Monday, February 16, 2015

Being the Unicorn

A couple of summers ago, I was attending SummerFest and we were all gathered in the school’s large auditorium getting ready to hear from our keynote speaker that year, and while I was talking to someone next to me, the woman in front of me turned around and said something to the effect of “You teach elementary theatre? You are like a unicorn, I have heard of teachers like you, but wasn’t sure they really existed.” I laughed and agreed that we are a rather unique teacher out there.

I have been thinking about that statement lately and agree that being an elementary school theater teacher is rather like being a unicorn. We are indeed a rare find in most school districts and teaching theatre to the very young is magical. I am the only elementary theatre teacher in my large district and many times I am told by the secondary theatre teachers that they could never imagine teaching to such young students and that I must have a lot of patience. I always reply that even though some days it is hard and does try my patience, I love being the first spark of interest to the art form of theatre. I love building a curriculum that allows me to see the growth in my students year after year, and giving them a foundation to build on, especially if they continue with theatre in their secondary education.

I have learned much over the years through trial and error, but I have learned even more from attending TETA TheatreFests and SummerFests and regularly connecting with other teachers like myself. Since we are such a rare breed, I find myself reaching out to connect with others who also understand what it is like to hold the attention of 21 five year olds after someone just lost their tooth, or needed their shoes tied or had a major crying meltdown just because they weren’t first. TETA has given me the chance to connect to others out there like myself to learn and share ideas with. I know I am a better teacher as a result of attending so many workshops over the years. When asked if I wanted to run for the Elementary Member at Large for the K-12 Committee, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, because I knew it would enable me a chance to give back to an organization that has given so much to me. One of the main responsibilities of the K-12 Committee is to organize TETA’s annual SummerFest each year. Being on the committee has given me a chance to make sure elementary teachers are represented and have workshops specifically geared for them. Since elementary teachers are a small group within the organization, I feel it is my job to help to serve the other “unicorns’ out there and to connect with each other.

In a perfect world, I wish every elementary school could have a theatre arts teacher, but for now, I will have to settle for being the “unicorn” in my district and spark the interest of Theatre to the students at my school, with hopes that one day that spark will ignite a flame from within.

Beth Wallace
TETA K-12 Committee
Elementary Member at Large

Thursday, February 12, 2015

K-12 Committee

The K-12 Thread

It is with with great excitement and enthusiasm that I pen this article, my first Texas Theatre Notes article as the TETA K-12 Committee Chair. It is an absolute honor to serve the K-12 Membership. It is a true blessing to be surrounded by so many amazing theater educators, who never cease to learn and to inspire.

TheatreFest 2015 “Together Toward Tomorrow” was truly about collaboration and togetherness. Our Board of Directors, our committees and our convention staff are truly remarkable. They are skilled professionals whom are truly passionate about the future of this organization and what it offers our teachers and students. It was amazing to see so many working together to make this convention one of the best yet! I am filled with admiration and gratitude to all that made TheatreFest 2015 a success.

TheatreFest is a time to see old friends, to meet new friends, to absorb professional learning opportunities and most importantly, to share ideas.

Middle School Madness is a workshop I look forward to every TheatreFest. I was utterly excited about the attendance we had for the Middle School Madness workshop this year. There were over 100 people in attendance! This year, I taught a brief basics of sewing lesson that I do in my classroom. The costumer in me emerged and I realized that TETA is like one big piece of fabric, made up of small strands of thread: the Board of Directors, the committees and staff members that help manage this organization, and you, the membership. We are the threads that make up this organization. As I sat through some remarkable presentations by fellow educators, something became very clear: we are stronger together.

TETA has many “strands” or “threads” that collaborate year-round to serve the membership. These sections within the Organization are led by some of the best theater educators in the state. You can find a listing of the “threads” that make up the TETA Organization on our website:

Did you know?
So far this school year, TETA has 1274 Active Members.
1090 of those members are a part of the K-12 membership.
That means K-12 makes up approximately 85% of TETA’s general membership!

The goals of our K-12 Committee are:

1. To support and further the aims and objectives of TETA, Inc.

2. To serve you, our membership. We work as a liaison between the K-12 Membership and the TETA Board of Directors.

3. To promote the continuation and establishment of theater arts programs in elementary and secondary schools across Texas.

