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Zoo Expert Joins Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium As Director Of Education

Tom Naiman is joining the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk as the new director of education.
Tom Naiman is joining the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk as the new director of education. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. - Tom Naiman is joining the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk as the new director of education after bringing educational innovation to the Bronx Zoo for 16 years.

Naiman takes over an active department that presents marine education to 140,000 students a year, from preschoolers to college students. Programs are conducted during field trips in The Maritime Aquarium’s classroom, in schools through the Aquarium’s Traveling Teacher offerings, at beaches for coastal explorations and out on Long Island Sound aboard the aquarium’s research vessel.

Naiman comes onboard just a few months before the Maritime Aquarium receives one of the biggest educational assets in its 25-plus years: a new state-of-the-art research vessel. Named the R/V Spirit of the Sound, the privately funded $2.7 million floating classroom will be the world’s first research vessel with a hybrid-electric propulsion system. The 65-foot catamaran will hold twice as many students as the aquarium’s current boat.

Most of Naiman’s career has been with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, where he served in a variety of roles, including director of curriculum development and international education. He managed instructional staff, and was responsible for the content, quality and evaluation of programs for schools and the public.

He led the professional development program, which trained more than 2,000 teachers and environmental educators a year, both locally and internationally, including in four Chinese provinces and 19 other countries.

While with the Bronx Zoo, he also was instrumental in establishing the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, which is a new public school in the Bronx, and worked closely with the zoo’s development office in securing grants totaling more than $1 million.

He has served as North American representative and vice president of the International Zoo Educators Association.

Naiman has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s from SUNY-Stony Brook.

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