thank Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams for his many years of leadership with the Parks Department – never hesitating to step up and support our parks and our people. I so look forward to his continued leadership stewarding our Parks and ensuring they remain open, clean, safe, and accessible to all.”
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) manages a 6,441-acre park system of over 489 parks and extensive natural areas in Seattle, providing welcoming and safe opportunities to play and learn. SPR provides athletic fields, tennis courts, play areas, specialty gardens, and more than 25 miles of boulevards and 120 miles of trails. The system comprises about 12% of the city’s land area. SPR also manages many facilities, including 25 community centers, eight indoor swimming pools, two outdoor (summer) swimming pools, three environmental education centers, two small craft centers, four golf courses, an outdoor stadium, and much more.
This week, the City Council, acting as the Parks District Board, approved a second cycle of funding advancing a budget focused on essential maintenance and restoration, reestablishing the Park Ranger program, and investments in equity, climate resilience, youth mentorship, and more.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
Andrew Lewis, City Councilmember and President of the Seattle Park District Board
“With AP we have an able leader ready to implement the funded mandate for parks that are clean, safe, and open. I look forward to supporting his nomination through the Council process.”
Norma Edith García-González, Director, County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
“I am thrilled to congratulate Mayor Bruce Harrell and the people of Seattle on AP Diaz’s nomination as Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. AP is recognized as a leader for equity and access to parks and recreation in the City of Los Angeles and nationally. He has been integral to develop the most expansive and accessible investment in youth sports and adaptive sports in partnership with the Olympics LA2028. AP is a park champion and will lead innovative, inclusive and diverse programs, services and partnerships in benefit of the children and families of Seattle. I applaud Mayor Bruce Harrell’s vision to assemble the best of the best to serve and lead Seattle Parks.”
Tiffany Harris, Co-Founder/CEO of Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration
“AP Diaz will be an extraordinary gift to the City of Seattle and its Parks and Recreation Department. He is all at once a visionary leader and someone who will spring into action to make sure that the smallest of details are handled with excellence in support of ALL things Parks. AP’s love of parks is infectious and his support of the diverse people who utilize them is immense. We are excited to watch his collaborative vision unfold and congratulate Mayor Harrell on his wise selection of AP Diaz as Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.”
Kristine Stratton, President and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association
“On behalf of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), I extend enthusiastic congratulations to the City of Seattle on their appointment of Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz as the new Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. AP has a long track record of advancing excellence in the field of parks and recreation through his volunteer leadership with NRPA and his work in the City of Los Angeles. In recent years, this has taken the form of advancing equity and inclusion into meaningful day-to-day practices. AP embodies the truth that parks and recreation is essential to the health, well-being and resiliency of our communities. Moreover, he promotes that truth every day through his leadership. We are excited to continue supporting AP and the entire Seattle Park and Recreation team’s work and to continue partnering with him and the team to strengthen the field nationwide.”
David Michaelson, Chief Assistant City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles
“I’ve worked with AP for close to 20 years, first when he was a smart, problem solving government lawyer tackling quality of life concerns in our neighborhoods, then as the can-do General Counsel for LA’s Rec & Parks, and over the past five years as the Executive Officer of LA Rec & Parks providing exceptional leadership and visionary focus for a department that is critical to the well being and vibrancy of LA. AP is that rare public servant who works collaboratively and effectively with department personnel, local officials, and community stakeholders, while always looking to innovate and drive forward new policies and programs that make a real difference in people’s lives. He carries public service at his core and exemplifies the best of local government. I know as the Superintendent for Parks and Recreation, the City of Seattle will greatly benefit from AP’s intellect, experience, and commitment to excellence and community service.”
ABOUT AP DIAZ
Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) and an Assistant General Manager overseeing all day to day operations of the Department, including financial services, capital projects, special operations, recreation, maintenance, HR and risk reductions matters, governance and leadership matters while assisting the General Manager in all governance, legal, support and policy matters related to City’s Park’s Commission, the City Council, the City Attorney’s Offices and the Mayor’s Offices and the LA Park Foundation.
Prior to assuming his current role, AP served as General Counsel for Recreation and Parks, helping guide the Department on many high profile and important endeavors, most notably the transformation, restoration, and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theatre.
AP has 24 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles.
Prior to assuming his duties at RAP, he served as a City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, litigating hundreds of matters in the Criminal Branch and as a specially assigned prosecutor in the City’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program working on non-traditional methods to reducing community crime. Thereafter, he served in the Civil Division’s Municipal Law Branch as legal counsel to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, General Services and as lead contract counsel for the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments. He also served as one of the principal City Attorneys assigned to advise and staff the Los Angeles City Council.
Prior to his City service, AP practiced civil law at Knapp, Petersen & Clarke and served as a Judicial Extern for the California Appellate Court.
AP serves as an instructor at the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academies teaching Adult Development Theory and Transformational Leadership; is a faculty member for the National Recreation and Parks (NRPA) Directors School; Chair of the NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine Editorial Advisory Board; an Executive Board Member for World Urban Parks and serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
AP is a native Angeleno, born in Hollywood and a graduate of Santa Monica High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington DC and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and a Certificate of Spanish Language Proficiency from the Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.
In his free time AP enjoys running, swimming, tennis, historical biographies, travel, international relations, urban design, and planning. He lives in Pasadena CA with his wife, Krista, an educator and has two children Megan (16) and Max (11). He has two dogs, Lola & Bella.