Director of Golden Gate Park Public Gardens - Rec and Parks (0923)

  • 501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
  • Full-time
  • Fill Type: Permanent Exempt
  • Job Code and Title: 0923-Manager II

Company Description

Applications Open: October 7, 2021 Applications Close: Open until position is filled. The earliest it may close is November 5, 2021.

Amid a dynamic and ever-evolving urban landscape, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department stewards one of the premier urban park systems in America.  San Francisco recently became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park.  Considered by San Franciscans to be one of the City’s most popular and effective public agencies, our Department manages and maintains more than 225 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces in San Francisco, including two outside of city limits: Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. Our 4,100- acre system includes 25 recreation centers, 9 swimming pools, 5 golf courses and numerous athletic facilities, including sports courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and gymnasiums. Included in the department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and TPC Harding Park golf course.

More than 2,000 talented individuals are part of our team, from gardeners, foresters, and recreation leaders to park rangers, custodians, electricians, painters and more. Our core mission, as it has been throughout our history, is to provide opportunities for San Francisco residents and visitors alike to gather, play, learn, relax, and enjoy nature in the city.

The Golden Gate Park Botanical Institutions 
San Francisco Botanical Garden a 55-acre living museum containing a documented collection of 8,000 kinds of plants displayed in a series of geographic and specialty gardens, with more than 300,000 visitors annually. San Francisco Botanical Garden is managed with the support and partnership of the nonprofit San Francisco Botanical Garden Society.

Conservatory of Flowers: a 12,000 square-foot historic glass conservatory with four support greenhouses, a widely marketed program of changing exhibits, with more than 200,000 visitors annually. The Conservatory of Flowers is managed with the support and partnership of the nonprofit San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden: this 5-acre garden features classic Japanese elements including an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping-stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a zen garden. The Japanese Tea Garden provides visitors from around the world an opportunity to experience tranquility and harmony in the heart of Golden Gate Park.

Job Description

Under the direction of the Superintendent of Parks and Open Space, the Director is responsible for the facilities and horticultural management at these renowned public gardens that are San Francisco Recreation & Park Department properties located within Golden Gate Park. The position has a key responsibility in maintaining operational relationships with non-profit partners in the cooperative management of these institutions:

  • Direct supervision of operations staff in the horticultural management and maintenance of landscapes, grounds and plant collections including greenhouse and conservatory displays. This includes the supervision of 20 full-time equivalent horticultural staff as well as interns and volunteers.
  • Leadership of horticultural and maintenance staff in establishing projects and priorities, establish and implement horticultural and design standards to maintain and enhance the gardens using best practices.
  • Oversight and coordination of facility management of landscapes and grounds, including a historic Conservatory facility, production greenhouse structures, and historic Japanese garden structures.
  • Manages an operating budget of approximately $4M in public funds as well as an approximately $1 M private non-profit budget at the Conservatory of Flowers.
  • Develops, carries out, communicates and enforces policies and procedures in connection with the management of the gardens
  • Leadership and support of strategic and master planning efforts, and both public and privately-funded capital improvement projects.
  • Develops and maintains collaborative working relationships with the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and San Francisco Parks Alliance per their respective management agreements. Serve as the primary point of contact between the Recreation and Park Department and these non-profit partners.
  • Support and general oversight of non-profit activities including fundraising efforts, visitor services, admissions collection, earned income, special events and exhibits, educational programs, interpretation, marketing, community relations and volunteer coordination.
  • At the Conservatory of Flowers, this position currently supervises 5 non-profit funded full-time equivalent and oversees fundraising efforts, visitor services, admissions collection, earned income, special events and exhibits, educational programs, interpretation, marketing, community relations and volunteer coordination. These duties may be subject to change.


1.    Possession of a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in horticulture, botany, landscape architecture or a related field; AND

2.    Five (5) years of professional experience in the care, construction or maintenance of landscaped areas in one or more of the following areas: parks, ornamental gardens, arboreta, greenhouses, nurseries, botanical gardens, and/or public landscaped areas.

Substitution: Additional experience as described above may be substituted for the required degree on a year-to-year basis. One (1) year is equivalent to thirty (30) semester units/forty-five (45) quarter units.

License: Possession of a valid California Driver's License.

Desirable Qualifications     

  • Masters’ degree in horticulture, botany, landscape architecture or a related field;
  • 10 years of professional experience in the field of horticulture and public garden management with strongly demonstrated horticultural expertise and background in the management and maintenance of public gardens and botanical plant collections;
  • 7 years of supervisory and management experience with proven ability to lead a diverse team, ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships across the Department and with non-profit partners;
  • Knowledge of best management practices in public garden administration including public-private partnerships;
  • Knowledge and experience in the maintenance and design principles of Japanese gardens and landscapes; the specialized management of Conservatory growing environments, plant collections and displays, including the maintenance requirements of Conservatory and greenhouse structures; knowledge of temperate, Mediterranean and subtropical horticulture and botany;
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of capital-project management;
  • 3+ years of experience managing a budget of at least $3,000,000;
  • Ability to develop institutional-strategic and operational plans for public gardens; and
  • Ability to communicate orally and in writing.

Verification of Education and Experience:
Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. More information can be found at:

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Additional Information

The normal annual salary range is $124,072 - $158,366.  Appointment above the maximum of the normal range may be considered based on documented and substantiated recruitment and retention issues or exceptional skills.  A special approval process is necessary for appointment above the normal salary range. For additional information about the City's benefits package, please visit: Municipal Executives' Association Benefit Summary

Other outstanding benefits offered with this position include:

  • Medical, Dental, and Life Insurance; Long-term Disability Plan; Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Municipal Executives Flexible Credits Defined Retirement Plan
  • Deferred Compensation; Social Security
  • Paid Management Training Program; Wellness Program
  • Vacation/Holiday/Sick Time; Administrative Leave

Appointment Type:   Permanent-Exempt (PEX) Appointment. Pursuant to the City & County of San Francisco Charter, Section 10.104.13. Any person occupying a position under exempt appointment shall not be subject to civil service selection, appointment, and removal procedures. Exempt employees shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer.

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For questions, please contact Antonio Archuleta at [email protected]

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT:  All City and County of San Francisco employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.  For details on how it is applicable to your employment, please click here.

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.