A child plays on Bricolage Academy's playground after school on March 26, 2019.

Bricolage Academy board members have narrowed their CEO search to two finalists to replace founder and longtime CEO Josh Densen, who is preparing to leave the Esplanade Avenue school at the end of the month.

Densen announced his intentions to leave the organization in a June letter. He’s moving to global education nonprofit High Resolves. He said he’s been working part-time at High Resolves since July 1 while spending the majority of his time at Bricolage. He founded the school in 2013

Bricolage board member Deb Elam said the CEO search group she’s leading has selected two finalists, Scott Shirey and Troave Profice. Another finalist, Jonas Chartock, withdrew his application, Elam said.

Shirey was the founder and CEO of KIPP Delta Public Schools in Helena, Arkansas. He left in August, according to the Arkansas Times. Under that state’s grading formula, four of the charter group’s five schools received D’s. The other received a C.

Profice worked for the Louisiana Department of Education for 6 years evaluating charter schools and moved on to work at New Orleans College Prep. Both of College Prep’s schools — Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep and Walter L. Cohen College Prep — received F’s in the state Department of Education’s latest round of school assessments. 

“The finalists will each have an opportunity to meet with the full Bricolage (board) and the Bricolage community in public forums on December 2nd and December 5th at Bricolage Academy,” Elam wrote in an email. 

Earlier this month, the board hired an interim CEO, Carolyn Louden, to serve effective Dec. 1 through June 1, 2020. 

In the last year, several New Orleans charter groups, including Einstein Charter Schools, FirstLine Schools and Algiers Charter Schools have hired new CEOs. This year, New Schools for New Orleans launched a fellowship program to address leadership turnover in the city. The group announced its initial class of nine fellows last week. 

Densen said his decision to leave Bricolage was “driven solely by the unique professional opportunity.” Additionally, he said his confidence in the board and staff made it a good time to transition. 

“It has been the great privilege and honor of my professional life to be in service of the Bricolage community.  Bricolage is a special, unique place staffed by loving, brilliant and hard working educators who create a wonderful environment every day,” Densen wrote in an email, adding, “I am thrilled that Bricolage is my son’s school.”

Update: This article was updated after publication to include KIPP Delta’s state ratings from the Arkansas Department of Education. (Nov. 25, 2019)

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...