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ROGERS -- The Arkansas Arts Academy didn't have to look far to find its new chief financial officer.

The charter school's board agreed Tuesday to hire Nathalie Brunell for the position, according to Mary Ley, chief executive officer.

School history

Benton County School of the Arts was founded as a kindergarten- through eighth-grade charter school in 2001. The Northwest Arkansas Academy of Fine Arts was launched as a high school in 2007. The two schools merged in 2009 taking the Benton County School of the Arts name. The school was renamed Arkansas Arts Academy on July 1, 2014.

Source: Staff report

Brunell has worked for the Bentonville School District since 2010, serving first as director of accounting and auditing before being promoted to finance director last year.

Brunell announced in October she intended to resign from the district to devote more time to her family. She agreed to stay with the district through February to help with the transition in the finance director's office. Janet Schwanhausser, formerly director of federal programs, was chosen last month as the district's new finance director.

Wednesday was Brunell's first day on her new job, Ley said. Brunell didn't return a message seeking comment.

Michael Poore, Bentonville's superintendent, said he wasn't surprised by Brunell's move. The Arts Academy job won't require as much time as the Bentonville job did, leaving her more time for family, Poore said.

"In my eyes it's kind of a win-win, in that (Brunell) is able to move forward with one of her objectives, and Arkansas Arts Academy is picking up a really strong accountant and finance director," he said.

The academy serves about 770 students in grades kindergarten through 12. The Bentonville School District has more than 16,000 students.

Brunell was earning $112,172 per year as the district's finance director. She will make $66,463 in her new job, Ley said.

Poore said he expects Brunell will honor her commitment to continue working for the district, at least until February.

"We have some things we'd definitely like her to achieve and help with," Poore said.

One example is the Bentonville School Board's work session Jan. 21. The annual audit of the district will be presented at that meeting, something Brunell has overseen, Poore said.

Ley and Brunell are familiar with each other. They worked together in the Bentonville district for three years while Ley was the district's director of communications.

The academy appears poised to pluck another Bentonville administrator for its staff. The board has offered its elementary school principal's job to Matt Young, who has been on medical leave since last year, but had been principal of Cooper Elementary School since 2010. He was principal of R.E. Baker Elementary School for three years before that.

Young intends to submit his resignation to the Bentonville School Board and sign a contract with the academy next week, according to Ley.

"I'm thrilled and can't believe how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful principal," Ley said. "He's done unique things and innovative things. I'm looking forward to working with him."

Inger Kent, the elementary school's former principal, resigned last month because her husband accepted a job outside the area, Ley said.

Young said Wednesday he preferred not to comment on the academy job until after he signs a contract.

Source: www.nwaonline.com

NW News on 01/14/2016