Land Trust announces leadership transition

The board and staff will be guiding the organization through its transition to new leadership.

On Oct. 18, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust announced the departure of its executive director, Kate Riley, who had served in the position since May of 2021.

A statement emailed to Land Trust supporters said that Riley had made important contributions to the organization and its mission during her tenure.

“We are grateful for her efforts, and she will be missed,” the statement said. “Her outreach to the Latinx community and to island organizations helped us to better understand our role in the community. She emphasized equity, climate resilience, and land access in our work. We wish Kate the best in her future endeavors.”

In her position, Riley succeeded Tom Dean, who had served as VMILT’s executive director since 2003.

As part of the Land Trust’s management change at that time, Dean was named to the new position of conservation director, a position he still holds, overseeing the Land Trust’s core mission of land acquisition and preservation. Under Dean’s tenure, VMILT has preserved 1,750 acres of forest, watershed and shoreline and opened public access to much of these areas with a network of trails.

According to Sara Van Fleet, VMILT’s board president, the board and staff will be guiding the organization through its transition to new leadership.

“The Land Trust is strong and in good hands, with the board’s executive committee working closely with our staff to assure a smooth transition as we put together a search for a new executive director,” Van Fleet said in a statement co-written with the organization’s staff and executive committee.

“There are exciting projects moving forward, including an acquisition and restoration project in a new watershed, and growing fall and winter greens at Matsuda for our growing farm-to-school partnership.”