Brad Bennett has been selected as superintendent of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Georgia and Tennessee, effective June 1. Mr. Bennett has served as superintendent of Andersonville National Historic Site since July 2009.
“We are very pleased to have Brad shoulder the responsibility of superintendent at this historic park,” said Regional Director Stan Austin. “He has been a great steward of Andersonville and has built great partnerships and coalitions there to help preserve the park and tell its story to the public. We know he will carry that practice forward with outreach to the communities of Chickamauga and Chattanooga.
At Andersonville, Mr. Bennett improved the long-term preservation of historic resources by leading a work group of subject matter experts to update National Park Service policy for national cemetery operations. He also represented the NPS on the Department of Veterans Affairs Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials.
During Mr. Bennett’s tenure at Andersonville, the park’s interpretation and education program incorporated new scholarship, updated curriculum and publications, trained local high school students to participate in living history events, and successfully engaged area civil rights organizations.
The park also developed new opportunities for the public to appreciate Andersonville’s stories of courage and sacrifice by collaborating with several organizations, including the Friends of Andersonville and the American Ex-Prisoners of War, to raise more than $250,000 to fund a traveling exhibit about the hardships and legacy of POWs.
These efforts earned him Southeast Region’s 2012 Freeman Tilden Award for excellence in interpretation and Southeast Region’s 2013 Keeper of the Light Award for excellence in educational outreach.
Mr. Bennett started his NPS career in 1991 as a Student Conservation Association volunteer at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. During his tenure there he served as a seasonal interpreter, visitor use assistant, park guide, park ranger, and interpretive specialist. His career progression there led him to become the first manager of the $25 million orientation and transportation complex on the canyon’s South Rim, which opened in 2000.
During a subsequent assignment at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, Mr. Bennett worked with planning and development teams on several interpretive media projects across the National Park System, including Manassas National Battlefield Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.
Mr. Bennett held a series of NPS positions in Alaska, beginning with a 2002 detail as a management assistant in the remote Western Arctic National Parklands, based in Kotzebue. He went on to serve as superintendent of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, as manager of the interagency Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage, and as Alaska Region’s chief of interpretation and education.
Mr. Bennett grew up on the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and met his wife, Emma-Gray, at the University of Southern California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing.
Prior to securing his first permanent position with NPS, Mr. Bennett worked as a paralegal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and as the volunteer coordinator for the Mountains Education Program, a non-profit organization that introduced Los Angeles children to their first outdoor experiences in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“I look forward to working with the park staff, volunteers, and partner organizations who collectively care for Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park,” Mr. Bennett said. “Together, we will invite more Americans to experience its inspirational values and preserve its significant history for future generations.”
Mr. and Mrs. Bennett and their three children – a 17-year-old daughter and 16-year-old twin sons – will move to their new home in early June.