LANDER, Wyo. John Gans announced his plan Wednesday to retire at the end of 2019.
The group, also known as NOLS, has been around for 53 years and he is the fifth president in its history.
In 2012, he was named "White House Champion for Change" for his "commitment to youth, wilderness, and leadership."
The Lander-based non-profit wilderness school now has 16 campuses around the world and served over 28,000 students last year.
Gans started his journey as a student in 1979 and says he feels ready to retire because of where the school is at now.
"We had a very successful year. I always wanted to hand off the reigns to another person at a time when we were in a great place... So the school is in a really strong position and ready for a new leader to take on the next chapter." Said Gans.
Gans says he plans on staying until his replacement is found, which will be a worldwide search.