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Directors' Leadership Academy

The Directors’ Leadership Academy trains leaders that have the skills and abilities to strategically address the complex, multidisciplinary challenges facing local, state, and national parks.

Address Key Challenges

Challenges facing park leaders are constantly evolving and include:

  • Complexity of issues that influence natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources.
  • An aging workforce. For example, the average age of full-time staff in the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is 55 years.

Modeled After Visionary Park Leaders

Training programs are modeled after former National Park Service and state park directors who have made significant contributions to park innovation, management, and leadership, including:

  • George Hartzog Jr., 7th NPS Director (1964-1972)
  • Ronald H. Walker, 8th NPS Director (1973-1975)
  • Gary Everhardt, 9th NPS Director (1975-1977)
  • Robert Stanton, 15th NPS Director (1997-2001)
  • Fran Mainella, 16th NPS Director (2001-2006)
  • Phil Gaines, retired South Carolina State Park Director (2005-2018)

Develop Strategic Capability and Capacity

The Academy enhances the capacity of new and aspiring leaders of local, state, and national parks through two leadership programs.

Ronald H. Walker Park Leadership Development Program

Gary E. Everhardt Park Break Program 

How You Can Help

Your support is needed to help potential park leaders participate in this program, by:

  • Enrolling your current and emerging leadership staff in Academy training programs.
  • Sponsoring a scholarship for a student or emerging leader to attend a program.
  • Financially contributing to the development of a leadership training program.

Find out how to give to the Directors’ Leadership Academy.