Superintendent Miller announces resignation from Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Today Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Superintendent Jayne Miller announced her resignation after leading the nationally acclaimed park system for seven years and launching countless initiatives to improve service delivery, internal work processes and external relationships with MPRB partners. Miller’s last day with the MPRB is February 3, 2018 and in a message to MPRB employees (see below), she states that she likes to think that when she leaves next year, she will leave the MPRB in a better place than when she started.

“I cannot overstate the positive impact Jayne Miller has had on the park system and the big hole her departure will have on the organization and on our city,” said MPRB President Anita Tabb. “Under Jayne’s leadership this Board has been as productive and high functioning as any board in the park board’s history. This was possible only because of Jayne’s vision, leadership, tenacity and profound commitment to do what is best for the organization, the employees and the public she so faithfully serves. We trusted her to effectively implement and successfully manage the organizational changes needed to make us the best park system in the country.  Jayne is a true champion and we are deeply grateful for all that she has accomplished. Her presence will be sorely missed and our city will shine a bit less bright without her leadership.”    

Since taking the helm in November 2010, Miller has overseen the MPRB’s success in acquiring and developing riverfront parkland in northeast Minneapolis, opening North America’s first natural swimming pool at Webber Park in north Minneapolis, significant improvements to the beach area and winter recreation area in Theodore Wirth Regional Park spanning North and Southwest Minneapolis, trail improvements around the Chain of Lakes and reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in southwest Minneapolis, and construction of the park system’s first indoor pool at Phillips Community Center in south Minneapolis.

Miller was the driving force behind the Closing the Gap initiative in 2015 and worked closely with MPRB Commissioners and Minneapolis Council members on the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan ordinance passed in 2016 that provides an additional $11 million annually to address maintenance, repairs and investments needed in the 160 neighborhood parks within the system. Her efforts to infuse equity into the MPRB’s capital improvement program and recreation center budgets have established the MPRB as the leading park and recreation agency in the country on racial and economic equity work.

Miller is quick to point out that these accomplishments require a team of talented employees, dedicated commissioners and committed partners. In her announcement to staff, Miller stated “It’s an honor and privilege to work for a system so beloved by residents and visitors from near and far. It’s no wonder the park system receives such high ratings on community surveys and accolades from organizations across the country.” Miller also shared her hope that all their good work continues to evolve, and be supported and appreciated, by the new Board as well as by the community.

Miller’s resignation means the newly elected and re-elected MPRB Board of Commissioners that take office in January 2018 will need to fill her position after she departs in February to serve as President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

12/06/17 Miller Announcement to MPRB Employees

Colleagues,

It is with a very heavy heart and humble gratitude that I inform you I am resigning my position as Superintendent, effective February 3, 2018.  I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to lead the MPRB these past seven years, work with such talented employees and a supportive board, and serve the residents of Minneapolis.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together and deeply appreciate the amazing work all of you do every day to care for the park system and champion the mission of our organization. It’s been a privilege to work with all of you and to witness the transformation of the organization. I like to think that when I leave next year, I will leave the MPRB in a better place than when I started.

When hired I was entrusted to lead efforts to improve service delivery, internal work processes and external relationships with our partners. Working together with you and the Board of Commissioners, we accomplished this and much more. We have initiated safer, more efficient and more effective work procedures throughout the organization, have strengthened the finances of the organization, and have increased staffing levels in every department to meet growing demands and improve how we deliver essential services. The Board and I have established strong, effective relationships with our government, non-profit, private sector and community partners, who have provided critical support for important, collaborative projects throughout the park system. These relationships are vital to sustaining and strengthening our beloved park system.

Because of our collective, innovative efforts, Minneapolis parks today is doing cutting edge work, responding to the changing needs of our community and being more inclusive and welcoming. Our community engagement policy, community outreach department, hiring and training procedures, and use of racial equity tools have enhanced how we connect and serve residents, and diversified our workforce. Our redesigned riverfront plans and planning and design work has us on the forefront of park development, our service area master plans and customer service “boot camp” training are making parks more accessible to everyone and providing services relevant to the lives of residents and park visitors.  The Webber Natural Swimming Pool is a tremendous success and is routinely filled to capacity with nearby residents and people who travel throughout the metro to enjoy this unique, non-chlorinated, pool experience. So many of us throughout the organization worked tirelessly on Closing the Gap and are now committed to the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan, a legacy Initiative and Plan for the Park Board. This work, and much more, has made us the leading park and recreation agency in the country on racial and economic equity work, with equity infused in our capital improvement program and our recreation centers budget.

I’ve always been impressed by the wide range of resources we manage, programs we offer and people we serve. Our forestry and maintenance efforts and our environmental initiatives are protecting the quality of our parks, lakes and creeks for generations to come. Our programs for youth, adults and families have an immediate and often profound and long-lasting impact.  The unique and critical partnership between Recreation and Park Police is a national model in providing safe park spaces, fostering positive recreation staff-police-community relations, and reducing crime in parks. Our Youthline and StreetReach Programs connecting at-risk youth and families to Minneapolis parks, youth mentorship, and support services lead the nation in urban youth work.

Know that the MPRB is in a strong position. We have an outstanding executive team that will continue the important work we have been doing through thoughtful, compassionate, and strong leadership and management of the organization.  The Park Board is in a very strong financial position; the strongest position in decades.  We have asked smart questions, done great research and worked hard over the past seven years to institute solid policies and practices that are based on industry best practices, all to provide quality programs and services to residents and visitors alike.  We have outstanding community support – the community believes in the value of parks in their daily lives, our , and the positive impact we make in people’s lives.  And, remember that the importance of your work doesn’t change.

It has been an honor and privilege to work for a system so beloved by residents and visitors from near and far. It’s no wonder the park system receives such high ratings on community surveys and accolades from organizations across the country. I hope all your good work continues to evolve, be supported and appreciated, by the new Board as well as by the community. 

Thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve as Superintendent these last seven years. It has been my pleasure and distinct honor to serve the organization, the community, and to work with all of you. I have appreciated the support of the Board and have enjoyed working closely with commissioners, particularly past Presidents John Erwin and Liz Wielinski and current President Anita Tabb. We have had a shared vision for the organization and unwavering respect for the hard work done by employees in every department.  Know that the work you do every day positively impacts the lives of others.

We are all fortunate to be part of the legacy of this amazing park system. I will cherish the friendships, personal and professional, I have made and the many accomplishments that are part of my history here in Minneapolis.  I will sorely miss you when I leave.