From 1966 to 1988, Kaleta Brown taught in the theatre and dance department at Cypress College in California. “It was Kaleta’s willingness to do whatever it takes that started, developed, and sustained the theatre program at Cypress College for thirty years,” Marilyn Glattly, chair of the department, wrote in her EdTA Hall of Fame letter of recommendation. The department now has a full staff holding theatre degrees and certificates, a six hundred-seat theatre, and a reputation as a distinguished theatre program on campus, community, state, and national levels.
During Ms. Brown’s tenure, Cypress College became a home to the California Thespians, which held their state conferences there beginning in 1986 and continuing until the event outgrew the facility in 1989. Ellis L. Jordan, former member of the EdTA board, territorial director, and California Thespian director, wrote in his letter of recommendation: “She became so involved with the ideals of the International Thespian Society and its goals for students in educational theatre that she has been one of the strongest proponents of the organization in California—always encouraging, always supporting, always promoting the organization.”
Ms. Brown extended her educational theatre hospitality to the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival as well. Cypress College began hosting that festival’s regional performances in 1976. She served as the festival’s regional chair from 1988 to 1992 and coordinated the national Irene Ryan Acting Awards for the Kennedy Center and directed the Irene Ryan Festival of Scenes in Washington, D.C. The Kennedy Center has twice recognized her with the Gold Medallion for Contribution to Educational Theater and awarded her a regional Life Achievement Award.