Arkansas Arts Academy to Employ Search Firm

April 20, 2020

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: The Arkansas Arts Academy will use a search firm to help locate its next chief executive officer.

Tony Beardsley, a member of the school's board of directors, told the board last week he reached out to about 10 search firms and received proposals from three of them. He and school administrators vetted the proposals and decided the firm they liked the most was Arts Consulting Group, based in Boston, he said. "We didn't want to just choose a regular search firm, because most won't have the art focus or the background in looking for arts-based people," Beardsley said.

The school's curriculum incorporates visual and performing arts. The K-12 open-enrollment charter school has about 1,122 students on two campuses. Open-enrollment charter schools are public schools and can accept students from anywhere in the state.

The search firm's services will cost the school about $50,000, but an anonymous donor is picking up the cost, Beardsley said Monday. Arts Consulting Group conducted the search that resulted in Lieven Bertels being hired in 2017 as the first director of the Momentary, a Bentonville arts venue, which opened in February.

The firm will be sending board members a survey seeking their input on what characteristics they want in their next chief executive, Beardsley said.

Mary Ley, who's led the school since 2014, informed the board last month she intends to retire at the end of June. The Arts Consulting Group said it expects the search to take four to five months. Ley has agreed to stay a little longer until the search is completed, Beardsley said.

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