Creative Discovery Museum (CDM) Board of Directors proudly announces the appointment of Tim Sears as the organization’s new President and CEO. Sears officially joined the team at CDM on November 6,2023, succeeding Henry Schulson who retired in September after 26 years of dedicated service.
Sears comes to CDM after 12 years at Adventure Science Center in Nashville, TN where he began on the development team managing their annual fund and fundraising events. After being promoted and leading the development efforts, Sears became the Director of Operations in 2020, where he oversaw earned income and maintenance operations including admission,membership, guest services, retail and food service, facilities, and safety and security. Prior to his time in Nashville, Sears worked at the Jane Goodall Institute as part of the team managing all direct response fundraising efforts.
“After a deliberate nationwide search, we are thrilled to welcome Tim to Chattanooga andthe CDM team,” said Patrick Stowe, chair of the search committee and former CDM Board Chair. “We believe Tim’s experience, energy, and shared passion for CDM’s mission are a few of the qualities that make him the right person to take on the leadership of this beloved organization.”
The search process was spearheaded by a committee comprised of current and past CDM board members and was facilitated nationally by Nashville-based ThinkingAhead Executive Search, a boutique firm with a leading non-profit practice. ThinkingAhead enabled broad engagement with CDM’s staff and other key partners and supporters to ensure their input in the process.
“CDM is a staple of the Chattanooga community, and it has been a privilege to watch its continued growth and success over the years under Henry Schulson’s leadership,” said current CDM Chair of the Board of Directors, Christie KizerBurbank. “As a board, we are excited for the next chapter of CDM’s legacy and believe Tim is the best fit to lead the dedicated staff and volunteers into this bright future.”
Sears steps into his role at a pivotal moment for CDM, with the organization celebrating significant achievements. Those include the record-breaking$138,000 raised at this year’s AmuseUm fundraiser, the highest-ever membership base of nearly 6,000 member households, and projected record attendance by year-end. These milestones follow the successful Ignite Discovery capital campaign, which secured $12.5 million for comprehensive renovations of the Museum’s nearly 30-year-old building.
“My family and I are so excited to join the CDM team and Chattanooga community,” said Sears. “It is a great honor to follow the rich legacy of Henry Schulson, and I look forward to building upon the Museum’s success and service. Creative Discovery Museum is a jewel in Chattanooga’s vibrant downtown with a talented and passionate team. I’m grateful to work alongside them as well as meet all the donors, members, and community partners that make the Museum a hub for cross-generational learning and fun. We look forward to experiencing the Museum through our daughter’s eyes.”
Sears holds a B.S.in Biology from Emory University and a master’s degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University. He also recently served on the board at the Phoenix Club of Nashville, a nonprofit with the dual mission of benefiting underserved youth in Middle Tennessee and developing members into leaders in their community and in business.