Jody Baker, Sapulpa Parks & Recreation Director, submitted his resignation on Friday, April 16th.
Baker, who joined the Sapulpa Parks Department in September of 2017, replaced John Waytula who had recently retired after serving as department head for 29 years.
Sapulpa Times interviewed Baker about his departure. He stated that he has been hired by the City of Broken Arrow as their Recreation Superintendent.
“It’s just an opportunity of moving into a bigger system. I can’t really explain it, I am saddened by it, because of everything I’ve done here. There is a piece of me here—the Kelly Lane playground, the new playground going in at Liberty, Booker T. Washington, the sports complex, the logo we created, that’s all pieces of me in that.”
Reflecting on his accomplishments while Sapulpa Parks Director, Baker said it was “kinda weird” that he would not be “nurturing” the numerous programs he developed.
Sapulpa Parks Recreation Leader Susan Bencke told Sapulpa Times that she and Baker attended Oklahoma State University while in the undergraduate program for Leisure Services and that they worked together on events and projects. Going to work for her former classmate was “picking up right where we left off…he was a great member of our team and we all are going to miss him.”
Sapulpa Times also spoke to Booker T. Washington Recreation Center Director Rick Bruner, Sr. about Baker leaving. “He has been very helpful in getting things done. You hate to see him go because now after three years, you see the direction that he was trying to go and trying to get things done. He was in it 100 percent.”
Baker’s last day as Parks Director will be April 30, 2021. At the present time, it is not known who will be named interim Director.
Bencke said that citizens can call 918-227-5151 if they have any questions and the appropriate employee will respond.