Salisbury – Mayor Jake Day is pleased to announce that Leonora Dillon has been named Director of the Salisbury Zoo. Dillon has led the Zoo as Acting Director since the Departure of Former Director, Ralph Piland in February of this year. Dillon was one of a half-dozen applicants from across the country who interviewed for the position.
“Leonora has been one of this Zoo’s greatest assets for years,” said Mayor Day. “I have the utmost faith in her as an educator, as an ombudsman, and as a leader. I am certain that she is the person to bring Salisbury’s crown jewel into its next chapter.”
A native of South Carolina, Dillon’s career as an educator led her to Delmarva in 2007, when she took on community outreach for the Chesapeake Girl Scout Council. In 2008, she decided to return to her first love: education. She was hired as the Zoo’s Education Curator – a position she held until her appointment as Interim Director. Leonora also taught art to children in grades K through 6, and coordinated family and community programs, as well as managing education programs for the EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, SC.
Ben Baker, Deputy Director of Service, Field Operations said, “The Zoo has been a popular attraction for generations and has served our citizens as well as communities from all over. Positive experiences through the enjoyment of the animals, scenery, and educational opportunities will always be something we will strive to provide. We are excited to share this announcement, as we have the utmost confidence in Leonora’s leadership skills, passion and vision. With this, we will be able to continue to be an exceptional zoo and offer wonderful experiences today and for years to come.”
Mayor Day added, “Leonora’s appointment comes in the midst of a global health crisis which forced us to temporarily close the Zoo to visitors. Once we are able to open the gates again, I look forward to officially congratulating Leonora with a formal ceremony. The Salisbury Zoo is our gem. It is Wicomico County’s greatest attraction, and it is an asset which we must protect and preserve for the next generation. In Leonora Dillon, we have the ideal Zoo Director for this facility, and I’m excited to see what the future holds with her at the helm.”