The mission of Nashville Zoo is to inspire a culture of understanding and discovery of our natural world through conservation, innovation and leadership.


Zoo Senior Management Team

Rick Schwartz – President and Chief Executive Officer
David Oehler - Vice President
Andy Tillman – Chief Operating Officer
Reagan Fairbairn – Chief Finance Officer
Suzanne Iler – Chief Development Officer


Board of Directors 

Julie W. Walker – Chairman
Rick Schwartz – Zoo President
Jennifer Frist – Vice-Chairman
Robin Patton – Immediate Past Chairman
Sheryl Rogers – Secretary
Kent Kirby – Treasurer
Lauren Curry – Legal Counsel

Cynthia Arnholt, Kelley Beaman, Samantha Boyd, Drew Crawford, Anne Davis, Laurie Eskind, Will Fitzgibbon, Lily Followill, Ed Goodrich, J.R. Greene, Barbara Hagood, Carl Haley, Jr., Chris Holmes, John Howard, John Lueken, David Manning, Alex Marks, Tara Scarlett, Brian Smallwood, Butch Spyridon, Barbara Turner, McArthur VanOsdale, Jimmy Webb, Kimberly Williams-Paisley


Advisory Board Members

George Armistead III, Lee Beaman, Kathryn Carell Brown, Renée Chevalier, Neely Coble III, Kelly Crockett Crook, Missy Eason, Rodes Hart, Jim Hunt, Sarah Ingram, Jeff Jacobs, Tom Loventhal, Frank McGrew, Richard McRae, Larry Papel, Anne Parsons, Charles Sonnenberg, Renato Soto, Abby Trotter

Visionary Leadership of Zoo President, Rick Schwartz

Rick Schwartz has been heavily involved in the world of conservation for almost thirty years. He is known internationally for his expertise in big cats and for his personal devotion to the preservation of the highly endangered clouded leopard. In 1989, Schwartz lent his expertise to a group of Nashvillians intent on creating a local zoo. Since then he has been the director and primary architect of Nashville Zoo, building facilities, designing the exhibits and working extensively with other zoos throughout the country to develop the outstanding collection of species represented at Nashville Zoo. Schwartz's exhibit designs have been featured on Animal Planet's Ultimate Zoo series, and Zoo professionals from around the world come to Nashville to consult on his innovative designs.