The County of San Mateo’s assistant parks director, Nicholas Calderon, has been tapped to fill the department’s top post where he’ll oversee a $60.3 million budget and a network of 23 parks and 190 miles of trails that welcome more than 2.5 million visitors annually.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to confirm County Manager Mike Callagy’s recommendation of Calderon at its Nov. 12 regular meeting. Beginning Nov. 18, Calderon will permanently fill the position currently held by Deputy County Manager Peggy Jensen who is serving as interim director.
“I am very excited for this opportunity. Growing up as a San Mateo County Parks user, I understand the lifelong memories families create in our parks. Preserving that ability for future generations will continue to be a top priority for this department,” Calderon said. “I look forward to leading staff and working with our partners to restore and protect our natural resources, improve our facilities to ensure we provide the highest quality experience possible, and engage with new communities so we may connect more people with the outdoors.”
Calderon joined County Parks as assistant director in June 2018. Prior to that, he served as the County’s real property services manager from 2016 to 2018 during which he was part of the County team that worked with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) to acquire and improve the 58-acre Tunitas Creek Beach. From 2011 to 2016, he was a legislative aide to District Three Supervisor Don Horsley. His work included the protection of Highway 1 from erosion at Surfer’s Beach and aiding Horsley in halting the auction of Moss Beach Park in Moss Beach so that it could be purchased by the County of San Mateo.
Callagy said Calderon’s passion and long-term vision for the Parks Department help make him the ideal person to lead it through completion of improvements at Flood and Memorial parks and Tunitas Creek Beach.
“Nicholas has been incredibly successful as the assistant director, bringing innovative policies into place and advancing initiatives. He leads from the front, always listens to our public and will continue to engage our partners and friends groups,” Callagy said. “Our County Parks system is a gem and there is no better steward than Nicholas to help it shine even brighter.”
Calderon is a lifelong park enthusiast who considered Beresford Park in San Mateo his second childhood home. During his past year with Parks, Calderon has helped expand interpretive programs, define habitat restoration priorities and oversee fire fuel reduction efforts.
Calderon holds a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Arizona and a Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University.