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Ohio Educator Named 2023 Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year

Matthew Wolfe, a smiling white man in a black shirt, engages with a female theatre student in rehearsal.

Matthew Wolfe Honored by The ASCAP Foundation and Educational Theatre Association

Westerville South theatre director and educator Matthew Wolfe is the 2023 recipient of the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award. Presented by The ASCAP Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), this accolade recognizes exceptional achievement in the field of high school and middle school theatre education and comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

A Dynamic Program and Career Accomplishments

For the past decade, Wolfe has led Thespian Troupe 513 at Westerville South High School. In addition to his role as a theatre director, he teaches four theatre courses, engaging approximately 20 percent of Westerville South’s students in theatre activities each year. Under Wolfe’s leadership, Troupe 513 presents an array of productions, including fall and spring musicals, full-length plays, student-directed one-acts, and thematic shows.

His introduction of innovative programs, including IB theatre, the annual Black Voices program, and a summer enrichment theatre program for middle and high school students, has made theatre accessible and affordable to aspiring artists. In their nominations for the award, Wolfe’s students and colleagues emphasized Wolfe’s inclusivity and dedication to creating a safe and nurturing space for students.

A Leader in Theatre Education

Wolfe’s accomplishments extend beyond his school: As director of EdTA’s Ohio chapter, he oversees a network of over 150 active troupes and more than 1,500 students participating in auditions, competitions, and all-state shows annually.

Recognition and Accolades

For his career accomplishments, Wolfe has previously been recognized as a finalist for the Tony Awards’ Excellence in Theatre Education Award, as well as local accolades including the Westerville Great Educator and Mentor Award and Arts Council of Westerville Educator of the Year Award.

Matthew Wolfe, a white male in a blue shirt, holds a microphone while smiling onstage.
Letters of Recommendation Speak Volumes

Matthew Wolfe’s impact on Westerville South High School and his students is evident through the heartfelt letters of recommendation he has received. Tyler Zwick, former president of Troupe 513, emphasizes Wolfe’s unwavering passion for theatre, his inclusivity, and his ability to foster growth in his students both on and off the stage. Noelle Spriestersbach, the school social worker, praises Wolfe’s dedication to creating a safe and nurturing space for students, his advocacy for their well-being, and his role as a compassionate mentor who truly listens and cares.

“We’re delighted to recognize Matt Wolfe as the 2023 Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year,” said EdTA executive director Dr. Jennifer Katona. “His efforts to promote school theatre and build support for the organization demonstrate his unwavering commitment to theatre education and its profound impact on students’ lives.”

Wolfe will be recognized at EdTA’s Theatre Education Conference, September 28-30 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

Read more about the award.

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