Karen Ginsberg has been named Santa Monica’s next Community & Cultural Services director, City Manager Rod Gould announced Dec. 27.
“Karen has a proven track record in overseeing community services and in realizing improvements to the city’s parks, open spaces and public facilities,” Gould said. “Her clear, strategic thinking has served the department well in budget matters, team management and creative problem-solving.
Ginsberg is currently the department’s assistant director. She will replace Barbara Stinchfield, who announced on Oct. 28 that she is retiring.
“Under Karen’s steady hand, the strength and competence of the current CCS management team will ensure a continued excellence in service to the community,” the city manager added.
As assistant director, Ginseberg has been intimately involved in all aspects of the department’s services, including recreation activities, classes and culture, human services, landscape maintenance, and open space.
During her 12-year tenure, she has overseen the expansion of Virginia Avenue Park and the development of both Euclid and Airport parks, Santa Monica’s first two new parks in 24 years.
“It is an honor to lead and continue its tradition of excellent service to city residents and the broader public. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve in this capacity, with the exceptionally talented staff of the department,” said Ginsberg.
Ginsberg also spearheaded the complex state and local regulatory review process for the Annenberg Community Beach House. Her expertise in community outreach and understanding of the city’s Landmarks Ordinance was instrumental in gaining approvals for Palisades Garden Walk and Town Square.
She also facilitated completion of an agreement with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District to provide a funding stream totaling $56 million for recreational improvements on the Santa Monica High School campus that will make these important facilities available to the broader community during non-school hours, city officals said.
Prior to her appointment as assistant director, Ginsberg was the city’s planning manager for the Planning Department from 1994 to 1999.
Ginsberg received a masters of science in historic preservation from Columbia University and earned a bachelor of arts in art history from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
The newly appointed director takes the helm as the city begins construction of two new parks in the heart of the Civic Center, among other program and infrastructure improvements.
She will officially become the department director in January.