Executive Director Kathy Fleming to Step Down

Fleming will transition to director emeritus position in 2020 to focus on capital campaign and special projects

New search underway for park’s next leader

Fairytale Town’s executive director, Kathy Fleming, will step down at the end of 2019 and transition to a director emeritus position in 2020. She has been the executive director of Sacramento’s storybook park since 2000. The Board of Directors has launched a search for the next executive director.

As director emeritus, Fleming will work with the incoming executive director to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for the nearly 60-year-old institution. Her time will then be focused on Fairytale Town’s capital campaign to support the park’s half-acre expansion as well as program development for the Story Center, one of the features of the expansion. Fleming will serve as director emeritus from January through December 2020.

“The park’s success is Kathy’s success, and her support during this critical phase of our growth exemplifies her dedication to Fairytale Town and it’s expansion. It is the Board’s intention to honor her legacy during this transition period,” said Linda Alger, president of Fairytale Town’s board of directors. “We are extremely grateful to Kathy for her leadership of Fairytale Town for the last 19 years. Thanks to her vision and commitment, Fairytale Town is a thriving community asset that welcomes more children and families than ever before into this magical oasis. The next leader will come on board during an exciting time for the organization and our community.”

“Serving as director of Fairytale Town has been a great joy and the highlight of my professional career. I want to thank the board, staff and volunteers who work hard every day to make Fairytale Town the magical place it is,” said Fleming.  “As I transition to director emeritus, I’ll turn over the day-to-day operations and focus on projects that will advance the organization and promote the importance of play for the healthy development of children, families and communities.”

During her tenure, Fleming has transformed the landmark facility from a small children’s park to one of the top five attractions in the region. She has led the organization through dramatic growth with involvement from 16 board members, 30 staff members, more than 600 volunteers, and many community partners.

Some of Fleming’s achievements include:  

  • increasing annual attendance from 160,000 to 250,000 guests;
  • growing the operating budget from $650,000 to $2 million;
  • building strong partnerships with the City of Sacramento, Sacramento Public Library, and other community organizations;
  • creating new signature programs, including the annual Children’s Book Festival and Winter Wonderland;
  • improving the nearly 60-year-old facility with numerous capital projects, including the Mother Goose Stage, Sherwood Forest, and the Yellow Brick Road, as well as infrastructure projects such as walkways and fencing;
  • opening the first playset based on a story from the African continent, Anansi’s Web;
  • and, establishing outreach programs, such as the Sacramento Adventure Playground, a free after-school youth development program for ages 6 to 15.

Located in William Land Park in Sacramento, Calif., Fairytale Town opened to the public on August 29, 1959, when it was dedicated as a gift to the children of the Central Valley by the City of Sacramento, the Junior League of Sacramento and other community and business leaders. Fairytale Town remains the only literacy-based park that serves children in this region. The park received the Business Hall of Fame award at the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Annual Dinner in February 2019 and the Regional Treasure award from the California Parks and Recreation Society’s Hall of Honor in March 2019.