Mansfield Names O’Keefe as Director of Parks & Recreation
MANSFIELD, CT January 6, 2022– Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth has announced that the Town of Mansfield has named Jay O’Keefe as Director of Mansfield Parks & Recreation.
Mr. O’Keefe, formerly Assistant Director in Mansfield, has served as the Acting Director of the department for the past 14 months. The Town of Mansfield initiated a thorough nationwide search to fill the Director position in the fall of 2021. The prior Director of Parks & Recreation, Curt Vincente, retired in September 2020 after 30 years of distinguished service to the town.
“I am very pleased to offer the Director position to someone who possesses extensive firsthand experience leading the department and is intimately familiar with Mansfield Parks & Recreation programs, personnel, members, operations and facilities,” says Mansfield Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth. “This will allow us to provide beneficial continuity in leadership at the Mansfield Community Center and other Parks & Recreation operations. Jay and the staff have persevered during a very challenging period while navigating an unprecedented pandemic the last two years, and he has never wavered in his commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles through the very important work of Mansfield Parks & Recreation.
“Wellness, recreational opportunities, and open spaces are paramount to our residents. Jay will help guide the department in its delivery of the high-quality programs and amenities offered at the Mansfield Community Center, our extensive network of parks and preserves, youth camps, and our recently opened Community School of the Arts,” adds Town Manager Aylesworth.
Jay O’Keefe joined the Town of Mansfield in 1994 as a Recreation Supervisor, and subsequently earned promotion to Assistant Director in 2003. Prior to his time with the Town of Mansfield, he worked in recreation positions with MARC of Middlesex County as Director of Leisure Services and Public Education as well as The Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist earlier in his career. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation Management from Southern Connecticut State University and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP).
Mr. O’Keefe played an instrumental role in planning, building and launching the 36,000 square-foot Mansfield Community Center, which is a beloved Town facility that includes aquatics, fitness, a gymnasium, a track, and a teen center and programming for all ages. In addition to managing the community center, his department operates Lenard Hall and a robust community arts program, and organizes more than 1,000 revenue-generating programs annually. Mansfield Parks & Recreation is also responsible for the upkeep and improvement of Mansfield’s extensive athletic fields, parks and open space, and working closely with the Department of Planning and Development and other municipal departments to achieve long-term goals of the town. He is committed to making recreational opportunities accessible to people of all backgrounds and abilities, and is proactive in managing programs for people with special needs. Under his leadership, the department has earned Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider recognition, and was awarded the Innovative Program of the year by the Connecticut Parks and Recreation Association.
Mr. O’Keefe worked in various seasonal positions for Mansfield Parks & Recreation during his high school and college years. Additionally, he previously served as Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach for Edwin O. Smith High School. He and his wife Kim returned to live in Mansfield with their two children in 2002.