A Word From the President

Marion Castleberry, Ph. D
TETA Board of Directors
President / CEO

Greetings! I hope you are having a great semester and anticipating a rewarding One-Act Play season. I know I am. Thanks to everyone who helped make TheatreFest 2014 a wonderful experience. The Board of Directors has taken your mandate for change and transparency to heart. Since the annual meeting, we have been working hard to live up to the trust you have placed in us as we carry out our duties and responsibilities. We uncover information about the TETA’s past financial dealings on a daily basis but our attempts to piece together the whole picture continues to be thwarted by our inability to secure significant records and documents from the former CFO. Nonetheless, we are meeting on a monthly basis, addressing Bylaws issues, studying financial records, paying bills as needed, and planning for the future. We are looking forward to SummerFest 2014 which will be held at McMurry University in Abilene and the BOD will be meeting in an early summer retreat to revise the Manual of Operations and Bylaws, discuss changes in the structure of the board, and consider the addition of new sections and interest groups.

New Horizons

Travis Poe
TETA Board of Directors

Greetings Theatre Educators! This is the first of many articles that I will compose over the next few years, and to be honest, I’m still somewhat floored that I am doing this. I am humbled that the TETA membership thinks me worthy to fill the office of President-Elect and to be part of a Board that will lead our professional organization to new horizons. I have a lot to absorb and will confess that I may not know everything I need to know. But knowing one’s weaknesses is the first step to acquiring knowledge.

I am most thankful to Philip Morgan of Waco ISD who filled this office dutifully and bravely set forth plans that lead to the re-organization of the present Board. His efforts spearheaded changes that will forever be a part of TETA’s history and for that I am truly and forever grateful.

Sections and Committees and By-Laws, Oh, My!

Melissa McMillian Cunningham
TETA Board of Directors
Immediate Past President

Information is a good thing, and I’m truly delighted that the membership of TETA is becoming more informed about the workings of the organization. I thought that in my last few Texas Theatre Notes columns, I’d spend time focusing on the structure of the organization, the thoughts behind that structure, and potential changes in the structure.

Presently TETA has two sections: K-12 and CU, which have similarly structured committees which conduct the meetings and business of the section, facilitate the concerns and projects of the section, and assist in developing programming for that section. The members of the K-12 Committee and the CU Committee are elected by that section to represent that section, and the Chair of each committee serves as one of the Vice Presidents on the Board of Directors.

A New Day for TETA

Scott Allen
TETA Board of Directors

Can I tell you what an honor it was to be nominated and elected to serve as Secretary for TETA? Huge! Thank you for the opportunity to give back to an organization that shaped who I am as an arts educator today.

During the time between Thanksgiving and 2014 TheatreFest, it was so inspiring to read stories, reflections, and remembrances from many of our membership. Learning more about the history and relationships that made TETA great motivated me to want to give back to the organization. I have now been afforded that chance. As we move forward, I feel it is important to not forget those stories and voices, as they can make us an even better arts education organization supporting teachers and students.

Masters of the Game

Rachel Mattox
TETA Board of Directors
Treasurer / CFO

First of all, I thank the membership of TETA for electing me to serve as your Treasurer/CFO, and want you to know that WE, all members of the Board of Directors of TETA, Inc. are working strenuously to compile as much information as we can in order to give you a clear picture of where the Association stands financially. It continues to be difficult. But, here is what I can report:

· TETA is still compiling information that will allow us to review all disbursements made in 2012 and 2013. When we have more information, we may retain a forensic accountant to help in the review of disbursements. We have finally submitted all the paperwork that was needed in order to take Gene Dickey off the SouthsideBank account, and he is no longer able to write checks on that account.

TETA is Catching Fire!

Sara A. Schochler
TETA Board of Directors
Vice President K-12 Committee

Before I begin sharing with everyone my excitement for SummerFest 2014, I want to take this opportunity to express my thoughts on TheatreFest 2014. Since 2008, I’ve been able to experience a little of what happens “behind the scenes” at TheatreFest. Members of the K-12 Committee usually present workshops, “man” the K-12 Table and answer questions from members while promoting SummerFest, attend interest and business meetings for K-12, and maybe help out around the registration or exhibits areas is someone needs help.

The months, weeks and days leading up to TheatreFest 2014 were stressful to say the least for many people. There was a major transition within our organization just 8 days before convention. There was a lot of work to be done!

Proper Pre-Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Mike Burnett
TETA Board of Directors
Vice President College / University

Greetings all! First, let me say that I am excited to be a part of the leadership team for TETA. As you all know, good theatre is a result of the collaboration of many, many people. As someone who has participated in hundreds of productions in my career, the ones that stand out as the most successful are the ones where the collaborating team really understood how to work together for a common goal. I know there was a call for transparency and open communication in the weeks leading up to Theatrefest, and as a Board of Directors we have heard that call and are working towards providing it to you, the members. Even though the Board is called upon to lead, it is the members of TETA that are the most important part of the team.

