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President Lander, WY

NOLS, a global, non-profit wilderness educational institution, has named Terri Watson as its next President, effective January 1, 2020.

Watson comes to NOLS with 28 years of corporate and nonprofit leadership experience. She currently holds the position of CEO at LightHawk, a national nonprofit based in Colorado, that supports significant conservation initiatives with a network of volunteer pilots and aircrafts to advance environmental causes. Watson started as a volunteer pilot at LightHawk in 1997, later becoming a board member and holding a number of management positions before taking the CEO role in 2015.  In addition to her 23-year history at LightHawk, Watson served as Executive director of the Pearl Harbor Institute of Pacific Historic Parks and The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association in San Francisco.

Watson started her NOLS journey as an instructor in 1990. She worked full time in a variety of operational roles until she departed NOLS as the Southwest Branch Director in 1997. She became a NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor in 1999 and continues to teach courses each year.

Prior to NOLS, Watson served in the U.S. Army in active duty service from 1985 to 1990 as well as active and reserve service from 1990 to 1997. She held a number of command and leadership roles as an aviation intelligence officer. It is this unique combination of experience and first-hand understanding of the NOLS culture and core values that will help her shape success at the school.

Watson earned a B.S. in Geology and Physical Education from The College of William and Mary in 1985 and completed a M.S. in Computer Information Systems from the University of Southern California in 1989. In 2013, Watson went on to receive an MBA from the University of Wyoming.

You may view NOLS’ announcement of Watson’s appointment here:

Sheryl Ash and John Muckle led this search with Andarla Hodge.

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