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New Principal, New Status, Come To A3 Following Scandal

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Brian Bull
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KLCC

The Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield has a new principal, and will also lose its charter status later this month.

Ame Beard succeeds Mike Fisher, who was caught in a sexual abuse scandal and killed himself earlier this year.

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Credit LinkedIn.com
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Ame Beard, A3's new principal who'll start in July.

Beard starts July 1st. She says she’ll listen to students, staff, and families, as they heal from the incident…and as A3 becomes an alternative school under the jurisdiction of the Springfield School District.

“Helping people to understand what that change will look like, and then help them through managing that change," she tells KLCC.

"Also engage in excellent communication, so everyone knows what’s going on and being as transparent as possible.”

Principal Beard says she doesn’t expect any great changes to A3 after it loses its charter status.  She says she’s looking forward to deepening community partnerships, like with the neighboring Wildish Theater.

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
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KLCC
Former A3 student, Ezra Brothers.

Ezra Brothers is an A3 alum who graduated in 2015. He’s still coping with the recent events, and the school’s transition.

“I think this is the best possible route, with the time that they gave," says Brothers.

"On the other hand, they should have given at least a year to think about it. Because no one was allowed to heal, and no one was allowed to think rationally.”

The Springfield School District and board will have oversight over A3. Many students, parents, and alumni are concerned over the change.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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