New England Science & Sailing Foundation Announces Leadership Changes

The New England Science & Sailing Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce two very important leadership changes effective June 1, 2022. Spike Lobdell, NESS’s founder and current CEO, will retire from the day-to-day leadership of the organization and assume the role of Chair-elect. Concurrently, Eric Isselhardt, PhD, NESS’s President, will become the organization’s second CEO since its founding in 2002. “These changes reflect planned succession of leadership ensuring the continued success of this highly respected educational organization,” said Jane Leipold, Chair of the NESS Board of Directors.
Lobdell will become the NESS Board of Directors Chair effective January 1, 2023. In the meantime, as Chair-elect, he will continue to support the organization’s efforts to build sustainable partnerships that result in highly impactful programs for all students. His role as Chair will include supporting fundraising and strategy implementation with the NESS Board.
Dr. Isselhardt, who came to NESS with significant education organization CEO-level experience, including leading the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and Calvert Education, will build on Lobdell’s legacy with an important continuing focus on student education outcomes while preserving and honoring the incredible work for which NESS is known. Isselhardt noted that NESS’s mission of empowering students with a love of learning through ocean-based experiential programs that serve schools, teachers, and families is the “…essential ‘why’ that drives everything the organization does.”
In the past 20 years under Lobdell’s leadership, NESS grew from a small community sailing organization to a leader in experiential education serving thousands of students each year through water-based learning platforms that include marine science, sailing, powerboating, and adventure sports. Under Lobdell’s leadership, NESS has won many awards and earned national recognition. Perhaps the greatest recognition is NESS was the first non-school to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  Lobdell said, “This is the right time for me to transition to Board Chair as I believe we have an exceptional team in place at all levels of the organization. Dr. Isselhardt is poised to take NESS to the next level.”
For his part, Isselhardt said, “Spike’s energy and passion for NESS are not going away. As Board Chair, he will continue to be integral to what NESS is and how we live our core values of inclusiveness, experiential learning, personal growth, and stewardship—the foundation stones on which NESS is built.”
Jane Leipold, current NESS Board Chair, echoed those statements and said, “This transition signals an important step for NESS.  Under Eric’s direction, NESS will continue its commitment to partner with schools and organizations to provide transformational experiences for students through innovative STEM education.”
“I am very proud of how NESS has evolved over the past 20 years in serving students. Importantly, I am even more excited to work with the NESS team to increase the numbers of students who benefit from our quality programs, one student at a time. We are transforming lives,” said Lobdell.