Lisa New

Knoxville Zoo’s board of directors has chosen Lisa New to be the zoo’s executive director. Ms. New has served as interim executive director of Knoxville Zoo since January 1st, 2013, following the retirement of longtime zoo director Jim Vlna. After an extensive national search, Knoxville Zoo’s board of directors has appointed Ms. New as the fifth executive director in the zoo’s 65-year history. Prior to becoming interim executive director, Ms. New was the zoo’s Senior Director of Animal Collections and Conservation. A graduate of The University of Tennessee with a Master of Science in ethology (animal behavior), Ms. New joined Knoxville Zoo’s Conservation Science staff in 1990, and was promoted to director of animal collections in 2000. Ms. New has served as vice-chair of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan since 2001 and vice-chair of the AZA Gorilla Species Survival Plan since 2006. She has also been a steering committee member of the AZA Ape Taxon Advisory Group since 2008 and an AZA Accreditation Inspector since 2011.

“Ms. New is also a member of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2013. Lisa brings the right leadership to Knoxville Zoo at this stage of its life,” says Tim Williams, chairman of Knoxville Zoo’s board of directors. “She offers a perspective and passion that promises to inspire a new era of community involvement and be the driving force behind the zoo’s next phase of growth, improvement and evolution.”

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to magnify the impact Knoxville Zoo has in our community. My passion for wild animals and wild places inspires me to create the best experience we possibly can imagine for our visitors and hopefully spark a meaningful connection to the natural world. I have a strong team, a supportive and dynamic board of directors and I am looking forward to what we will accomplish,” says Lisa New, executive director of Knoxville Zoo.

Knoxville Zoo is Knoxville’s largest year-round attraction. Located off exit 392 from Interstate 40, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. Knoxville Zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865.637.5331 ext. 300 or visit


Source: Knoxville Zoo