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Sherisha Hills to lead Tampa Parks and Rec

A city native, she played college basketball at Notre Dame and mentors at-risk youth in spare time.

TAMPA — Sherisha Hills will run the city’s biggest department outside of police and fire and City Council members recently celebrated her interim appointment as a homegrown triumph.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Neighborhood and Community Affairs Administrator Ocea Wynn told council members that Hills was the clear favorite for the job — and not only because of her ties to the city and her experience with the department’s operations, budget, urban forestry and maintenance give her needed well-rounded experience.

But also, because she’s proven her commitment to the community. In her spare time, Hills coaches a girls' basketball team and mentors troubled teens to help get them back on the right track.

Hills parlayed her excellence on the basketball court at Academy of the Holy Names to a full scholarship at Notre Dame University. She later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Nova University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.

Council member Luis Viera praised Hills' accomplishments and said her elevation to the running the city’s parks and recreation department, which is playing a key role in planning for Super Bowl 55, should make her fellow Tampa natives proud. Viera’s comments were echoed by other council members.

In a news release, Wynn praised Hills' well-roundedness.

“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.

Hill said she is ready for the chance to lead a city department that serves more than 300,000 city residents and managed 555 special events last year.

“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 in the statement.

Hills replaces Paul Dial, the longtime department director, who retired in July.

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