The Perpich Center for Arts Education will soon have a new leader to guide the state agency after Gov. Mark Dayton approved funding to save the center.

Curt L. Tryggestad, superintendent of Eden Prairie schools, was named the agency’s new executive director Wednesday.

Tryggestad has served as the Eden Prairie superintendent for five years.

He was one of two finalists for the position. Mary Bussman, an equity consultant for Equity Alliance MN, was also a finalist.

Perpich’s new leadership would come after some legislators planned to scrap its high school and its middle school after a scathing audit found that both schools lacked oversight and were experiencing a decline in enrollment.

Dayton said he wanted to give the agency time to address the audit’s findings. The Legislature agreed to intervene and save the high school but not the agency’s Woodbury middle school, Crosswinds Arts and Science School. Instead, the St. Paul school board has offered to take on the middle school for at least a year.

With a new executive director, Perpich leaders hope the agency will be rejuvenated.

“The board members have been working nonstop, and the Legislature and the governor’s office are supporting our work,” Perpich Board Chairman Benjamin Vander Kooi said in a statement. “Next is working with the new [executive director] to create a strategic plan that will carry us forward to even greater success.”

To boost enrollment, officials at the high school expanded the application deadline for new students. The high school will continue to accept applications through Aug. 1.