Published on November 26, 2019
TULSA, Okla. (Nov. 26, 2019) – Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. today announced President and CEO Terrie Correll will retire next year. Correll will continue in her role while the TZMI board conducts a national search for her successor.
Correll joined the Tulsa Zoo in 2009 as Zoo Director and was named President and CEO in October 2011, helping to lead the zoo through its successful transition from municipal management to a public-private partnership between owner the City of Tulsa and the nonprofit TZMI.
“TZMI can boast tremendous progress under Terrie’s leadership,” says John Stava, TZMI Board Chairman. “She has taken the zoo from an underfunded city asset at risk of losing its AZA accreditation, to completion of the first phase of the master plan to completely rebuild the 90-plus-year-old facility. In only eight years, the zoo has completed Phase 1 of the master plan by delivering $26 million in fully funded and completed improvements. Already, we have secured $39 million toward the estimated $62.7 million needed to complete the second phase. I and the rest of the board are proud of her accomplishments.”
The board has named a search committee, including long-term board members, and is in the process of selecting a national search firm. Correll has committed to remain president and CEO until the search is complete, which could continue through summer 2020.
Correll has more than four decades of zoo profession experience, fueling her passion for the critical role zoos play in a community as well as in the wider world of education and conservation. She credits her drive to save species to childhood trips to the San Diego Zoo. It was a behind the scenes tour of the Oklahoma City Zoo during her senior year of college at Oklahoma State University that led Correll to pursue a career as part of the zoo field.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to start the transformation of the zoo,” Correll says. “I can proudly say today’s Tulsa Zoo is an animals-first, mission-based organization with a staff dedicated to providing the best in animal care and welfare, and guest experiences. My goal has been to lead the zoo to a stronger financial position, and position the organization to fulfill the promise of the master plan developed with the generous support of private donations and City of Tulsa taxpayers. I announce my plans for retirement with every confidence the zoo will build on the momentum gained in a short amount of time. It has been a privilege and honor to be part of the zoo’s success and this community these past 10 years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many talented and dedicated people and I am very proud of what we have accomplished.”
Previously, Correll served as Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for The Living Desert, a zoological and botanical garden in Palm Desert, Calif., that focused on desert conservation. Terrie began her zoo career as a zookeeper at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from OSU.
She has served on numerous AZA committees, including Ethics, Field Conservation, Taxon Advisory Groups and Species Survival Plans. She currently she serves as an AZA institutional accreditation inspector.
Additionally, she has served as a member of the IUCN’s Antelope Specialist Group, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, and is a founding board member for the Sahara Conservation Fund. She has also coordinated Addax antelope reintroduction from AZA zoos to Tunisia.