4. To promote and maintain the professional development opportunities provided through TETA; which allow for enrichment and collaboration among members of all levels of theatre in Texas.

5. To collaborate with the CAPS, C/U and the Curriculum Committee.

6. To provide new teacher support.

7. To encourage high professional standards of preparation and practices for elementary and secondary school teachers and directors, and to seek recognition and support of these standards by teacher training institutions and local, state, and federal governments.

What does the K-12 Committee do?

At TheatreFest: The K-12 Committee works as convention staff members, we present workshops, set up the K-12 Table, promote SummerFest, attend interest meetings, business meetings and All-Convention Events.

At SummerFest: The K-12 Committee operates, manages and programs the event. We schedule workshops, manage a donation station for members, prepare food, hotel and entertainment options for our members.

During the year: The K-12 Committee maintains an open line of communication with all members via social media and email. We also serve as a source for teachers who are looking for resources for their curricular and/or extra-curricular programs.

I am delighted to introduce our new K-12 Committee. The members of the K-12 Committee are some of the most creative, passionate, hard-working individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Here’s how you can contact them:

Sara Schochler – K-12 Past Chair:

Gena Lea Smith – K-12 Chair-Elect:

Maggie Rodriguez – K-12 Secretary:

Cody Moore – K-12 High School Interest Chair:

Claudia McCotter – K-12 High School At-Large:

Laura Alexander Wilson – K-12 Middle School Interest Chair:

Justin Elliott – K-12 Middle School At-Large:

Davina Fangman – K-12 Elementary Interest Chair:

Beth Wallace – K-12 Elementary At-Large:

You can also contact us via the following Facebook pages. Just post a question/concern and we will be happy to answer/address it for you:

  • SummerFest Friends
  • TheatreFest Friends

In the coming months, the K-12 Committee will work hard to prepare for SummerFest 2015 in Austin. I promise that the K-12 Committee will do everything we can to make this SummerFest the BEST yet! Join us at St. Edwards University July 31 - Aug. 2, 2015.

We encourage you to share your best lesson in a workshop session at SummerFest 2015. Workshop proposals forms are online now! Early Bird Registration is available ($90). Register early for this special, discounted rate and receive a SummerFest 2015 T-Shirt! Just visit:

Please know that the K-12 “thread” serves YOU. Our passion is the needs of our members. We are fully committed to supporting you and in turn, supporting our students and the future of this organization. We are here to ensure that your voice is heard. We strive to listen to your suggestions and to make things better at every meeting, every workshop, and at every convention. Please do not hesitate to contact your K-12 Committee members any time!

Let’s continue to weave together our talents, our voices and our passion for educational theater! Together we are stronger!

Wishing you a marvelous spring semester and successful UIL OAP season. We look forward to seeing you at SummerFest 2015!

Jenae Glanton
K-12 Committee Chair
TETA Board of Directors

Monday, January 26, 2015

TETA Nominating Committee's Nominees for Election

The TETA nominating committee has put forth these theatre professionals for election to the following offices:


Charlie Hukill is a Professor of Theatre at McMurry University, and the Chair of the Division of Fine Arts within the School of Arts and Letters.  He holds a BFA in Theatre from Stephen F. Austin State University, an MFA in Design and Playwriting from Trinity University, via the Dallas Theater Center, and has completed an additional 60 hours of post graduate study in Fine Arts, with concentrations in Playwriting, Acting, Directing, and the Fine Arts, from Texas Tech University.
Since 1979, he has designed sets for more than 100 productions, designed lights for over 90 productions, directed over 60 productions and performed roles in 39 plays, mostly in Texas, but also in Minnesota, Iowa, and Louisiana.   He has had two original scripts produced, Southbound, at Simpson College, in Iowa, for which he also designed the scenery, and Occupational Hazards, at Texas Tech and McMurry. 
Charlie is an active member of the Texas Educational Theatre Association.  In addition to serving a term as Vice President for the College/University section of TETA, he has also been very involved in the former Adjudicator’s Organization of TETA, now known as TTAO.  For the AO, he has served on the Standards and Practices Committee, the Administrative Committee, and was Chair of that organization for two years.  He has been an approved Critic Judge for UIL one-act play competitions since 1980 and has judged at all levels, zone to state, A-AAAAA all across the state.  In 2001, Charlie was selected as the Educator of the Year for Colleges and Universities by the TETA.
Recognitions at McMurry University include the Outstanding Faculty of the Year (2000), the Graduates’ Faculty Award (2001), the Gordon R. and Lola J. Bennett Award (2002), and the E.E. Hall Memorial Scholarship Award (2005).


