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Executive Director

Kenneth J. Zoll

Ken Zoll retired to Sedona, Arizona after 35 years of Federal service in Chicago and Washington, D.C. with the railroad retirement system. Starting as a claims examiner he was later selected as Assistant to Board Member Charles Chamberlain who was appointed by President Carter and later reappointed by President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. At the time of his retirement he was a member of the Senior Executive Service in the position of Chief Information Officer, responsible for the agency's data center, software development and computer security.

In 1989, he was asked to take a leave of absence to act as Executive Director of the Commission on Railroad Retirement Reform, a Presidential Advisory Commission for President George H.W. Bush. The Final Report was delivered to the Congress and President in September 1990, before the legal deadline and under budget. At a public hearing of the Committee on Ways and Means on the report, the Chairman of the Commission stated that "our Executive Director, Kenneth J. Zoll . . . did a magnificent job."

Ken’s archaeology specialty is ancient Native American astronomy practices. Ken has authored several books, Sinagua Sunwatcher and Understanding the Rock Art of Sedona and the Verde Valley. His latest book entitled Heart of the Sky: Ancient Astronomy Practices in Central Arizona describes his astronomy discoveries over the past eight years. All proceeds from the sale of his books go to Verde Valley Archaeology Center. He also authored a study for the Arizona Archaeological Society entitled A Cultural Astronomy Study of the Casa Malpais National Historic Landmark in Springerville, Arizona. He is currently conducting research with the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University on the use of meteorites among ancient Native American cultures.

Ken is also a researcher into the Billingsley Hopi Dancers. In 1921 the Hopi were told that church people” petitioned Congress to stop their “pagan” dancing. In 1927, a platform was erected on the U.S. Capital steps where both Houses of Congress assembled with their families to see the Hopi dancers. Following the performance, Congress passed a Resolution giving the Hopi permission to carry on their dancing “for all time.” The dancers continued to perform, culminating in performances at Carnegie Hall in 1955. The Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Hopi Tribe jointly received a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve a rare 1957 film of the dancers. This presentation provides background on the history of the Hopi dancers and shows portions of the film. American Epic is a forthcoming three-part historical music documentary of the BBC and PBS. The Billingsley Dancers are presented in Part Three, narrated by Robert Redford, using clips from the restored film.

Ken holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Loyola University of Chicago.