NEXT BOARD MEETING: August 16, 2017 5:00PM RM 4 – Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy – 3401 N. Ft. Valley Rd. Flagstaff, Arizona
During the school year (August through May) FALA’s Board of Trustees meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:00PM p.m. on the FALA campus in room 4. Meetings are open to the public. Meeting agendas and monthly financial reports are posted 24 hours before the meetings in the News section on the homepage.
You can read a copy of our 2016 Annual Financial Review here. Use drop down menu to navigate to Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.
Laura R. Umphrey, Ph.D. | President
Laura joined the faculty in the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University in 2002. At NAU, Laura teaches a variety of courses including public speaking, research methods, interviewing, capstone, persuasion and group communication. She is currently the Course Director for the NAU Public Speaking courses. Current lines of her research include grief, suicide prevention and communication skill outcomes. Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs (French) and a Master’s of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Maine. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Communication with a minor in Public Health. She joined the FALA Board of Directors in November 2016.
Judy Jordan | Vice President
Judy is a FALA parent who joined the Board of Directors in November, 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science in Special Education, with a minor in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University in 1991. Prior to becoming a parent, she spent 11 years as a Special Education and Gifted and Talented teacher in Illinois. She has vast experience working with students across a variety of disabilities and characteristics, as well as from differing backgrounds. While teaching, she also worked on curriculum development and implementation, team building, community outreach and parent advocacy. She served as a building representative for the Illinois Education Association teacher’s union for 6 years. Since becoming a parent, Judy has continued to enrich her educational passions through volunteer and advocacy work. Her years in the classroom solidified her passion for meaningful and innovative education, and it was because of this that she was drawn to FALA’s mission.
Eli Cohen | Board Treasurer
Eli Cohen was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, in a family steeped in social and communal service traditions. After living in Toronto and New York City, Eli arrived in Flagstaff in early 2013.
Following the completion of a B.Sc. in Actuarial Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, Eli has worked in the Insurance, Financial Services, and IT industries for over 30 years. During his career he has learned the value of administrative oversight and process, coordinated planning, and financial management. Eli currently works primarily as an independent IT consultant, supplementing his professional endeavors with work as a volunteer manager for local festivals and as an occasional substitute teacher.
On a communal level, Eli has been a volunteer and participant in one form or another since his early teens. Upon reaching Flagstaff he made the decision to lend his skills to a variety of local non-profit organizations and campaigns spanning the fields of civic engagement, social justice, environmental sustainability, the arts, education, and healthcare.
It is Eli’s belief that both personal and shared community are strengthened by the participation and inclusion of all a community’s members. He is proud to help grow that vision here in his new home.
Heather Pierce | Board Secretary
Heather began her 15+ year career in marketing and communications in the non-profit sector, later moving into health care. Currently as a Marketing Manager for Aetna, she develops marketing strategies to build awareness of community-based health care plan products. Over her career, Heather has been involved in rebranding initiatives, bringing new products to market and helping businesses grow. She is also a seasoned writer having owned a small marketing and freelance copywriting firm for six years and continues to freelance and write for Aetna.
Heather achieved an Art History degree from Arizona State University in 2000. She has volunteered in the arts and other non-profits for 25+ years. Joining this Board is a pinnacle for Heather as she has renewed her commitment to the arts and education. She joined the FALA Board of Directors in November 2016.
Scott Perelstein | Board Member
Scott has worked in facilities at NAU since 2009. Currently as the Director of Operations for maintenance, he leads the trades, grounds, custodial, and fleet operations. Scott has a BS in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell University. He relies on lessons gained through extra-curricular and study abroad programs while in college. His career has often been at the intersection of college achievement and vocational expertise.
Over 20 years of living in Flagstaff, Scott has become a raving fan of the community and what it has to offer. He graduated from the Flagstaff Leadership Program in 2008 and has extensive board experience serving Flagstaff. He is past chair and steering committee member of the Environmental Caucus at NAU working to operate campus in a more sustainable way. Scott loves to participate in organizations that shape and enrich the Flagstaff community.
Sharon Gorman, Ed.D. | Board Member
Sharon is a Senior Instructional Designer for NAU’s e-Learning Center and brings a wide range of experiences in course and curriculum design, assessment, pedagogy, and educational technology. In 2014, she completed a doctorate in education where she explored how female and ethnically diverse students navigated their engineering discipline. She is the associate editor for the book, “A Language of Freedom and Teacher’s Authority: Case Comparisons from Turkey and the United States” published in May 2017. This collaborative book project explores the changing authority of teachers as a result of economic and political pressures both here and in Turkey. Sharon currently serves as the Co-Chair for the Commission of the Status of Women at NAU and leads efforts to promote and advocate for gender equity, parity, and inclusivity at the university. In addition, she is a part-time faculty member for NAU’s Educational Leadership and Foundations program. She teaches graduate-level online courses including Philosophy of Education, Cultural Foundations of Education, and Educational Sociology. Sharon joined the Board of Directors in May 2017. As a FALA board member and a critical educator, she aims to be a balanced voice on the Board. She is vested in FALA’s present and future as a FALA Parent but most importantly as an educator.
On a personal side, Sharon feels truly blessed to reside in outdoorsy Flagstaff with her family—spouse, two daughters, dog, cat, and bees. Last year, she began taking ballet and jazz dance as an adult novice and is a walking billboard for “it’s never too late” to learn. She loves how dance connects to the whole self and bridges across spiritual, emotional, physical, and artistic dimensions. She also has a background in art and music. She lives by the personal motto: “Art, creativity, and stewardship make life worth living.”