Longtime Educational Leader Chosen to Serve as Executive Director of Education at New England Science and Sailing Foundation

Eric Isselhardt, PhD, named NESS’s first Executive Director of Education

A veteran executive with deep experience in both nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations has been selected to serve as the new Executive Director of Education for the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS), a nonprofit ocean adventure education organization. 

Isselhardt comes to NESS after serving as President and acting CEO at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Most recently before that, he served as Chief Executive Officer at Calvert Education where he led the design and development of an inquiry-based blended and virtual international high school system, and as Chief Academic Officer at Green Street Academy Foundation where he designed a project-based learning curriculum tied to Common Core standards. In addition, Isselhardt served as CEO/Head of School at independent schools, and as Executive Vice President at a small college in Vermont. NESS’s Board of Directors, which conducted a national search, was particularly impressed by his breadth and depth of educational leadership.

Isselhardt has over 25 years of education leadership experience as Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, and Chief Academic Officer. His work focuses on educational opportunities for urban youth, inquiry-based pedagogical development and delivery, virtual and blended learning, organization culture, and systemic reform—all designed to increase student achievement. Isselhardt will start his post as of January 1st, 2020. 

“We are delighted to announce Eric’s appointment as Executive Director of Education here at NESS,” said NESS President and CEO Spike Lobdell. “Eric is joining NESS at an exciting time in our 17-year history given our recent New England Schools and Colleges accreditation as a school partner program. We are confident Eric is the right person to build on our successes and bring us into the future.” 

NESS, a nationally-recognized and award-winning nonprofit ocean adventure education organization, provides students of all ages with year-round ocean adventure programming that includes marine science, sailing, and water sports. NESS scholastic programs support teachers’ STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curricula with a unique combination of on-the-water and in-the-classroom lessons intended to build confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills. With 25 fulltime staff members, 9 AmeriCorps members, and over 30 seasonal educators, NESS serves over 9,000 students annually across New England. Since its inception, NESS has enabled over 35,000 students to get out on the water.

“I am honored professionally and personally to be joining the NESS community. I am humbled by the breadth and depth of what NESS represents: an education jewel that promotes experiential STEM learning powered by the engine of its astonishing staff, friends, and partners,” Isselhardt said. “I am exhilarated at the prospect of being a part of that work, contributing to its further development and impact.”

About NESS
The New England Science & Sailing Foundation, Inc. (NESS), is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) ocean adventure education organization that engages students in experiential learning to build confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills. Marine sciences, adventure sports, powerboating, and sailing are platforms for inquiry-based learning, personal discovery, teaching respect and responsibility for the sea, and creating connections with the community. NESS operates year-round with families, schools, and organizations to provide high-quality programs that blend an innovative curriculum with exciting ocean adventure activities. For more information, visit www.nessf.org