National Outdoor Leadership School Announces New President

Sep 10, 2019


Credit National Outdoor Leadership School

The Lander-based National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has announced that Terri Watson will take over in January as its first woman president.

In a letter to the school community, NOLS's board of directors chairman Marc Randolph wrote that Watson was chosen from a pool of more than 300 applicants.

"The board unanimously concluded that Terri's background, skills, and experiences are exactly what the school needs to continue as the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment," Randolph wrote.

Watson got her start as a NOLS instructor in 1990 before pursuing a career in non-profit management. She currently serves as CEO of the conservation nonprofit LightHawk. She and her wife will make the move from Kailua, Hawaii to Lander in December.

"To come back to something that is both so familiar and so absolutely new and to re-engage with people you so deeply respect is an invigorating opportunity," Watson said.

As leader of the school, Watson said she'll be thinking about issues like environmental sustainability and student diversity. She hopes to increase NOLS's reach beyond the communities it has historically served.

"I would really like for NOLS to become a much more household name," Watson said. "I know that the strength of what we offer deserves that recognition. We would love to find a way to become more known."

Current NOLS President John Gans announced his plans to step down last November. He will retire in December after 24 years, making him the school's longest-serving president since its founding in 1965.