Seattle – Today 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, driving Mayor Harrell’s agenda for clean, safe, and accessible parks. Diaz currently serves as Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
WATCH: Mayor Harrell names AP Diaz new Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent
“Seattle’s parks, playing fields and community centers are essential to building healthy communities – they are places of growth, learning, play and opportunity for everyone in our city,” said Mayor Harrell. “AP understands what our park system represents—how parks create opportunity, promote equal opportunity, provide safe spaces, and support youth through mentoring. With a track record of working collaboratively and innovatively with the 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 parking system protects our city and vision reflects A Seattle.”
“I’m excited to join the Seattle Parks and Recreation team because I share Mayor Harrell’s vision for our parks system – I recognize how important they are to healthy, thriving communities.” said AP Diaz. “As Superintendent, I will treat Seattle’s parks and community centers as essential infrastructure that fosters opportunities for recreation, mentoring and education, equity and climate action. I am a data-driven, performance-management focused executive who will lead Seattle Parks and Recreation to be transparent and accountable while working with Seattle’s diverse communities to never lose focus on our shared priorities, that Parks life to enhance!”
Diaz currently serves as the executive officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) and as the assistant general manager overseeing all day-to-day operations of the department, including financial services, capital projects, special operations, recreation, maintenance, human resources and risk mitigation matters, governance and governance matters while assisting the General Manager in all governance, legal, endorsement and policy matters relating to the 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 tenure as Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager, he was General Counsel for the LA Park Division. In particular, he worked on the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic Greek Theater, which opened in 1930 and remains one of the country’s best-known outdoor entertainment venues.
“AP will help us bring a renewed focus to safety, equitable access and climate-conscious facilities throughout our parking system.” said Mayor Harrell. “I would like to thank Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams for his many years of leadership with the Parks Department – he never hesitated to step up and support our parks and our employees. I very much look forward to his continued leadership in managing our parks and ensuring they remain open, clean, safe and accessible to all.”
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) manages a 15,000-acre park system of over 489 parks and expansive natural areas in Seattle that provide welcoming and safe opportunities for play and learning. SPR offers athletic fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, specialty gardens and more than 25 miles of boulevards and 120 miles of trails. The system covers about 12% of the city’s land area. SPR also manages many facilities including 25 community centers, eight indoor pools, two outdoor (summer) pools, three environmental education centers, two small craft centers, four golf courses, an outdoor stadium and more.
This week, the City Council, in its capacity as the Parks District Board, approved a second cycle of funding that will advance a budget focused on essential maintenance and restoration, restoring the Park Ranger program, and investing in equity, climate resilience, youth mentorship and more.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Andrew Lewis, City Councilman and President of the Seattle Park District Board
“In AP, we have an empowered leader who is ready to implement the funded mandate for parks that are clean, safe and open. I look forward to supporting his nomination in the Council process.”
Norma Edith Garcia GonzalezDirector of the Department of Parks and Recreation for Los Angeles County
“I am very pleased to congratulate Mayor Bruce Harrell and the people of Seattle on the appointment of AP Diaz as Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. AP is recognized in the City of Los Angeles and nationally as a leader in equity and access to parks and recreation. He was instrumental in developing the largest and most accessible investment in youth sports and adaptive sports in partnership with the LA2028 Olympics. AP is a Parks Champion and will lead innovative, inclusive and diverse programs, services and partnerships for the benefit of Seattle’s children and families. I applaud Mayor Bruce Harrell’s vision of bringing together 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 exceptional gift to the City of Seattle and its Parks and Recreation Department. He is simultaneously a visionary leader and someone who will take action to ensure the smallest of details are handled with excellence to support ALL things at parks. AP’s love of parks is contagious, and his support for the diverse people who use them is immense. We look forward to seeing his shared vision unfold and congratulate Mayor Harrell on his wise choice 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 warmly congratulate 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 promoting excellence in parks and recreation through its volunteer leadership at NRPA and its work in the City of Los Angeles. In recent years, this has taken the form of promoting equity and inclusion in meaningful daily practices. AP embodies the truth that parks and recreation are essential to the health, well-being and resilience of our communities. Moreover, he promotes this truth through his guidance every day. We look forward to continuing to support AP and the work of the entire Seattle Park and Recreation team and continue to work with him and the team to strengthen the field nationwide.”
David Michaelson, Chief Assistant City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles
“I have worked with AP for nearly 20 years, first when he was a shrewd government attorney solving problems and addressing quality of life issues in our neighborhoods, then as an able General Counsel for Rec & Parks in LA and beyond in the last five years as Executive Officer of LA Rec & Parks, where he provided exceptional leadership and visionary focus for a department vital to the well-being and vibrancy of LA. AP is that rare officer who works collaboratively and effectively with department staff, local officials and community stakeholders while always striving to innovate and drive new policies and programs that truly transform people’s lives. It carries public service at its core and exemplifies the best of local government. I know that as Superintendent for Parks and Recreation, the City of Seattle will benefit greatly from AP’s intellect, experience, and commitment to excellence and community service.”
ABOUT AP DIAZ
Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) and Deputy General Manager who oversees all of the department’s day-to-day operations, including financial services, capital projects, special operations, recreation, maintenance, human resources and risk mitigation matters , governance and leadership matters while assisting the General Manager in all governance, legal, endorsement and policy matters relating to the 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 was General Counsel for Recreation and Parks and helped lead the department on many high-profile and important ventures, most notably the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theater.
AP has 24 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles.
Before assuming his duties at RAP, he served as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, where he tried hundreds of cases in the Criminal Division, and as a specially assigned prosecutor in the city’s Neighborhood Attorney Program, where he worked on non-traditional methods of reduction community crime. He then served in the Municipal Law Division of the Civil Division as Legal Counsel to the Neighborhood Assistance Division, General Services and as Senior Contract Counsel for the Los Angeles Police Department and Fire Department. He also served as one of the city’s chief attorneys, assigned to advise and staff the Los Angeles City Council.
Prior to his service with the city, AP practiced civil law at Knapp, Petersen & Clarke and served as the Judicial External 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 transformative leadership; is a faculty member of the National Recreation and Parks (NRPA) Directors School; Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine; a board member of World Urban Parks and serves as Justice Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
AP is an Angeleno native, 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 in Spanish Proficiency from Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.
In his spare time, AP enjoys running, swimming, tennis, historical biography, travel, international relations, urbanism and planning. He lives in Pasadena, California with his wife Krista, a preschool teacher, and has two children, Megan (16) and Max (11). He has two dogs, Lola & Bella.