NOLS announces leadership transition

    (Lander, WY) – National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) President Terri Watson has announced that she will leave her position effective April 30, 2023. Terri has faithfully served NOLS since 1990. During more than three years as President, Terri skillfully led NOLS through the challenges posed by the global pandemic. Along with her agility, unstinting work, and deep compassion for all NOLS team members, Terri’s level-headed leadership and decision-making ensured the school continued to serve students during times of unprecedented uncertainty. Reflecting on her tenure, Board Chair Dr. Stuart Harris said, “Terri has earned a place in the pantheon of NOLS’ outstanding leaders.”

    Sandy Colhoun will become Interim President of NOLS on May 1. Sandy brings a wealth of non-profit experience to this role. Most recently he served as Chief Campaign Officer at Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he was responsible for Dare Northward, a $750 million comprehensive campaign in support of initiatives across the college. Previously he held leadership roles in advancement at two different independent schools. Sandy was the founding editor of The Antarctic Sun, which was published from McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

    Sandy’s relationship with NOLS began in 1987 as a student on a NOLS Wind River Mountaineering course, and he served on the Board of Trustees from July 2021 until the Board asked him to serve in this interim capacity. Over the next three months, Sandy will serve as Vice President, working alongside Terri and the Executive Team as he transitions to the Interim President role. Sandy has expressed an unwavering commitment to NOLS and its future: “NOLS is the world leader in wilderness experiences that empower individuals and strengthen communities. It will be my deepest privilege to serve the people who create the transformative experiences that define the school.”


    A global search for NOLS’ next President will begin immediately. The new President will be responsible for developing and executing a long-term strategic plan and comprehensive fundraising campaign that will carry NOLS into its next chapter. The Board will name a search committee and engage an executive search firm as the next steps in a thorough and ambitious search. The Board aims to attract a robust and diverse slate of candidates ready to lead the organization forward. Continuity of leadership within the Executive Team, as well as a profound commitment to NOLS’ mission, will be important assets as the school seeks its next President.  

    NOLS’ mission is to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment. The NOLS community—staff, students, trustees, partners, and alumni—shares a commitment to wilderness, education, leadership, risk management, community, and excellence. Founded in 1965, NOLS now operates in 50 US states and 52 countries. The school continues to build a thriving culture of inclusion and belonging that values each team member and supports them in fulfilling their potential and purpose.


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