BRICK – Township Recreation Director Daniel Santaniello has been awarded “Professional of the Year” by the New Jersey Recreation & Park Association (NJRPA) at their 41st Annual Conference & Exhibition Awards Dinner on March 8th.
The NJRPA is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting parks and recreation; enhancing the professional development of its members; advocating sound policy and stewardship related to parks, recreation, resource management, and leisure services; and increasing public awareness of the value of play and preservation of the environment to interested citizens and the public.
Daniel Santaniello has been a part of the Brick Township Recreation Department since he began serving as a lifeguard in 1992. He continued to serve as a lifeguard every summer and eventually joined the Recreation Department staff on a full-time basis in September 2000. Daniel immediately became one of the most enthusiastic and passionate Recreation Department employees and became heavily involved in our Challenger Program for children with physical and developmental disabilities. Daniel developed numerous friendships and bonds with the children and families involved in the program and he was instrumental in many of the Program’s beloved events such as the Challenger HalloweenFest, fishing trip, bowling league and more.
During his employment, Daniel willingly accepted new responsibilities and his role in the day to day operations of the Recreation Department grew larger every year. Daniel became a liaison for the numerous youth sports organizations in the community and has worked extensively with them to coordinate their schedules and field usage. Daniel also became heavily involved in the coordination of the many special events managed by the Department, most notably the SummerFest Concerts that the Township holds every year. He also continued assisting with lifeguarding and the coordination of guards on the Township’s beaches.
In early 2014, Daniel was named Director of the Brick Township Recreation Department by Mayor John Ducey. The promotion came after years of Daniel’s consistent hard work, commitment and willingness to go above and beyond. Since his appointment, Daniel has continued to work tirelessly to improve the Department and all that it offers to our residents.
“We are so proud and fortunate to have Dan Santaniello as our Recreation Director,” said Mayor Ducey. “Dan’s dedication and devotion to Brick’s residents is displayed through the joy of Brick’s children and adults who participate in all the recreational services our town has to offer.”
As Director of Recreation, Daniel oversees a staff of five full time employees and 220 seasonal employees. Since he became Director, Daniel has overseen the SummerFest 2014 and 2015 series, the creation of many new programs most notable the Township’s first ever Winter Camp Program during the winter recess for the Township Schools, the operation of the Township’s municipal marina, Traders Cove and much more. Daniel was instrumental in the creation and coordination of the Township’s first Bricktoberfest event in 2014 and it’s return in 2015 and played a large role in the Township’s first ever Farmers’ Market that ran from April until September at Brick Township’s largest park.
Daniel is also heavily involved in the Township’s Park Improvement Program in which the Township’s parks are being renovated and modernized. In 2014, the Township installed a new playground at Windward Beach Park. This year, Daniel helped oversee the renovation of Colorado Park – now known as Herbertsville Park – and is overseeing the renovation of two more parks that will be completed in 2015. Daniel has taken on a leadership role in all of these projects, working with professionals and engineers on the design of each project and meeting regularly with the contractors during construction to ensure the projects are moving along smoothly and in accordance with the Township’s vision. The results speak for themselves. The new parks have become focal points of their neighborhoods and the Windward Beach Playground was awarded the Excellence in Design Award by the NJRPA in 2015.
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Daniel. ” However, this award would not be possible without the support of Brick Township staff and my family.”