News Release: Teton Science Schools & the Center for Jackson Hole


Nick Delmolino, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, 307.734.3714

Teton Science Schools will not renew contract with Emerging Leaders Program for 2019

JACKSON, WY – April 19, 2019 – Since 2016, Teton Science Schools (TSS) has been contracted by the Center for Jackson Hole (CJH) to host and facilitate the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) that happens prior to the SHIFT Festival each year. TSS entered the relationship to center and amplify the voices of emerging leaders. In the months since the last program, TSS has thoroughly reviewed the relationship structure with CJH and has concluded that it does not support an inclusive and productive learning environment for participants. TSS will not renew the contract with the Center for Jackson Hole or offer SHIFT programs at our campuses in 2019.

TSS’ goal for the ELP was to provide a space for leaders in the conservation movement to come together, learn from each other, engage with topics central to the SHIFT festival, and form a community that can support and amplify each others’ impact.

Many emerging leaders have and continue to share the trauma inflicted on them by the ELP and the SHIFT conference. In recent weeks, TSS has listened attentively as ELP alumni and former SHIFT employees and board members have shared their experiences, perspectives, and professional recommendations.

Chris Agnew, Executive Director of Teton Science Schools stated, “Inclusion is a core value of TSS and we strive to be learner centered in all of our programs. We apologize for the trauma that was inflicted by the Emerging Leaders Program. TSS is committed to centering and amplifying the voices of leaders of marginalized identities as they address issues of social and environmental justice.”

Microaggressions and identity-based traumas are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. TSS has a deep commitment to managing risk in physical and social landscapes. Identity-based trauma is a programmatic risk that must be appropriately managed and mitigated. While our educational philosophy rests on a foundational value of continuous improvement, TSS prioritizes participant health and wellbeing over institutional growth.

“Individuals and organizations have long been working towards greater inclusion, equity, and justice in conservation, recreation and land management. We are indebted to and grateful for the many who are leading by example, creating voice and access for individuals who hold marginalized identities in these industries,” said Chris Agnew. “Our decision to not renew our contract with the Center for Jackson Hole, comes with a deepened effort in inclusion and equity through peer and professional partnerships.”


About Teton Science Schools

Teton Science Schools (TSS) inspires curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education. For 15,000 learners per year, the place-based approach increases engagement, learning and community impact. Located on four campuses in Jackson Hole, Wyo. and Idaho, TSS programs include two independent schools serving students Pre-K through 12th grade, field education for schools and visitors from around the world and educator development.

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