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Nominating committee approves nine candidates

March 19, 2014


The Educational Theatre Association Nominating Committee has approved a slate of nine candidates seeking three seats on the Board of Directors as well as the office of vice president/president in July’s election.

“It is inspiring to have such a strong pool of candidates,” said Executive Director Julie Woffington. “Having this caliber of talent and leadership experience in our membership and on our Board means great things for the future of the Association.”

Members will select three candidates for three-year terms on the Board of Directors. The top vote getter will join the board August 1, 2014, in a new seat provided through a 2011 code revision. The other new Board members will take office on August 1, 2015. The Board Vice President position is a four year term: two years as Vice President, two as President, and followed by a two-year commitment as chair of the Nominating Committee.

The Nominating Committee consists of Board Past President Gloria McIntyre, chair; President Jay Seller, as an ex officio member; Vice President Frank Pruet; Executive Director Julie Woffington and Director of Chapters and Communities Diane Carr, both non-voting members; State Chapter Directors Denise Ferguson of Arizona and Michelle Moss of Arkansas; and members at large Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson of Poulsbo, Washington and Laurilea M. Williams of Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

The candidates:

Vice President/President

  Debbie Corbin is a former state chapter director for the Missouri Thespians and has served on the board of the Missouri Thespians. She has taught theatre at Branson High School for twenty-six years and is currently a member of the EdTA Board of Directors. Her Board term ends next August.
  Leslie Van Leishout is a former Washington state co-state chapter director and a member of the theatre writing team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). She taught high school theatre for more than twenty years in California, Utah, and Washington state. She is currently the theatre education coordinator at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Board Director

  Krista Carson Elhai has served on the board of the California Thespians for twenty-one years. A state chapter director for the past eleven years, she spearheaded a $3 million renovation of the Claremont High School theatre.
  John Friedenberg is the director of theatre at Wake Forest University and managing director at Three Rivers Shakespeare at the University of Pittsburgh. He has served on the board of the North Carolina Thespians. He is also one of the founders of the Thespian Festival Tech Challenge.
  Molly Grasso serves on the board of the Nebraska Thespians. The former state chapter director for Nebraska, she is a former member of the Mayor’s Art Council of Papillion and was formerly on the Papillion-La Vista Community Theatre Board of Directors.
  Marydell Merrill is currently the state chapter director of Connecticut. She has been part of EdTA’s Nominating Committee, has screened performances for the Thespian Festival, and assisted with adjudication of Individual Events as well as the IE rubric revisions. She received the Administrators Arts Advocacy Award for the state of Connecticut.
  Linda Phillips is the state chapter director for Arizona Thespians. She helped develop the Arizona state theatre standards and is part of the state review team for the NCCAS.
  Ben Stuart serves on the board of the Washington State Thespians and created the state’s first ever Junior Thespian Festival. He is currently focused on the growing the state’s Junior Festival and increasing EdTA membership in his state.
  Scott Walker has run Milwaukie High School’s theatre program for twenty-two years. He has served as the state chapter director in Oregon and helped establish Milwaukie Academy of the Arts, a public charter school hosted by Milwaukie High School.

As provided in the EdTA Code of Regulations, any member may declare their candidacy for a seat on the Board and petition to be included on the ballot. A valid ballot petition must be signed by fifteen voting members from each of three different state chapters. Get the ballot petition form and instructions. The submission deadline for ballot petitions for the July election is May 12.

Vitae for all of the candidates will be posted here after the ballot petition deadline. Electronic voting will begin in late June, and members will be able to vote by paper ballot during the membership meeting at the EdTA National Conference in Cincinnati, July 24-27.