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Kristi Gibbs, Brian Nichols, Jamie Micheletto, Michael Penna, Liz Zellner, Marty Strohmeyer, Tara Taylor, Victor Pilolla, Dorothy DeLucchi, and Cristina Pla-Guzman.

Education Theatre Association Names 15 Award Winners

11 individuals and 4 schools are being recognized by EdTA for their advocacy efforts and achievements in theatre education.

CINCINNATI: The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) has named their 2022 award recipients. The awards honor the achievements of individuals and theatre programs nationwide.

The recipients of the Educational Theatre Association Administrator’s Award are Kristi Gibbs of Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School in Bennington, Neb.; Tara Taylor of Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Va.; and Brian Nichols of New Kent High School in New Kent, Va. The award acknowledges outstanding school administrators who have demonstrated exemplary support for educational theatre. This year’s recipients were all nominated for their dedication to be present and visible in support of the theatre programs at their schools, especially as each began to rebuild after the pandemic. Each administrator took the time and energy to show up in support of their theatre teachers and students, fostering a strong sense of community support for the theatre program.  

The winners of the Honorary Thespian of the Year Award are volunteers Casey Garrigan and Liz Zellner. This award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the standard duties of a volunteer in service to educational theatre. These winners donated their time, talents, resources, and financial support to rebuild Brownell-Talbot’s program after two years of no theatre activity.

The Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame Award honors EdTA members who have dedicated 20 or more years to promoting educational theatre. This year’s inductees are Dorothy DeLucchi of Severn, Md., and Victor Pilolla of River Grove, Ill. As an educator, troupe director, and Maryland Thespians chapter director, DeLucchi has strengthened theatre education in the state, including revising the Maryland theatre standards and expanding the Maryland Thespian Festival to involve more than 1,000 students. Meanwhile, at Leyden High School District 212, Pilolla developed a top-flight technical theatre program and built a bilingual theatre program that revitalized participation at the school. 

The Educational Theatre Association Outstanding School Award winner is Topeka West High School in Topeka, Kans. This award is given to high schools with theatre programs that exemplify and promote high standards in educational theatre. Topeka West’s theatre arts program places a large emphasis on advocacy for theatre in education, with students visiting and volunteering at other schools, writing letters and attending Advocacy Day at the state capitol to discuss the benefits of theatre education with representatives, and creating a robust public presence on social media. 

The Outstanding Impact Award recognized Topeka West, as well as Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knobs, In., Cairo High School in Cairo, Ga., and Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School in Omaha, Neb., for their work during March, EdTA’s “Theatre in Our Schools Month.” Each school demonstrated advocacy efforts during the month at the school, community, and governmental levels. The four winners each received a free license to perform a Disney show of their choosing from program sponsor Disney Theatrical Group

The recipients of the International Thespian Society Inspirational Theatre Educator Award are Jamie Micheletto of Schaumburg High School in Schaumburg, Ill., Michael Penna of Collier High School in Wickatunk, N.J., and Marty Strohmeyer of Visitation Academy in St. Louis, Mo. The award recognizes individuals who have inspired their students and dedicated themselves to providing quality theatre education.  

The Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award recipient is Cristina Pla-Guzman of Miami Country Day School in Miramar, Fla. The award, given in partnership with the ASCAP Foundation, acknowledges the highest level of achievement for musical theatre instruction. Pla-Guzman will receive a $5,000 cash prize when she is formally presented with the award at EdTA’s Theatre Education Conference, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Los Angeles.  

“It’s gratifying to recognize so many deserving teachers and administrators for their incredible accomplishments,” said EdTA chief membership officer Hans Weichhart in a statement. “These award winners prove that theatre education truly does shape lives.”

The Educational Theatre Association, home to the Educational Theatre Foundation and International Thespian Society, is an international nonprofit whose mission is to shape lives through theatre education. The foundation provides essential financial support to enhance theatre education, expand access, and foster racial equity. The International Thespian Society is an honor society active in nearly 5,000 schools and has inducted 2.4 million students since 1929. 

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