Fairytale Town Appoints New Executive Director

New Executive Director to begin January 2020

Fairytale Town’s board of directors has appointed nonprofit executive Kevin Smith-Fagan as the organization’s next executive director. He will oversee the administration, fund development, community and organizational leadership, programming, maintenance and strategic planning of the storybook park as well as the offsite Sacramento Adventure Playground program. Smith-Fagan will assume the role in early January 2020.

“We are very excited to welcome Kevin Smith-Fagan as Fairytale Town’s next executive director,” said Matt DeFazio, president elect of Fairytale Town’s board of directors. “Kevin is a dynamic leader whose deep experience in nonprofit management and roots in the Sacramento community will help lead Fairytale Town in its next phase of growth.”

Smith-Fagan has served as the associate general manager for external affairs at PBS KVIE since 2014. Previously, he was the vice president for development and director of leadership giving at PBS KVIE. He is president elect of the Rotary Club of Sacramento and has served on numerous community boards, including Women’s Empowerment, YMCA of Superior California and more. He is a graduate of Boston University.

“I’m delighted to be joining the dedicated staff and board as Fairytale Town’s next executive director,” said Smith-Fagan. “As one of Sacramento’s premier cultural assets, Fairytale Town has a rich history in the community. I’m energized by the mission to promote the imagination, creativity and education of children and excited about the expansion plans to grow Fairytale Town’s impact for the next generation of children.”

Smith-Fagan will work with outgoing executive director, Kathy Fleming, to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for the 60-year-old institution. Through much of 2020, Fleming will serve as director emeritus on a part-time basis and focus 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.

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. Fairytale Town serves 250,000 guests annually from all over the state, nation and globe.

We’re delighted to welcome Kevin to the Fairytale Town family! Learn more about Kevin from our recent interview.

Why did you want to be the Executive Director of Fairytale Town? 

The early literacy element of Fairytale Town addresses a significant community need, and that holds a lot of appeal for me. Tens of thousands of children visit each year, so working here means making a positive impact on huge numbers of kids across the region. And of course, Fairytale Town has a heartwarming spirit that makes me smile!

What excites you about Fairytale Town’s mission and the future of the organization? 

There’s something really beautiful about this wholesome place that cherishes children, fosters imagination, and where kids are treated as children rather than as consumers. The new Story Center coming through the planned park expansion will be a really big deal in strengthening the reading achievement for generations of Sacramento kids, so raising the money to build the Story Center is a top priority.

What is your favorite Fairytale Town memory? 

When my family relocated in 2003 from Philadelphia, it was a big change for our small boys, and they missed home. One of the first things we did was visit Fairytale Town, and of course they loved it. And I remember telling them, “See? Sacramento is going to be great!” My kids have fond memories of visiting Fairytale Town.

What is your favorite fairytale or children’s book? 

As a kid, Stone Soup was my favorite; I loved how the penniless traveler found a clever way to appeal to the surly villagers’ better instincts and they all end up joining together. As a dad of three, we wore out a couple copies of Where the Wild Things Are.