National Geographic


National Geographic Education Foundation Board of Governors

Foundation Board     |     Policy Initiative




Gary E. Knell, Chairman

President and Chief Executive Officer, National Geographic Society

Gary Knell is president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, where he oversees the Society’s vast nonprofit activities globally. He also serves as chair of the board of National Geographic Partners, the Society’s for-profit arm that oversees all of National Geographic’s storytelling assets, including television, print and digital, and ancillary operations, which include travel expeditions. A member of the Society’s Board of Trustees since April 2013, Knell also has served on the Board of Governors of the National Geographic Education Foundation since November 2003. Prior to his role at the Society, Knell served as president and CEO of National Public Radio from 2011 to 2013. His career in media spans more than three decades, including 22 years at Sesame Workshop, where he served as president and CEO for 12 years. Prior to Sesame Workshop, Knell was managing director of Manager Media International, a multimedia publishing company based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. He also served as senior vice president at WNET/Channel 13 in New York, was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committees in Washington, D.C., and worked in the California State Legislature and Governor’s Office. Knell is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, and Common Sense Media. He is an adviser to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and to the Military Child Education Coalition. Knell has a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a J.D. from Loyola University of Los Angeles, where he was recently named a Top 50 Alumni.


Patrick F. Noonan, Vice Chairman

Chairman Emeritus, The Conservation Fund

Patrick Noonan is Founder and Chairman Emeritus (since 2003) of The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving America’s natural and historic heritage. Under his leadership, the Fund has pioneered a new approach to conservation based on collaboration, not confrontation. Noonan was also Founder and Chairman of The American Farmland Trust (1980-1997) and President of The Nature Conservancy (1968-1980). Currently, he serves on National Geographic’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Advisors of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. He also serves on the board of Saul Centers, Inc. and is a Trustee Emeritus of Gettysburg College, his alma mater.


Kathleen Schwille, Executive Director (ex officio)

Vice President, Curriculum, National Geographic Society

Kathleen Schwille leads National Geographic’s efforts in the formal education arena, including online and in-person teacher communities, stewardship of the grant-making work of the National Geographic Education Foundation, and oversight of National Geographic’s relationship with its formal education partner, Cengage Learning. She also oversees the Society’s work of aligning all of its products and experiences to a learning framework that teaches the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary for active citizenship in our rapidly changing global society. Kathleen is a certified science teacher, and taught high school chemistry in rural Tanzania with the Peace Corps. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry Education and a master’s degree in Learning Sciences, both from Northwestern University.


Angelo M. Grima, Secretary (non-voting)

Secretary and General Counsel, National Geographic Society

Angelo M. Grima is executive vice president, secretary and general counsel of the National Geographic Society. He is responsible for all legal matters for the Society and serves as secretary to its Board of Trustees. Grima, who joined National Geographic in 1992, has specialized in major corporate transactions, including the joint venture agreements with Fox, various investment agreements, financial instruments and other transactions. He has represented the Society on multiple occasions before the Internal Revenue Service as well as other government agencies. He also has responsibility for corporate governance issues for the Society and its taxable subsidiaries, including incorporations, bylaws, minutes, resolutions and related matters. Prior to joining National Geographic, Grima was in private practice with Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., and Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, handling commercial transactions and litigation. He has a J.D. from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.




Brendan Bechtel

President and Chief Operating Officer, Bechtel

Brendan Bechtel is president and chief operating officer of Bechtel, one of the world’s leading engineering, construction, and project management firms. He is responsible for the management and oversight of Bechtel’s global operations. Bechtel also is a member of the company’s board of directors. Prior to being elected president & COO in 2014, Bechtel was president of the company’s Oil, Gas & Chemicals business unit. Earlier he was general manager of the OG&C LNG business line and senior project manager for the Queensland Curtis LNG project, the first of Bechtel’s four LNG megaprojects in Australia. Together the projects represent more than $25 billion in simultaneous engineering, procurement, and construction work. Bechtel first began working for the company during summer breaks in high school. After joining the company full-time, he took on roles of increasing responsibility, including assignments around the world in field construction, project management, and executive leadership. Bechtel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography from Middlebury College. He also completed dual master’s degrees at Stanford University in business and construction engineering and management. Bechtel is a member of the National Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees.


