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KEA hires new leader

Staff Writer | December 31, 2020 1:00 AM

Kootenai Environmental Alliance is finally ending its search for a new executive director, announcing Jordan Richmond's hire Monday morning.

A Florida resident, Richmond will start by working remotely as executive director Jan. 4, then moving to North Idaho later in the month. A former drama teacher at West Port High School in Marion County, Richmond was under investigation in 2016 after teachers and students expressed concerns regarding his relationship with a 16-year-old student.

The investigation came to light after Richmond was briefly hired as the Chief Girl Experience and Outdoor Programming Officer for the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council's children's camp in Alachua County, Florida. Though he has denied the allegations, Richmond was reprimanded by the school district following the 2016 investigation.

Richmond was neither charged nor indicted following the investigation, KEA interim executive director Kari Anderson said, so the four-year-old allegations are of no concern to the organization.

"Through our extensive background check, we have determined that Mr. Richmond meets and exceeds our hiring criteria," she said in a written statement. "Allegations are not proven fact, and Mr. Richmond has no other alleged instances or shown a pattern of the alleged behavior. All his references have all given glowing remarks, and his background check came back clean. We are certain that Mr. Richmond will come to be known as a respected member of our community through his dedication to the KEA mission."

KEA's national search for an executive director began in October, looking for a passionate leader who would build momentum for the organization heading into its 50th anniversary in 2022. Since the departure of former ED Sharon Bosley in 2018 and a failed board shortly after that, Anderson took the reins as interim executive director in July.

Anderson said the KEA hiring team chose Richmond over 47 other applicants for his 25 years of experience in the outdoor industry field, his master's degree in creative studies and change leadership, and involvement in nature-based programming, construction and executive management.

"His background in nonprofit management leadership, certainly his experience in supporting a board of directors is important to KEA," Anderson said. "He also has an extensive background in fundraising and programs development and evaluation, and nonprofit leadership."

Richmond is also president and founder of the nonprofit Basecamp Ventures, involved in the "Leave No Trace" educational program, CEO of Hire Adventure, Outward Bound, and has experience as a nature consultant, wilderness guide and remote first aid instructor.

"To make a significant mark on lake health and quality, we need to raise money so we can do what 88% of our supporters want us to do — help the lake," Anderson said. "With our new board and Jordan coming together, we can start thinking externally and working with volunteers to get back into what KEA stands for, what our stake in the ground is, and moving our mission forward."

Richmond was unable to respond to The Press for comment. However, Anderson said he is looking forward to connecting once he's in the area.