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EdTA Nominating Committee Selects 11 Board Candidates

The Educational Theatre Association Nominating Committee has selected 11 candidates to compete for three national board seats. They have endorsed three candidates for the vice president/president position and eight candidates for two board director positions.

The nominees for vice president/president are Krista Carson Elhai, David Tate Hastings, and Scott Walker. The vice president/president serves one five-year term: two years as VP, two years as president, one as past president.

Randall Delone Adkison, Tali Allen, Donald Amerson, Sean Elias, Joannarae Ibañez, Darla Jones, Silvia D. Scaife, and Mary Schuttler will be on the ballot for the board director positions. EdTA board directors are elected to three-year terms.

The election will be conducted by electronic ballot starting in January 2021. The vice president/president candidate and the two board director candidates with the most votes will be seated to begin their terms on July 1, 2021.

Chair of the EdTA Nominating Committee Debbie Corbin said, “We were energized by the strength and qualifications of the candidates this year. These were not easy decisions to make. The desire to serve from members across the field bodes well for the future of the association.”

Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald added, “Our entire slate of candidates is an opportunity to widen our perspective and strengthen our association as we work to make EdTA and the field more diverse and inclusive.”

EdTA Board 2021 Candidates2

Here are brief sketches of the candidates.

Candidates for Vice President/President

Krista Carson Elhai Claremont, California. Theatre educator at Claremont High School. Has been a California State Thespian Board member for 27 years, 11 as chapter director. Currently past president of the board of the California Educational Theatre Association. Served two terms on the EdTA National Board and is a trustee of the Educational Theatre Foundation.

David Tate Hastings Olathe, Kansas. Theatre educator at Olathe South High School. He currently serves on the EdTA National Board as treasurer. He has helped run Kansas Thespians as co-chapter director, treasurer, and membership chair. Before becoming a teacher, he managed the retail division of a bank in Lawrence, Kansas.

Scott Walker Milwaukie, Oregon. Theatre teacher and director at Milwaukie High School and teacher/founding member at Milwaukie Academy of the Arts. Currently serving second term on the EdTA National Board. Previous leadership positions include chapter director and board director for the Oregon Thespians and president elect/president/past president for the Oregon Theatre Educators’ Association.

Candidates for Board Director

Randall Delone Adkison Tampa, Florida. Currently the interim executive director/past president of the Florida Association for Theatre Education. Florida Thespian Board member since 2011, serving as a board member and, for the last six years, the assistant state director for festival operations. He’s taught theatre and media education for the past 16 years.

Tali Allen St. Louis, Missouri. Director of education and artistic director of the Muny Kids and Teens pre-professional performance troupes at The Muny. Adjunct faculty member at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Past roles include the director of education and outreach at STAGES St. Louis and classroom teacher for more than 10 years.

Donald Amerson Long Beach, California. Theatre teacher at Orange County School of the Arts and South Coast Repertory’s Conservatory. Currently a troupe director and California State Thespian Board member. Worked as a teaching artist in underserved communities and Eastern Michigan University adjunct professor. National assignments included work with the White House and Department of Justice.

Sean Elias Baltimore, Maryland. Artistic director for Iron Crow Theatre, Baltimore’s award-winning professional queer theatre, and founding chair of the internationally award-winning Performing Arts Department at the Jemicy School. Member: Iron Crow Theatre’s executive board, Maryland Thespians, and the LGBTQ Cultural Advisory Board for Visit Baltimore. Thespian alumnus, troupe director. Member: EdTA, AEA, AATE.

Joannarae Ibañez Pico Rivera, California. Educator, director, and arts administrator with a foundation in theatre arts. Designs accessible, inclusive arts education programming. Has worked with various L.A. arts nonprofits and is founder and director of artist collective Moonlightvsn. Thespian alumna and former Thespian troupe director. Classroom and community theatre educator with 13 years of experience.

Darla Jones Fort Worth, Texas. Theatre teacher at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. Has been a member of the Texas Thespians Executive Governing Board since 2012, serving as the Educator Conference director, board secretary, webmaster, and professional development director. Has also served on the EdTA Technology Committee, Membership Advisory Group, and Education Committee.

Silvia D. Scaife Auburn, Alabama. Television production instructor at Auburn High School. Festival performance coordinator on the Alabama Thespians Governing Board. Served on the Strategic Planning Committee for Elementary and High School Accreditation and was the former president of P.A.C.E. Holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching. Auburn High School’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Mary Schuttler Greeley, Colorado. Head of theatre education at University of Northern Colorado. Former EdTA vice president, president, and past president. Serves on the Colorado Thespian Board and EdTA Education Committee; previously served as chair for the Colorado Model Content Theatre Standards and co-chair of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards for Theatre. 2019 recipient of EdTA Founders’ Award.

Ballot petitions

As provided in the EdTA Code of Regulations, any voting member may petition to have their name placed on the ballot for EdTA director, if the voting member has obtained 15 signatures of other voting members from at least three different chapters and has submitted that petition to the Nominating Committee through the office of the executive director at least 75 days before the date of the election closure. A valid candidate petition vita form can be accessed here. The submission deadline for ballot petitions for the 2021 election is December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Full resumes and responses to election questionnaires from each candidate will be posted after the ballot petition deadline. Electronic voting will begin in January 2021.

The Nominating Committee is chaired by Board Past President Debbie Corbin. Members include Board Vice President Scott Wilson; Georgia Chapter Director Paul Hampton; Massachusetts Chapter Director Jessica Harms; at-large members Jim Hoare of New York, New York, and Estella Owoimaha-Church of Los Angeles, California; Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald (non-voting); and Chief Membership Officer Hans Weichhart (non-voting). President Gai Laing Jones is an ex officio member.


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