Jack Dangermond

Founder and President, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)

A landscape architect by training, Jack Dangermond founded Esri in 1969 with a vision that computer mapping and analysis could help us design a better future. Under his leadership, that vision has continued to guide Esri in creating cutting-edge GIS (geographic information systems software) and GeoDesign technologies used in every industry to make a difference worldwide. In 2010, Dangermond received the Patron’s Medal from England’s Royal Geographical Society and the National Geographic Society awarded him the Alexander Graham Bell Medal for extraordinary achievement in geographic research for his contributions to the field of GIS. He fostered the growth of Esri from a small research group to an organization recognized as the world leader in GIS software development. Esri employs 2,700 people in the U.S.; many who shared Dangermond’s passion for GIS in the early days are still with the company and remain dedicated to helping its users be successful.


Marillyn A. Hewson

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Marillyn A. Hewson is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In more than 30 years with the Corporation, she has held a variety of increasingly responsible leadership positions, including President and Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Electronic Systems business area. Hewson serves on the boards of directors of DuPont, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and Catalyst, and is a member of the President’s Export Council. She is Vice Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association, and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Hewson serves on the Board of Governors of the USO, and The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration Board of Visitors. Selected by Fortune magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for the past six years, Hewson was named #4 in 2015. She was named #20 on the Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list in 2015. Hewson earned a B.S. in business administration and an M.A. in economics from The University of Alabama.


Lyle Logan

Executive Vice President, Northern Trust Corporation

Lyle Logan has led the Global Financial Institutions Group since January 2010. From 2005 to 2009, he was the Managing Director, Institutional Sales and Client Servicing for Northern Trust Global Investments, the asset management arm of Northern Trust Corporation. Logan holds a B.A. in Accounting and Economics from Florida A&M University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago.


Julie McGee

Julie McGee is a retired executive with significant management experience in educational publishing in both print and digital formats. Most recently, she served as group President and CEO for six operating units that were part of Harcourt, a division of Reed-Elsevier, and previously held similar positions at McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, and Houghton Mifflin. She has taught in the Stanford University Publishing Program. McGee serves on the boards of Opportunity Charter School and Cathedral High School. She previously served on the board of DeVry Inc. (NYSE) for 18 years and was chair of its compensation committee.


William K. Reilly

Founding Partner, Aqua International Partners; Senior Advisor, TPG Capital, L.P.

William K. Reilly is a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, L.P., an international investment partnership. During his tenure with TPG, he was the Founding Partner of Aqua International Partners (1998-2010), a private equity fund dedicated to investing in companies in the water sector. He served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1989-1993), and is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of World Wildlife Fund. Reilly is a Director of the Packard Foundation, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, Chairman of the Board of the ClimateWorks Foundation and Co-Chairman of the Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Project. In 2010, Reilly was appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, and in 2012 to the Council for Global Development. He holds a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard University and an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


Anthony Williams

CEO, Federal City Council

Tony Williams is a former Mayor of Washington, D.C. (1999-2007). Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal City Council, an organization which serves as a catalyst for progress in the nation’s capital by focusing the creative and administrative talents of Washington’s business and professional leaders on major problems and opportunities facing the city. Williams previously served as the William H. Bloomberg Lecturer in Public Management at the Harvard Kennedy School. During his two terms as Mayor, he is widely credited with leading the comeback of Washington, restoring the city’s finances and improving the performance of government agencies. Before his election as Mayor, he was the independent Chief Financial Officer of the District (1995-1998). In addition to his work on company boards, Williams devotes his attention to educational and environmental issues, serving on the boards of Fight for Children and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, as well as the National Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees. He holds a B.A. from Yale University, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School.


Members Emeriti


Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Emeritus, National Geographic Society and Education Foundation

Martha E. Church

John M. Fahey, Jr.

Charles O. Holliday, Jr.

James C. Kautz

Gerry Lenfest

Floretta Dukes McKenzie

Alex Trebek