Institutional Members

Terri L. Castleberry, Ed.D
TETA Board of Advisors
CAPS Committee Chair

Dear TETA Institutional Members,

In the midst of the recent restructuring of TETA, the new Board of Directors is discovering many instances where committees have been neglected. I have been asked to chair the Caps Committee for the next year, and I need your help.

I am requesting that you take a few minutes out of your very busy schedules to complete the Institutional Members Information Form. Once I have your completed form, I will check it against the information we have and provide a new list. The link is included below. Please complete the form no later than March 7, 2014.


So Many New Faces!

Darve Smith
TETA Board of Advisors
Communications Chair

With the recent changes in personnel I thought it might be nice to introduce some of the new faces to you.  I asked our new board members and committee members to send me a headshot and a short bio that I could share with our membership.  I then realized that we have quite a few new TETA members who may not even be familiar with the faces that have been around for a while so I decided to do a TTN article that is basically a who's-who of TETA.  If I included every board member and committee member in one article it would be very long so I will make this a recurring article and introduce a few faces each time.  In this article I chose to include:

Catching Fire

Jenae Glanton
TETA K-12 Committee
Vice President Elect

SummerFest 2014: Catching Fire – Discover and Ignite Your Spark.

There is a creative spark that lives in all of us.

This time last night, I was helping my middle school students prepare for our UIL OAP preview performance of Zink: The Myth, The Legend, The Zebra by Cherie Bennett. Their excitement and energy filled the room and I absorbed every minute of it. There’s nothing better than opening night.

Secrets behind Seymour, and “All that jazz”

Cody Moore
TETA K-12 Committee
High School Interest Chair

When prompted to write something for the Texas Theatre Notes, I had a little bit of “writer’s block,” so to speak, and I thought the best resource was to ask my students what I should write about for a topic. During their prompting they generated several creative ideas that would be very interesting, but I need some time to think about them… especially the suggestion that all theaters should come equipped with a Taco Bell. God love them!

Fortunately, the little planning session brought another topic to mind. I use the phrase, “All that Jazz,” pretty often during class, in rehearsal, etc., and it occurred to me that sometimes we say things so casually and never realize that the students have no clue what it means.

Find Your Light

Victoria Perry
K-12 Committee
High School At-Large

Every director has an Achilles’ heel. You know that there is one thing that you do not do as well as everything else. For me, this is lighting. I am terrible at it! I would rather do anything than worry about it. This is from, in part, having an archaic lighting system at my high school. I am not kidding when I say archaic. It was last updated in 1989. It is constantly refusing to work, and has even turned off or started flickering during performances. My board used to save cues on floppy disks, but even that stopped working last year. Sigh.

This is Not a Drill

Laura Alexander-Wilson
TETA K-12 Committee
Middle School Interest Chair

After school thirty eighth graders rushed to my room to gather their props and costumes. We were going to perform across the street at a senior assisted living home. We had been practicing our Readers Theatre for a month and it was time for the performance.

Our campus security guard walked us across the street and stopped traffic so we could get there quickly. The performance was starting soon and we needed to set up. When we arrived, the kids were so excited. For many of them it was their first time doing anything like this. A small group of seniors joined us and waited patiently for the performance to begin. 


Teresa Ragland
TETA K-12 Committee
Middle School At-Large

Hello to all of my middle school “peeps” out there! I just wanted to touch base with all of you, and give you some information in this crazy time of testing, end-of-the-year play preparation, and “Dear God, but Spring Break will NEVER get here quickly enough!” First off is this: SUMMERFEST IS COMING! For all of you that have experienced the AWESOMENESS of it, I am preaching to the choir. But for all of you newbies to SummerFest, I want to fill you in on a little secret: Summer is where you get what you need to start off the school year. Summer is where you meet the fellow teachers who will be your lifeline and shoulder to cry on, the people who you need to network with to know about costumes, props, scripts, and the people who will give you great ideas to REIGNITE YOUR SPARK when it currently feels like it is barely staying lit with the chaos of this time of year. I am looking forward to it! As a Baptist preacher’s kid, we always had these things called “revivals” (or in our home, “vacation money” because Dad was always preaching them)...I am telling you that if you come to Summerfest, YOU WILL BE REVIVED!!!!

Apples and Hamburgers

Lindsey Ervi
TETA K-12 Committee
Elementary School Interest Chair

This January at TheatreFest, we had the largest turnout of Elementary Theatre teachers that I can remember! As you may know, it is extremely rare to find a school district in Texas that has an Elementary Theatre Specialist. The K-5 Theatre TEKS must be taught, but they do not have to be taught by a Specialist. If there is not a Specialist, the General Classroom Teacher must teach them. And I bet we can all agree that the General Classroom Teacher is hard pressed to find time to teach all the Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies TEKS. To ask them to also teach Fine Arts TEKS seems like a bit of a joke. That means that most Elementary students are not getting to experience Theatre, which is a shame.