It’s official: Melissa Mancuso became Maplewood Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs on August 2 after serving as interim director since February. She is Maplewood Township’s first-ever full-time female Director of Recreation.
Mancuso, who has already impressed residents with her ready smile and outgoing personality, replaces Keith Knudsen who resigned last winter to become Recreation Director for the Township of Roxbury, NJ.
In a release, the Township announced that Mancuso “brings to Maplewood a wealth of private sector and public sector experience with extensive background in recreation, senior services, fitness, and event planning. She recently served as the Director of Recreation and Community Affairs in a similar sized New Jersey community for the last five years.” Previously, Mancuso worked as the director of the Department of Recreation and Community Development in Vernon Township in northwestern New Jersey.
“Getting to know Maplewood for the past nearly six months only firmed up my hopes of becoming a permanent Recreation Director here,” said Mancuso. “We had a successful pool season with a growing membership and robust summer camp programming to offer our residents. Working with boards and committees, sports groups, residents as well as the administration has been synergistic and rewarding.”
As the fall approaches, Mancuso said that she looks forward to focusing on the senior citizen population “planning fresh programming as well as intergenerational events.”
“Residents have been very welcoming to me whether I’m at an event or walking through the village for an espresso, and I’m very appreciative,” said Mancuso. “I find Maplewood to be a unique and extraordinary community, and I’m beyond proud to be their first permanent, female Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs.”
Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca is likewise proud to have Mancuso on board: “We got lucky finding Melissa to serve as the interim director. She fit in right away and showed us her excellent skills and knowledge of the job. When we interviewed her in late July for the Director’s position, it became clear that keeping Melissa in the position was absolutely the right decision. The Township Committee believes Melissa will guide the Rec Department to provide more and better services, particularly for our older adults and teens.”