The board of directors announced the appointment of Liz Baird as president and chief Executive officer of the North Carolina Aquarium Society, with a transition date expected in mid-February. Baird succeeds Jay Barnes, who announced his forthcoming retirement in August following a forty-year career with the NC Aquariums, including twenty years as director of the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the past four years as president and chief executive officer of the Society.
“The NC Aquarium Society is thrilled to welcome Liz Baird to the role of president and CEO,” said Society Board Chair, Hope Williams. “We are confident that the Society’s impact in supporting the NC Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier will continue to grow and thrive under her leadership.”
Baird joins the Society after serving as director at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for the past three years, where she helped guide the facility through the pandemic and fostered an environment of innovation, integrity, and inclusivity, according to staff. Prior to that, she worked for 24 years managing education programming at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, including nine years as chief of school and lifelong education.
“I am absolutely delighted to be able to continue serving the mission of the N.C. Aquariums in this new role,” said Baird. “The NC Aquarium Society is an incredible organization, and I am honored and excited to be leading the Society into the future.”
“Working with Liz has been a great pleasure,” said N.C. Aquariums Division Director, Maylon White. “I’m glad to see we will still be benefitting from her many talents.”
Baird was North Carolina’s Environmental Educator of the Year in 2010 and currently serves as the chair of the board of trustees of Salem College, her alma mater. Since 2017, she has been a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, teaching the Introduction to Museum Education Course for the Museum Studies Master’s Program.
“Liz has built her career around her passions―teaching, learning, exploring, and leading others to build appreciation for the wonders of our natural world,” said Drew Covert, society chair-elect and chair of the search committee. “We look forward to Liz’s transition as Society president and CEO, which will naturally be aided by the depth of her working knowledge of our Aquariums and Pier.”
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