Steven D. Sims has named Kristina Heister as the permanent deputy superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. “I am very honored to welcome Kris as a permanent member of our outstanding team. She is an extremely sharp thinker and will push both parks forward in ways that will be very beneficial to the park and community.” She is currently serving as the acting deputy superintendent and will transition into the position permanently beginning June 7, 2020.
Heister currently serves as the Superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a unit of the National Park Service that extends 73.4 miles along the Delaware River from Hancock, New York to Port Jervis, New York.
Heister is familiar with both park units having recently served as the acting superintendent from mid-April to mid-August, 2019 and then as the acting deputy superintendent beginning this past February, 2020. “I have been fortunate to be able to experience the resources, staff, and community of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. The resource and stories here are compelling and enduring, the staff is incredibly dedicated, and the community is friendly and full of people I respect. I feel truly honored to assist with the protection of sites that are so important to the preservation of the United States, telling the American story, and that are loved and treasured by the American people” said Heister.
She began her National Park Service career as a biologist at Valley Forge National Historical Park (NHP) in Pennsylvania. Since then she has served in a variety of natural resource management positions in parks and regions throughout the country, including Appomattox Court House NHP. In her next NPS post, she spent six years with the inventory and monitoring program working collaboratively to design a long-term monitoring program for parks in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. In 2006, she returned to Valley Forge NHP as the chief of natural resources where she led an interdisciplinary effort to develop a highly controversial White-tailed Deer Management Plan and created a complex network of partnerships that integrated work with local non-profit organizations, youth programs, volunteerism, teachers, and students. Heister also served as the Chief of Natural Resources for the Northeast Region between 2012 and 2014, where she led a multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts to promote science-based management in parks and increased park involvement in decision-making.
Heister graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in biology from Salisbury State University and received her Master of Science in wildlife and fisheries science in 1995 from The Pennsylvania State University.