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Spring Butterflies

In this file photo from 2015, Flagstaff Arts & Leadership students, from left to right, Malia Tong, 17, Grace Kennedy, 16, and Jazlee Crowley, 17, paste butterflies onto a mural at their school Tuesday afternoon. The three students won a $1,500 grant from the Plate fundraiser put on by the school to develop the mural, which consists of more than 600 hand-colored butterflies made by the 324 students at the school and their families as well as school staff.

Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun

A member of the governing board at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy will step down in order to fill the position of interim executive director at the school.

According to an email from the FALA Board of Directors, the board chose Eli Cohen to fill the position after interviewing four candidates on March 28. The motion to appoint him passed unanimously and Cohen was accepted.

“Each candidate brought valuable knowledge, skills and experience to the table. However, given the short nature of the position, the board ultimately felt that it was important to find someone who would require minimal onboarding,” the board stated in their email.

According to FALA’s website, Cohen moved to Flagstaff in 2013. He has worked in the insurance, financial services and IT industries for more than 30 years. He currently works as an independent IT consultant, volunteers as an event manager for local events and occasionally acts as a substitute teacher.

According to the email, Cohen recused himself from the selection process because he wanted to be considered for the position. Because FALA board members are not allowed to work at the school and serve on the board at the same time, Cohen will resign on April 2. The board is continuing to look for a permanent replacement for the previous executive director Larry Wallen. Wallen declined a contract with the school for the next school year on March 7 and resigned March 9.

Wallen was hired by FALA in June 2017 after the previous executive director Laura Kelly left the school in order to take care of her mother in Florida. Wallen was working on a plan to get the school on better financial ground and welcome the school's first sixth-grade class in the fall of 2018.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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