Sara Hensley Head Shot


Sara is currently the Director of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.  Before Austin, Sara was the Director for the City of Phoenix, Arizona Parks and Recreation Department.  Along with solid leadership skills accumulated over almost two decades working in the parks and recreation field, she has a proven track record of getting results and a demonstrated commitment to community involvement, youth and neighborhood services.

Prior to coming to Phoenix, Sara was the Director for Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS), one of the largest and most diverse departments in the City of San Jose.

Before San Jose, Sara served as the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Director in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Sara also served as the Director of Recreation of the Champaign Park District in Champaign, Illinois.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Education/Recreation Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Sara is known for getting results.  In Virginia Beach, she coordinated a number of significant projects to benefit the community including:  garnering community support to set aside 15,000 acres of open space, implementing enhancements to more than 300 neighborhood parks and assisting in a major revision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan to better implement smart growth efforts and enhance quality of life.

Sara also spearheaded development of national training facilities for the U. S. Field Hockey Association and led the efforts for Virginia Beach to be selected as a Magnet Center for Sports Strategy (with focus on basic skills development, parent and coach training programs, and strategic recreational facilities planning) by the National Recreation and Park Association.  She also has worked closely with school districts and non-profit organizations to achieve joint operating facilities, shared programs and public private partnerships.