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EdTA Awards 2018 National Conference Grants

The Educational Theatre Association has awarded four members with the EdTA National Conference Grant for Theatre Educators in support of professional development. This grant was developed to: assist EdTA members in reaching a higher level of professional achievement by participating in EdTA’s National Conference; assist EdTA members with the cost of professional development and create access to valuable continuing education and networking opportunities; and enhance the knowledge and skills of experienced theatre educators so that they can better contribute to their school, students, and the profession. The following members were awarded the 2018 grant:

  • Stephen French is a theatre teacher at W.P Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama and Director of Thespian Troupe 8445. French said attending EdTA Conference “would continue to help me to grow as an innovative educator by giving me tools to continue to hone my professional skills into the skills of an effective theatre educator.”
  • Casey McCord is the English teacher and director of Thespian Troupe 880 at Lansing High School in Lansing, Kansas. When asked about the benefits of attending EdTA Conference McCord said, “My students know me as a lifelong learner. I pride myself on this, and they recognize that I will always have something new to share with them. I would be able to bring back a wealth of knowledge to my students.”

In addition to the grants for theatre educators, The Educational Theatre Association has awarded two pre-professional members with the EdTA National Conference Grant:

  • Emma Leary is a rising senior at Ball State University majoring in theatre education and English studies. Leary said, “Attending EdTA National Conference would allow me to continue to grow as a theatre educator outside of my coursework. I would love the opportunity to meet and learn from more professionals in the field of theatre education.”
  • Jason Wylie is pursuing a theatre degree at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. He is also a member of the New Jersey Thespian board as the State Thespian Officer (STO) and alumni coordinator. Wylie looks forward to attending EdTA Conference as an opportunity for new experiences outside of his curriculum. “As a future professional, I’m always looking for opportunities to expand my horizons.”

This year, four additional EdTA National Conference Grants were offered, sponsored by BookTix. Showcasing their commitment to theatre educators, BookTix supported grants covering EdTA National Conference registration for the following members:

  • Amy Stengel is a theatre teacher and director of Thespian Troupe 8450 at The Advanced Learning Academy in San Antonio, Texas. She looks forward to attending EdTA Conference because “There is a creative power and energy in being connected to other people who are active in your profession.”
  • Kathryn Geckle is the campus minister and director of the theatre program at the new Mercy McAuley High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, home to Thespian Troupe 858. She looks forward to developing a network of resources at EdTA Conference this year. She said, “I firmly believe that good theatre lies in our ability to collaborate, and it is my hope that this is one of the many fruits that will come from my Conference experience.”
  • Juan Espinosa is a veteran theatre teacher and currently serves as the theatre magnet instructor and director of Thespian Troupe 3637 at South Dade High School in Homestead, Florida. As an experienced teacher, Espinosa said he sees EdTA Conference as an opportunity to “share ideas with other theatre teachers and learn how other teachers run their theatre programs.”
  • Matthew Ringrose is a theatre teacher and director of Thespian Troupe 7993 at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is the current director and co-creator of the North Carolina Thespian Filmworks program as well as one of the directors and co-creators of the national Thespian Filmworks program. Ringrose said attending Conference will help fulfill his professional goal to “improve and increase my leadership in the education field. I want to focus on arts advocacy as well as learning to be a better advocate for my students.”


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