Member Biography

Sonya Shaw PhD, CPRP

Sonya Reddick Shaw, PhD, CPRP, is a retired parks and recreation director with over 30 years of municipal parks and recreation experience. Dr. Shaw began her career with the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department in North Carolina. After spending 15 years moving through the ranks of leadership, she obtained her first parks and recreation director position with the City of Goldsboro Parks and Recreation, North Carolina and later with the Town of Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. During her tenure in Garner, Dr. Shaw led the department through two national accreditation processes and was instrumental in securing nearly $4 million in grants and sponsorships, developing the department’s 10-year comprehensive parks and recreation plan, rebranding and reinventing the performing arts center programs and completing over $3 million dollars in park enhancement bond projects. Additionally, she led logistics for Scotty McCreery’s American Idol hometown tour and disaster recovery offsite efforts for ConAgra’s employees, executive leadership team and families during the plant’s explosion. Currently, Dr. Shaw serves as Adjunct Professor in the Kinesiology and Recreation Administration Program, North Carolina Central University and as the Community Engagement and Equity Specialist with the McAdams Company, both located in Durham, North Carolina. 

Dr. Shaw serves at the state and national level as President of the National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society, Historian of the NC Black Recreation and Park Professionals, and is a Past President of the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association. She is a former Board Regent for the National Recreation and Park Association Supervisors Management School and Practitioner Representative for the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions.

Dr. Shaw obtained her B.A in Recreation Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University and is the first African American woman to obtain a Doctorate Degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University, where she conducted the first national study in the country on the career experiences of African American women in public parks and recreation agencies. Dr. Shaw enjoys sharing these experiences with women across the country during women’s leadership, state and national conferences.