March 11, 2019- On Thursday, the Board of Directors of the Austin Zoo elected Bernie Tejada as Interim Chairperson and elected three additional new members: Richard Heinichen, Leslie Starnes and Sherri Wicker. They join existing Board members Carl Alberty, Rick King and Tracie Monroe. The Board elected Alberty as Vice President, Wicker as Secretary, Starnes as Treasurer and King as General Counsel.
“I’m excited about where the Austin Zoo is going and honored to serve as its interim chair,” Tejada said. “I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to advance the important mission of the Zoo.”
Tejada said he expects to serve as the Interim Chairperson until a newly constituted Board Governance Review Committee completes its top-to-bottom review of the Zoo’s governance. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the full Board this summer. At that time, the Board expects it would elect a new Chairperson to succeed Tejada.
Patti Clark, the Zoo’s past Board Chairperson, stepped down as a voting member of the Board.
“We appreciate Patti’s leadership and service on the Board,” Tejada said. “After seeking out the advice of experts in nonprofit governance and following thoughtful discussions, the Board and Patti agreed that, moving forward, it is in the best interest of the Zoo to separate the Board and the Zoo’s management.”
She remains the Zoo’s Executive Director and continues to accept no salary for her full-time work for the Austin Zoo.
Since the Zoo’s accreditation by the Zoological Association of America last May, the Zoo has hired an exceptional new Deputy Director of Animal Care, expanded veterinary care coverage, implemented new animal care standards, increased training for zookeepers, and upgraded or expanded numerous animal enclosures and habitats.
“The Austin Zoo is taking great strides toward our goal of being an exemplary animal rescue and educational resource,” Tejada said. “Our dedicated team is working hard every day to provide the very best care possible for our animals. I’m proud to be associated with the Zoo and its leadership team.”