- Associated Press - Thursday, July 20, 2017

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - The Latest on the leadership dispute at the New England Center for Circus Arts (all times local):

9 p.m.

The New England Center for Circus Arts has announced that it has elected a new seven-member board of directors and has hired an interim executive director and an operations director following a leadership crisis.

The center says in a statement Thursday that it also has rescinded termination letters sent to the organization’s founders, sisters Elise Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, and has invited coaches who quit their jobs to return.

After the founders were fired last week many staff went on strike and camp sessions were canceled temporarily. The staff demanded that the then-board of trustees resign.

On Wednesday, three board members resigned from the nonprofit and the executive director, who also was a board member, resigned July 14.


11:37 a.m.

The board of trustees of the New England Center for Circus Arts has resigned, following the resignation of the executive director, amid an outcry over the dismissal of the prominent circus school’s founders.

The board said Wednesday night that it was taking this opportunity to step aside so that new leadership can get involved.

The Brattleboro Reformer had reported that classes were canceled after coaches demanded the return of two founders and the resignations of the current board. Classes resumed Wednesday after a local business owner began facilitating discussions between the board and coaches.

The firings of founders and artistic directors Serenity Smith Forchion and Elsie Smith led to an outcry from parents and several staff resignations.

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