When Jan Shelton Hunsaker was in her first years of teaching, she says she saw the inductees for the EdTA Hall of Fame and thought, “Wow, they are so old and look so tired.” Now, she admits with a laugh, she is one of those old, tired teachers.
Ms. Hunsacker earned her B.A. from Southern Utah University in 1989 and finished her M.A. at the University of Utah in 2011. She began her teaching career in 1987, working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Since then she has had the opportunity to teach for twenty-three years—in junior high and high schools, with Vietnamese refugees, with the Navajo nation, and for a year in Japan. She has taken drama programs that were almost extinct and revitalized them. A program she revived in just three years won a state championship in drama, and a few of her students accepted theatre scholarships to universities across the country. She was twice recognized by the Utah Speech Arts Association as the drama coach of the year. In 2001, she was also recognized as the Alpine School District’s teacher of the year. She is currently the artistic director at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts in southern Utah.
Under Ms. Hunsacker’s leadership, Tuacahn has received EdTA’s Outstanding School Award. She has been involved with EdTA as a troupe director for more than eighteen years. She has served as vice president of the Utah State Thespian board, and on the Utah Advisory Council for Theatre Teachers state board. Her husband is also a drama teacher, and both serve on the Utah Chapter Board.