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Peter M. Leenhouts resigns as Executive Director of the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding

Board President David Blessing and Executive Director Peter M. Leenhouts in front of the Chamberlin-36 motor sailor.
Board President David Blessing and Executive Director Peter M. Leenhouts in front of the Chamberlin-36 motor sailor.

Port Hadlock, WA, July 3rd, 2014 –
The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding (NWSWB) announced today that Peter M. Leenhouts has officially resigned from his two-year post as Executive Director.

In his statement to the NWSWB Board of Directors, Leenhouts explained his future plans, saying that he was proud that he successfully led the School through a period of growth while returning the School to financial viability, and that he was departing to prepare for his Presidency of the East Jefferson Rotary Club in 2015.

“I’ve worked hard over these years to bring the Boat School into the strongest position for the future,” Leenhouts said. “We have faced some significant challenges, but the growth and development of the School has been outstanding. It’s been an honor to lead and to contribute my talents to an educational institution that I care about so deeply.”

During Leenhouts’ time as Executive Director he led the School through a successful Renewal of Accreditation inspection, doubled enrollment, significantly enhanced graduation and employment percentages for alumni, improved instructor training opportunities, increased the School’s national and international visibility and worked hard to ensure that the majority of boats under the school’s construction are commissioned.

Leenhouts is particularly proud of his accomplishments in developing an aggressive program to enhance the School’s compliance with accreditation standards. These efforts were rewarded during the 2013 Renewal of Accreditation when inspectors confirmed that survey results of students and staff were among the highest they had ever seen.

Leenhouts obtained and managed a highly visible three-boat commission from the British Broadcasting Corporation, boats used to recreate famed explorer John Wesley Powell’s exploration and descent of the Colorado River in 1869. This project was supported on camera by one of the School’s instructors and provided international visibility for the school. Another significant commission for the School was the Carl Chamberlin 36-foot motor sailor, a three-year project by a well-known local designer.

David Blessing, President of the NWSWB Board of Directors, stated, “We appreciate Pete’s service to the school. His strong commitment has helped put the School on a firm path for the future.”

The Board of Directors at the School is currently seeking candidates to fill Leenhouts’ position after his departure. In the interim period, Board President David Blessing has stepped in to serve as Interim Executive Director until a suitable replacement can be found.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is an accredited, private nonprofit vocational school whose mission for 33 years has been to teach and preserve traditional and contemporary wooden boatbuilding skills while developing the individual as a craftsman.

For more information, contact:

David Blessing, President, NWSWB Board of Directors

NOTE: Pete is a retired career U.S. Navy Officer. After he retired, he returned to attend all three boat building courses at the School, one after the other – Contemporary first, then Traditional Small Craft, and finally Traditional Large Craft.

Pete wrote dozens of stories and news articles about the School, took tens of thousands of pictures of our students, staff and boats, served on the Board of Directors, and in the spring of 2012 was hired as Director.

If it involved the School, boatbuilding, marine history, woodworking, old tools, marine photography, books and/or magazines or even tall tales or sea stories about these interests, he was your man. Pete is a long-time woodworker who enjoys boat building in his home shop where he has a Bolger Clam Skiff under construction.