Park Board hires firm to find its next superintendent

Park commissioners have made their first formal move in finding the city’s next park leader.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board unanimously approved the hiring of St. Louis Park-based kpCompanies to aide a national effort to recruit its next executive.

“One of things (about) kpCompanies (that) stood out head and shoulders above the rest of our firms was really an intrinsic understanding of the community listening and community outreach that we want to conduct as part of our superintendent search process as we’re looking across the nation for the 13th superintendent of our Park Board,” President Brad Bourn (District 6) said.

The board expects to have a new superintendent in place by October. The hire will be the permanent replacement of Jayne Miller, who stepped down earlier this year after seven years as superintendent. Superintendent Emeritus Mary Merrill, a former commissioner and superintendent, is serving as interim superintendent.

The board has budgeted up to $100,000 for the process. Only a fraction will come from its budget, which didn’t account for Miller’s resignation. The Minneapolis Foundation is assisting with the search process with a $50,000 investment, though the foundation won’t have any say in who the Park Board chooses. President R.T. Rybak said the board should call on the civic community to help recruit the “No. 1 superintendent in America.”

“This job should be seen and known across the country, world, whatever and there should be great recruitment,” he said.

The Park Board previously worked with kpCompanies in 2016 to recruit Tyrize Cox, the assistant superintendent of its Recreation Services division. The firm was founded in 2001.

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