College Park, Georgia
Before her death in January 2006, Linda Wise taught high school English and theatre for forty-two years, twenty-two at the Woodward Academy Upper School in College Park, Georgia, where she served as the chairperson of the performing arts department. She was described in her obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as the “reigning grande dame of high school theater in metro Atlanta.”
Ms. Wise’s former students include Academy Award winner Holly Hunter and many others who went on to pursue careers in the performing arts.
Inducted into the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame for her work with Thespian Troupe 3423, Ms. Wise inspired and encouraged a number of her students to become teachers, including Jerry D. Smith, Jr. (who became president of EdTA) and Hylan Scott, who succeeded Ms. Wise to serve as the troupe director for Troupe 3423.
Ms. Wise was named Governor’s Honors Teacher in Theatre five times, and honored as Teacher of the Year for Rockdale County, Georgia.
Ms. Wise’s obituary notice in the Journal-Constitution included a quote from Rosemary Newcott, the Alliance Theatre’s artistic director of theatre for youth: “Linda was obsessively interested in her students and helping them learn about themselves and the world. She was perfectly capable of being a professional director, but she chose to stay in that world because she was committed to teaching.
“She was certainly great at all the technical stuff, but more than teaching how to project your voice and the whole craft of acting, she taught them how to delve into the human spirit.”