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EdTA Welcomes New Leaders to Board of Directors, Strengthening Commitment to Diversity and Innovation in Theatre Education

Graphic of compiled headshots of new board members Felicia Latoya Brown, Randy Cohen, and Brianna Navarro.

The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) is proud to announce the election of two new directors and the appointment of one new director to its board, each beginning their term July 1, 2024. In the spirit of growth and adaptation, EdTA’s members also approved changes to its membership structure. These developments reflect our commitment to inclusivity, flexibility, and the ever-evolving landscape of theatre education.

Meet EdTA's New Visionaries

Felicia Latoya Brown: Advocacy & Innovation

Felicia Latoya Brown, a distinguished theatre educator with a rich background in film, advocacy, arts, and teaching, brings her fervor for anti-racism work and neurodiversity to EdTA. Her leadership in various educational and artistic communities underlines her commitment to enhancing theatre education’s reach and impact. Felicia’s vision for EdTA involves fostering national and international partnerships that amplify the importance of theatre education. In her candidate profile, she shared that she looks forward to having opportunities to publicly speak and gain support for theatre education, showcasing its profound impact.

Briana Navarro: Blending Science and Art

Briana Navarro’s unique approach to theatre education, combining her expertise in both theatre arts and AP biology, demonstrates her commitment to a holistic educational experience. Her involvement in DEIA and SEL initiatives showcases her dedication to creating inclusive and equitable learning environments. By focusing on student voice and choice, Briana aims to make a significant difference in the lives of Thespians, Navarro explained in her candidate profile, highlighting her innovative teaching methods.

Randy Cohen: Advocating for Arts

Randy Cohen’s extensive experience in arts research and advocacy provides EdTA with invaluable insights into the economic and cultural importance of the arts. His vision for EdTA includes using rigorous research to underscore the vital role of theatre education in fostering creativity and critical thinking. His recent work reveals the economic impact of arts and culture, illustrating the essential role of the arts in communities, and EdTA looks forward to having Randy in our advocacy ranks.

Charting a New Course: Membership Structure Updates

In alignment with our vision for a more inclusive and adaptable future, EdTA is excited to announce updates to our membership structure, moving from a strict adherence to predetermined membership types to a broader approach. This change, approved by our board, signifies a shift towards a more flexible model that can evolve with the changing needs of our community.

An illustration shows two collaborators holding puzzle pieces.

Why We're Making These Changes

The transition to “Individual” and “Troupe”-based membership types reflects our commitment to ensuring EdTA remains a welcoming and supportive community for all theatre education enthusiasts. With the ability to house multiple categories of membership under each type, these updates allow us to be more responsive to our members’ needs, making it easier to introduce new categories of membership as our community grows and changes.

What This Means for You

In the short term, not much. Troupe directors will still be responsible for their Thespian troupes and students will still be inducted as Thespians. These changes mean a more adaptable and inclusive EdTA. Whether you’re an individual passionate about theatre education or part of a troupe dedicated to promoting the ideals of the International Thespian Society, there’s a place for you here. We’re broadening our horizons to include all who wish to support and learn from our mission, making EdTA a more diverse and dynamic community.

Learn more about the 2024 board of directors election here.

As we welcome Felicia, Brianna, and Randy to our board and embrace the changes to our membership structure, we’re setting the stage for a future where theatre education is more accessible, inclusive, and adaptable than ever before. Want to know more about our strategic plan? Check out this webinar hosted by EdTA’s executive director, Dr. Jennifer Katona.

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