Shea Lewis has been announced as the next director for Arkansas State Parks by Stacy Hurst, the secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Lewis will replace Grady Spann, who retired on Dec. 31 after 28 years of service.
“Shea Lewis has a proven track record of accomplishment within Arkansas State Parks,” says Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “Our parks system offers not only the outdoor recreation that the Natural State is so well known for, but it also protects and showcases our state’s history and heritage. These resources couldn’t be left in better hands, and I know Shea will continue the legacy of his predecessors Grady Spann, Greg Butts and Richard Davies.”
Lewis has 24 years of experience with Arkansas State Parks and currently serves as deputy director, a position he has been in since 2017. Not only has Lewis served as an interpreter — both seasonally and full time — but he has also been the superintendent at Parkin Archeological State Park and served as a regional supervisor.
“Shea is a hard worker and a thoughtful leader,” Hurst says. “Because he has served at multiple levels within Arkansas State Parks, he is fully familiar with the complex operation of our system. I know that he will hit the ground running, and I look forward to his contributions that will make our wonderful state parks even better.”
Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in education, instructional resources and media design from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“Arkansas State Parks has a great tradition of protecting and managing the resources entrusted to us, as well as offering memorable experiences,” Lewis says. “It is my goal to continue that tradition while implementing innovative ways to guarantee relevancy for the next generation of park guests.”
The roles of the Arkansas State Parks director include leading the 52 state parks and a central office which includes administration, planning, development, marketing, revenue, program services and five regional offices. The director also supervises the $158 million annual budget appropriated for the division’s responsibilities. Lewis began his role on Jan. 3.
Lewis lives in Hot Springs with his wife Sebrena and their children Gracie, Anna and William.