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EdTA Advocacy Leadership Network adds seven new state representatives

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

The Educational Theatre Association has selected seven new members to represent their states in the organization’s Advocacy Leadership Network (ALN), an initiative designed to train and empower state adult members in grassroots advocacy efforts on behalf of theatre and other arts education.

Launched in 2017 with the selection of representatives from ten states, the goal of the ALN is to become a sustainable network that monitors and shares national, state and district-based theatre education policies, legislation, and advocacy successes that can be modeled by others. Representatives make a three-year commitment to the project, working to gain new skills and knowledge that they can share with other members in their states. The ALN meets monthly in webinar meetings and convene in-person every spring in the EdTA national office.

Thus far, members have created a customizable advocacy Power Point presentation for presentation at state festivals and are currently working on an advocacy day guide to share with chapters interested in holding their own events. ALN members also played a key role in EdTA’s first national Theatre Education Advocacy Day in July of 2017, holding workshops in which they led discussions about members’ advocacy needs and goals.

The class of 2018 Advocacy Leadership Network representatives are:

Zachery W. Bates, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, Westville, New Jersey

Sharon Fenwald Chadwick, Liberty High School, Las Vegas, Nevada

Tami LoSasso, Lakewood High School, Arvada, Colorado

Lindsay M. Shields, Flushing High School, Queens, New York. 

Christopher Veneris, South Guilford High School, Greensboro, North Carolina

Scott Wilson, East High School, Columbus Ohio

Erick J. Weeks, Pearl High School, Pearl, Mississippi

Updated Members of the Advocacy Leadership Network in 2018

James Palmarini, EdTA director of educational policy said he was pleased by the expansion of ALN membership in 2018. “The goal is for the network to have representatives from every chapter, so we’ve got a ways to go, but having grown to 17 states in two years in very encouraging,” he said. “The concept of the ALN is based on the notion that networking can help resolve common and unique issues impacting theatre education, especially when you have trained and committed advocates.  So, each year, as we add more states, we become stronger and more effective as ALN veterans help to mentor new members.”    

Returning 2017 ALN members and their states are Anthony Cimino-Johnson, Virginia; Michael Daehn, Indiana; Helen Duranleau-Brennan, Iowa; Shannon Horn, South Carolina; Alison Johnson, California; Jennifer Morgan-Beuchat, Kansas; Mallory Nonnemaker,  Georgia; Zachary Schneider, Wyoming; and Teri Turner, Missouri.

The entire network of ALN are currently gearing up for two events: national Arts Advocacy Day March 12-13 in Washington, D.C. and their annual in-person meeting in Cincinnati April 13-15.


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