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Announcing 2021 Educational Theatre Association Award Recipients

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

Each year, the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) honors the achievements of individuals and theatre programs with special awards presented in recognition of notable accomplishments. This year’s list of recipients includes the following: 

The Educational Theatre Association Administrator’s Award recognizes outstanding school administrators who have demonstrated exemplary support for educational theatre and is awarded to Nate Fancher of Saint Cloud High School in Saint Cloud, Fla., and Britt Adams of Northwest Whittfield High School in Tunnel Hill, Ga. As principals, both Fancher and Adams find ways to support the arts through accessibility, promotion, and visibility (even through cameo appearances onstage), and financial support – ensuring no child is left out due to participation fees.   

The Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame Award is presented annually to up to five EdTA members who have dedicated 20 or more years to promoting educational theatre. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are Valerie Gargus of Northern Burlington County Regional High School in Mount Laurel, N.J.; Jo Strom Lane of Roosevelt High School in Portland, Ore.; and Jana Whitlock Heyl of McDonough High School in Promfret, Md. Combined, these outstanding teachers have over 85 years of experience in theatre arts classrooms, and all have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure that their time-honored traditions were kept alive and well. 

The Educational Theatre Association Outstanding School Award is given to high schools with theatre programs that exemplify and promote high standards in educational theatre. This year’s honored schools are McDonough High School in Pomfret, Md., and Ashland High School in Ashland, Ore. Both programs are notable in the ways they actively seek out opportunities for all students to participate in the theatre arts, whether through cross-curricular learning with other subjects or by removing barriers to improve accessibility for those who which be involved in or attend a theatre production.  

The International Thespian Society Inspirational Theatre Educator Award recognizes individuals who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing quality theatre education. The 2021 recipients are Roshunda Jones of George Washington Carver High School in Houston, Texas, and Nicole Morgan of Montgomery High School in Montgomery, Texas.  

The TIOS Outstanding Impact Award recognizes schools who have made an impact in their community. The 2021 first-place winner is Pennsbury High School, Troupe 830, led by troupe director Matt South. The second-place winner is Valley View High School, Troupe 4735, under the direction of Jeanine Lopez. Both schools went above and beyond in displaying the importance of theatre schools to their fellow students, school boards, local and regional elected officials, and their communities at large, and were especially creative in their use of technology and media, rising to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in innovative ways.

Jones and Holly Stanfield of Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis., were previously announced as the recipients of the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award presented in partnership with The ASCAP Foundation to recognize the highest level of achievement for teaching musical theatre. Each received a $5,000 cash prize.  

“We’re thrilled to recognize these award winners for their contributions to theatre education,” said EdTA executive director Julie Cohen Theobald. “Their accomplishments show the many ways that school theatre shapes lives.” 


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