After earning a bachelor of arts degree in communication and theatre education from the University of Colorado, Janine West accepted a theatre teaching position at Wray (Colorado) High School, where she directed sixty-one productions, expanded the one-year speech and drama class to three levels, and built a new auditorium during the following eighteen years.
She later moved to a teaching position at Boulder High School, where she directed a Thespian troupe and produced thirty-five shows over ten years. She disseminated rubric ideas from her training in assessment strategies through faculty workshops, and parlayed her membership with the United State Institute for Theatre Technology into additional technical conference opportunities for her students.
Ms. West’s relationship with EdTA began when she assumed the direction of Wray High School’s Thespian troupe. Ms. West, an original member of the Colorado state Thespian board, eventually served as the Colorado chapter director for five of the seventeen years she worked with the board. She was also an EdTA territorial director for three years, a member of the leadership development team, and most recently a leadership coach.
Of Ms. West as a teacher, former student Carol Leighton Chiarito said: “She taught not only me, but also each of her students to think creatively and act on those thoughts. There was never a bad idea.” Gail Ardueser, a former colleague, added that “students everywhere need, and deserve, more teachers like her.”