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 – Zoo President
Andy Tillman – Chief Operating Officer
Reagan Fairbairn – Chief Finance Officer
Suzanne Iler – Chief Development Officer
– Mammal Curator
– Director of Animal Operations
Dale McGinnity – Ectotherm Curator
Joe deGraauw – Avian Curator
Jacqueline Menish – Curator of Behavioral Husbandry
Dr. Heather Robertson – Senior Zoo Veterinarian


Board of Directors 

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

Cynthia Arnholt, Kelley Beaman, Neely Coble, Kevin Crumbo, Anne Davis, Laurie Eskind, Will Fitzgibbon, Lily Followill, Jennifer Frist, Ed Goodrich, Carl Haley, Chris Holmes, John Howard, Jeff Jacobs, John Lueken, David Manning, Alex Marks, Brian Smallwood, Butch Spyridon, McArthur VanOsdale, Jimmy Webb, Kimberly Williams-Paisley


Advisory Board Members

George Armistead, Lee Beaman, Kathryn Carell Brown, Renée Chevalier, Kelly Crockett Crook, Missy Eason, Rodes Hart, Jim Hunt, Sarah Ingram, Jamie Jones, Art Laffer, Jim Littlejohn, Tom Loventhal, Frank McGrew, Richard McRae, Larry Papel, Dick Ragsdale, Charles Sonnenberg, 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.