Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




President Lander, WY

NOLS, a global, non-profit wilderness educational institution, invites nominations and applications for the position of president. Driven by its mission to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness and leadership skills, and leveraging its distinctive expertise and passion for the wild, NOLS endeavors to provide transformative experiences to a diverse body of students. Founded in 1965 as the National Outdoor Leadership School by Paul Petzoldt to teach wilderness skills through extended expeditions, NOLS has greatly expanded the breadth and reach of its exceptionally high-quality wilderness and leadership education programs and has emerged as the global leader in the field. The founder’s vision of nurturing leaders who know how to live responsibly in the wilderness and are capable of teaching others to do the same endures today and comes to life through a diverse and passionate community of “NOLSies.” NOLS staff, students, trustees, and alumni share a commitment to wilderness, education, leadership, safety, community, inclusivity, and excellence that guides the organization’s modern vision. Its new president will build on this legacy and utilize the broad scope of NOLS’ expertise to inspire its community and to continue innovating programs that attract and engage students, whether in classrooms close to home or in remote wilderness areas around the world.

NOLS is headquartered in Lander, a small community in central Wyoming, nestled at the edge of Shoshone National Forest. Although based in Lander, NOLS is a global organization in its expertise, outlook, and influence. It has 17 unique operational locations worldwide, operates in all 50 states and in dozens of countries, and employs nearly 1,400 individuals as full-time and part-time staff.  NOLS enrolls more than 28,000 students annually and has more than 360,000 active alumni. The School has an annual budget of approximately $40 million and an endowment approaching $45 million.

NOLS stands at an exciting inflection point. Its mission of connecting a global audience with wilderness experiences and developing leadership skills has never been more relevant. The school has matured as an organization and grown significantly, expanding its mission, global reach, and programmatic offerings. Outgoing President John Gans led this evolution over his 24-year tenure as president. His impact on NOLS has been extraordinary and will be enduring. The organization is poised to welcome a leader who will build on past achievements and expand NOLS' unwavering commitment to leadership development, transformative impact, diversity, and sustainability in addition to stewardship of its wilderness classrooms. The incoming president has the opportunity to lead the next phase of NOLS' vision, ethos, and culture, while also refining its value proposition in the increasingly competitive world of wilderness education.

The president reports to the NOLS Board of Trustees and maintains overall responsibility for the school’s activities, including communications, development, finance, and operations. The president also serves as NOLS’ primary spokesperson and representative in a wide variety of external contexts, including meeting regularly with donors, grantees, and industry and government partners across the globe. For this important role, NOLS seeks an exceptional leader who is passionate about the school’s mission, committed to its longstanding values and standards of excellence, supportive of its culture, and farsighted about its future potential.

All nominations, including self-nominations, should be submitted via the Nominate button below. Applications should include a CV or resume and a 1-3 page letter of interest and should be submitted electronically and in confidence via the Apply button below. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made.  Priority consideration will be given to applications received by June 1.

Sheryl Ash and John Muckle are leading this search with Andarla Hodge.

NOLS is committed to building a diverse community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds. NOLS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job or admission requirements, or veteran status.


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