NCSML President and CEO Gail Naughton to retire in June 2018 after 16 years of service

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Gail Naughton, president and CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library since 2002, has announced her intention to retire in June 2018.  A nationwide search to find a successor to Naughton, only the second president and CEO in the NCSML’s history, will begin in the coming months.

During Naughton’s tenure, participation at the museum has grown by 40 percent, including a notable increase in attendance by families and children. In two major areas of emphasis for Naughton, annual fundraising increased two-fold, and the market value of the museum’s endowment fund moved from $600,000 to $11.5 million.

Under her leadership, the NCSML rose above the flood disaster in 2008, raising more than $28 million to save the original building, moving it to a new foundation three feet above the flood and adding 30,000 square feet. The expanded museum re-opened in July 2012, only four years after the flood, with a crowd of 10,000 people in attendance during the opening weekend.

Naughton said that presiding over the NCSML has been an exceptional experience. “Serving as president and CEO of one of the leading ethnic museums in the United States has been an honor and has provided my family and me with enriching experiences that changed our lives in remarkable ways,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and this is a good time for me and my family and for the museum. We have a great staff and strong board of trustees. The NCSML is very well-positioned for the future.”

Tom DeBoom, chair of the NCSML board of directors, said a search committee will be formed to lead the national search with the advice of a consulting firm.

“Gail has provided extraordinary leadership of the museum for which we are truly grateful,” DeBoom said.  “During Gail’s tenure, the museum has undergone transformational growth in facilities, exhibitions and programming, all of which are serving a stronger mission and vision that have been developed thanks to Gail’s leadership.  We all owe her a debt of gratitude for what she has done for the community.”

Reflecting on her 15 years at the NCSML, Naughton said, “The NCSML is an incredible and exciting place. It is where we celebrate the culture and heritage of Czechs and Slovaks and their contributions to making America a great nation. I believe the dramatic history of the Czechs and Slovaks holds many lessons about the value of freedom and the importance of dignity and respect for all people that are meaningful today. The museum’s vital contributions to our community and our nation promise a bright and relevant future.”

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