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
– Chief Finance Officer
Suzanne Iler – Chief Development Officer


Board of Directors 

Julie W. Walker – Chairman
Rick Schwartz – Zoo President & CEO
Jimmy Webb – Vice-Chairman
David Manning – Secretary
Ed Goodrich – Treasurer
Lauren Curry – Legal Counsel

Cynthia Arnholt, Clara Belden, Samantha Boyd, Mike Bracken, Beth Courtney, Drew Crawford, Anne Davis, Laurie Eskind, Will Fitzgibbon, Lily Followill, Jimmy Granbery, J.R. Greene, Barbara Hagood, Carl Haley, Jr., Allie Hall, Chris Holmes, John Howard, Kent Kirby, John Lueken, Alex Marks, Karen Moore, Sandra Morgan, Tara Scarlett, Tim Schoettle, Brian Smallwood, Alex Sollberger, Butch Spyridon, Barbara Turner, McArthur VanOsdale, Kimberly Williams-Paisley


Advisory Board Members

George Armistead III, Kelley Beaman, Lee Beaman, Kathryn Carell Brown, Renée Chevalier, Neely Coble III, Kelly Crockett Crook, Missy Eason, Jennifer Frist, Rodes Hart, Jim Hunt, Sarah Ingram, Jeff Jacobs, Tom Loventhal, Ellen Martin, Frank McGrew, Richard McRae, Larry Papel, Anne Parsons, Robin Patton, Sheryl Rogers, Charles Sonnenberg, Renato Soto, Richard Speer, 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.