• Central Park Conservancy Logo

Press Release: Central Park Conservancy and CUNY Welcome Inaugural Urban Park Executive Leadership Program Cohort

Park Professionals from Around the World Convene for First-Ever Urban Park Executive Leadership Program Led by Central Park Conservancy and the City University of New York School of Professional Studies


Inaugural Urban Park Executive Leadership Program

Inaugural Urban Park Executive Leadership Program

March 23, 2018

NEW YORK—Park professionals from across the country as well as from several major non-US cities convened March 19-23, 2018, for the first-ever Urban Park Executive Leadership Program, a new program led by the Central Park Conservancy and the City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS).

The immersive five-day program equips participants with the skills needed to manage an urban park as part of a public-private park partnership. Featuring classroom learning as well as hands-on fieldwork with Central Park Conservancy staff, the program covers a variety of topics, including park operations and partnership management.The program is made possible by generous support from The JPB Foundation.

“As the world leader in urban park management, the Central Park Conservancy is uniquely positioned to teach what we have learned to park managers around the world. We are thrilled to kick off our Urban Park Executive Leadership Program and to welcome so many talented park professionals to Central Park,” said Elizabeth W. Smith, President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy.

“We are delighted that such a diverse and talented group of park professionals attended the first Urban Park Executive Leadership Program,” said CUNY SPS Dean John Mogulescu. “As a leader in professional development in New York City, I am proud of our partnership with the Central Park Conservancy and look forward to our work together to enhance the stewardship of urban parks.”

Eighteen high-level managers in established public-private partnerships and agencies working in urban parks and open spaces were part of the inaugural cohort:

  • David Barker, Director of Fork Greene Park, NYC Parks (New York, NY)
  • Claire Corcoran, Director, Friends of the Public Garden (Boston, MA)
  • Casie Duplechain, Executive Director, Friends of City Park (New Orleans, LA)
  • Raquel Domingues, Director, Fundacao Aron Birmann (São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Portia Dyrenforth, Administrator, The Rockaways, NYC Parks (New York, NY)
  • Meagan Elliott, Chief Parks Planner, City of Detroit (Detroit, MI)
  • Arnyce Foster-Hernandez, Administrator, Historic Harlem Parks, NYC Parks (New York, NY)
  • Thobias Furtado, CEO, Parque Ibirapuera Conservacao (São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Erin Gallentine, Director of Parks and Open Space Town of Brookline (Brookline, Mass)
  • Maggie Greenfield, Executive Director, The Bronx River Alliance and Administrator/Bronx River, NYC Parks (New York, NY)
  • Jennifer Hoppa, Executive Director, Fort Tryon Park Trust and Administrator, Northern Manhattan Parks, NYC Parks (New York, NY)
  • Konstancja Maleszynska, Greenpoint Parks Project Coordinator, Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (New York, NY)
  • Mollie McGinnis, Manager of Stewardships and Sustainability, Trust for Governors Island (New York, NY)
  • Rob Overman, Executive Director, Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc. (Greensboro, NC)
  • Sara Peel, Director of Facilities and Operations, The Bentway Conservancy (Toronto, Canada)
  • Kaaren Pearce, Director of Grounds and Horticulture, Assiniboine Park Conservancy (Winnipeg, Canada)
  • George Reis, Manager of Grounds and Waste Management, NYU (New York, NY)
  • Beryl Sinclair, Park Operations Manager, Friends of the High Line (New York, NY)

To learn more about the Urban Park Executive Leadership Program, visit centralparknyc.org/about/institute.

About the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks

The mission of the Central Park Conservancy — a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 — is to restore, manage, and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of all.

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks develops programs that advance the stewardship of urban parks and green spaces and teach park professionals best practices for managing urban parks. Urban parks are a critical component of municipal infrastructure essential to the long-term livability and sustainability of cities. Through the Institute, the Conservancy helps to ensure that dedicated public and professional stewards help urban parks deliver the economic, social, health, and ecological benefits to an increasingly urbanized world.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) originated the first fully online degree program at The City University of New York (CUNY). Offering bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, dual degrees, undergraduate and advanced certificates, and professional non-degree programs, CUNY SPS provides online and on campus programs that meet the needs of adults who are looking for a seamless way to finish or transition into a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, advance in the workplace, or change careers.

Drawing on CUNY's nationally and internationally renowned faculty and practitioners, as well as industry and education partners, the School's programs provide opportunities for personal growth, job mobility, greater civic participation, and new ways to advance knowledge.


Mary Caraccioli
Chief Communications Officer, Central Park Conservancy

Andrea Fagon
Director of Marketing and Communications, CUNY School of Professional Studies