NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams was excited for Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles as a friend but also as a journalist when he heard she’d been named the next chief spokesperson for the National Park Service.
“The Park Service is in her blood,” Williams told the News&Guide. “She knows it very well — but she also knows journalism and knows our side as well.”
Williams, a Casper native, got to know Anzelmo-Sarles as a high schooler, when she interned under him while a junior at the Madeira School outside of Washington, D.C. He stayed in touch and was working with her up through her most recent post, when Anzelmo-Sarles was a vice president at the New York City-based strategic communications firm Rubenstein.
“She has a great attitude, and she wants to be helpful to reporters,” Williams said. “I always felt that, as a former flak myself, the best people in government public affairs are those who want the public to understand what their agency is doing, and they’re not just apologists for it.
“I think that’s how she’ll do the job,” he said.
The National Park Service announced the former Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman’s appointment on Tuesday. As the chief of public affairs, she will speak on behalf of the federal agency’s 419 park units and 12,000-plus employees. Anzelmo-Sarles said in a statement that she’s “incredibly honored” to return to the agency where she came up in her career.
“From protecting our nation’s most hallowed grounds and stunning landscapes to preserving places associated with our most defining historical moments,” Anzelmo-Sarles said, “the National Park Service has a special place in American life.”
Anzelmo-Sarles is the daughter of Jackson Hole resident and longtime National Park Service employee, Joan Anzelmo.
She returns to the Park Service after a stint with Rubenstein, but for the decade prior had been in communications jobs for the Park Service in Teton Park, Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay area.
In her new job, Anzelmo-Sarles will function as the agency’s senior national spokesperson and oversee national communication strategies for the Park Service. She starts Monday.
Since the departure of Jeremy Barnum last winter, the job has been filled by Park Service staff temporarily assigned to the position. Barnum was pulled away from the chief spokesperson job by Grand Teton National Park, where he’s now the chief of staff.