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Sonya Reddick Shaw, PhD, CPRP Elected to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration

Dr. Sonya Reddick Shaw, McAdams’ senior park planner and equity specialist, has been elected as a Fellow into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Dr. Shaw was recently inducted at the Academy’s virtual General Membership Meeting on September 15, 2021.

The Academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the field of parks and recreation. They must have served for at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a park and recreation agency; as well as be a recognized educator in parks and recreation administration; or they must manage a park and recreation department for an agency with a population of more than 500,000. They also must have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation; or assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. The Academy is limited to 125 active members.

Established in 1980, the Academy was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to support and encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration.

“The Class of 2021 is a great addition to the Academy,” said President Michael McCarty, Glenview, Illinois, “The Academy is honored to induct Dr. Sonya Reddick Shaw into its ranks. The Academy represents a diverse group of professionals and educators – all with superior career experience and a dedication to improving the quality of life through the provision of high-quality parks and recreation opportunities. We welcome our 2021 Fellows.”

Dr. Sonya Reddick Shaw has served in local government parks and recreation for 30 years, spending 15 of those years in an executive leadership role as parks and recreation director. Dr. Shaw currently serves as senior park planner and equity specialist with McAdams in Durham, North Carolina. She has served as parks and recreation director in the municipalities of Goldsboro and Garner and division manager in Chapel Hill, leading communities through collaborative partnership building, community engagement initiatives and national accreditation. Dr. Shaw travels the country speaking on leadership development for women at local, state and national conferences. She is recognized for her research on the career experiences of African American women leaders in the parks and recreation profession, conducting the first study of its kind in the Country. She has worked with communities on comprehensive parks and recreation planning; park master planning; organizational and staff planning; recreation facility and operational planning; and greenway planning.

Dr. Shaw obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University and a Doctorate Degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Shaw serves as president of the National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society; Historian of the North Carolina Black Recreation and Park Professionals; and past president of the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association. She is former Board Regent for the National Recreation and Park Association Supervisors Management School and Practitioner Representative for the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions.
Dr. Shaw is a firm believer in the Proverb 18 quote, “Your gifts will make room for you and place you before great men and women,” and reflects upon this quote daily. She states, “It is indeed an honor to be inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and be recognized nationally by your peers as a major contributor to the parks and recreation profession., I am beyond humbled to accept.”