View Full Version : OKC Zoo to get a new Executive Director

06-03-2008, 11:06 AM
Former OKC Zoo wrangler returns as new exec. director
Journal Record
June 3, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – Dwight Scott soon will leave the Tulsa Zoo as assistant director to move back to the Oklahoma City Zoo as its new executive director.

Scott has been at the Tulsa Zoo for two years. Before that, he had spent more than four years as the director of animal management and curator of animals at the Oklahoma City park under Executive Director Bert Castro. He said he’s looking forward to taking up his new responsibilities July 1.

“I’ve learned a lot. There’s a lot of great people here,” Scott said Thursday. “It’s definitely prepared me very well to take over the executive director position. … I’m really excited to be coming back to the Oklahoma City Zoo.”He began his zoo career in 1994 as a keeper at the Kansas City Zoological Gardens, followed by several years at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as primate keeper night shift zoological manager. Scott also is a graduate of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Professional Development Program.

When the Tulsa job opened, Scott said he saw it as “an opportunity to be more involved in zoo management other than just animal collection management.”

Oklahoma City Zoological Trust Chairman Dick Beshear said officials tried to talk Castro into staying when he resigned in December, but could not counter the chief executive position offered by the Phoenix Zoo. Brian Aucone, Oklahoma City’s current director of animal management, has served as interim director since January in Castro’s absence and will help Scott through the transition, zoo officials said.

Scott said he will be visiting with staff as his official start date approaches. Scott praised Tulsa Zoo Executive Director Stephen Walker and said he anticipates stronger relations between the state’s two major metro area zoos.“He’s been a real good guy to work for,” Scott said. “Although he’s very happy for me, he said he was upset I’m leaving because we’ve worked so well together.”As for what he’ll be taking away from his Tulsa experience, Scott said, “Tulsa has a very strong culture of conservation. They’re really a zoological facility that walks the talk, and they do whatever they can to minimize their collective footprint on the environment. I want to continue that type of thinking at the Oklahoma City Zoo.”

Walker said Scott is leaving something behind as well: “He’s got a lot of experience in the zoo field and he has incredible personnel skills that he’s been able to apply here. We’ve been ecstatically pleased with the job he’s done for us,” he said. “We compared notes frequently about all different aspects of the operation down there,” Walker said of the Oklahoma City Zoo. “Zoos are a wonderful institution in that they’re always willing to share their successes and failures.

Dwight had brought ideas about things that were done at the Oklahoma City Zoo.“Our loss is Oklahoma City’s gain,” he said. The Tulsa Zoo is operated by the municipal government, so the standardized hiring process for Scott’s successor will be put in motion soon, Walker said. Beshear said, “Dwight brings passion and excitement for the zoo, its staff and its continuing growth within the community. He possesses a positive management style, tremendous personnel skills and a broad range of animal knowledge and will be a true asset to our city.”