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Catamount leadership hiring process underway

The COFC executive director will be responsible for managing outdoor programs as well as other things. Photo courtesy of Catamount Outdoor Family Center

Family Center seeks executive director

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of applicants due to a misunderstanding. About 15 applications have been received, not 50 as previously reported.

About 15 candidates have applied to be the next executive director of the Catamount Outdoor Family Center, which operates biking, skiing and running programs on Williston’s Catamount Community Forest.

The organization’s first executive director, Kim Stinson, who held the job for roughly three years, is transitioning to a new job with the North Country Animal League of Morristown, where she will lead the equine center. Stinson plans to step away from Catamount gradually in the coming months, helping her successor get up to speed. 

The Catamount board of directors’ deadline for applications passed Monday. A hiring committee of three board members plans to do initial applicant screening this week, said board vice president Alan Cote.

“We received many resumes,” he said. “We really only need one person, but having more people to look at is a good thing … We will interview a number of finalists, then make a decision from there.”

The executive director’s job is to generally further the center’s mission of creating “outdoor experiences … that build active lifestyles, friendships and environmental awareness” and further the board’s vision “of a community in which playing in nature is everyone’s first choice.” 

The board seeks someone with an entrepreneurial mindset to manage existing programs, create new programs and events, develop new partnerships through community outreach and oversee fundraising. The executive director oversees the center’s two full-time staff members and its seasonal staff. 

Stinson was hired just after the town completed its purchase of the Catamount Community Forest — the land on which the center operates — and just before Covid lockdowns upended the operations. Her tenure was defined by remote work, video-meetings and online operations management. She said the transition of the forest to public ownership expanded its visitor base, and that the executive director position calls for cultivating relationships with town staff, the volunteer board and Catamount Community Forest Management Committee, and adjacent landowners who host portions of the property’s trail system. 

“It’s a unique position and a really awesome opportunity for the right person,” Stinson said. “There is never a good time for an executive director to leave, but I feel really good about where the organization is. The board is strong and we have an awesome staff … It’s a pretty amazing place.”

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