Rachel Mattox has acted, directed and taught theatre for over thirty years, including for the University of Texas Summer Theatre Workshops, for the University of Houston Children’s Theatre Festival, Theatre Showcase, The Country Playhouse, and The Texas Repertory Theatre Company. She taught theatre at Spring Branch High School, St. Agnes Academy, James E. Taylor High School, and Hempstead H. S. before retiring from teaching in 2004.  As a theatre educator, Rachel directed her students to the U.I.L. State Meet One Act Play contest 11 times, winning three State Championships and placing 2nd in State twice.
Rachel has also conducted acting and directing workshops for TETA, and taught acting, directing, voice and diction, and children’s theatre at the University of Texas, and at the University of Houston. Rachel Anne received the U.I.L.Sponsor Excellence Award in 1992, and was named TETA High School Educator of the Year in 2004.
She has served on several TETA committees, and is former chair of the UIL OAP Advisory Committee which formulated the Ethics Code in practice today. She was also one of the TEA appointed writers of the early TEKS for theatre curriculum.
Since 2006 Rachel has been proud to be a U.I.L. Theatre Adjudicator and clinician. For the past year she has served as TETA’s Treasurer.
Rachel studied at the Mary Wigman Institute of Dance in Berlin, Germany, was a dancer and actress at the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Texas, Austin, and a MFA in Directing from the University of Houston.


Timothy Estelle has served the Texas Public School system since 2005. Previous professional experiences include Assistant Theatre Arts Director at Clear Creek high school from 2005-2009, and Theatre Arts Director at Cypress Woods high school from 2009-2014. As Theatre Arts Director, Timothy’s students have excelled in both the Texas and National Thespian Competitions, garnering awards and scholarships, as well as advancing to the State UIL One-Act Play competition. Prior to Timothy’s educational work he was the artistic intern at the Arizona Theatre Company in Tucson, AZ from 2004-2005.  Currently, Timothy serves the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District as the Coordinator of Secondary Fine Arts for Dance and Theatre Arts. In his role, Timothy is responsible for guiding the alignment of district curriculum practices with both State and National standards, the advocacy and support of district performing arts groups, as well as the development of authentic professional growth opportunities for content teachers. Timothy has been a member of the Texas Educational Theatre Association since 2005, as well as the Educational Theatre Association since 2009. Timothy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre as well as a Masters of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University.


Annie Dragoo began teaching and directing in 1993. She holds a BA in English and Speech Communication with a Concentration in Theatre Studies from Houston Baptist University. In the summer of 2008, she was granted a scholarship to study in residency at the Globe Theatre in London and has trained for several years with the Broadway Teaching Lab in New York. Her career has included directing elementary, middle, and high school students across Texas. Annie began the musical theatre program at Austin High in 2004, and in that time has directed fifteen musical productions.  She wrote the Musical Theatre Curriculum for the state of Texas and is currently writing a musical theatre text book. She has performed in several professional productions in Dallas, Houston, & Austin. Dragoo co-directed three of the last seven UIL One Act Play productions that have qualified for the 5A State Contest, winning the State Championship in 2012. Among her favorite productions to direct are Round and Round the Garden, Into the Woods, Urinetown, Spring Awakening, Radio Eyes and Gypsy. She was nominated for the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.

Ronnie Watson attended Southwest Texas State University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a pre-professional concentration in acting in 1987.  He received his Master of Arts Degree in Directing and Design from Baylor University in 1997.  From 1994 to 2005 he taught and directed at Odessa High School, Sonora High School, Jersey Village High School, Klein High School, and Alief-Taylor High School.  In 2005 he joined the theatre faculty at San Antonio College where he currently is a tenured instructor of theatre.  He has served as the State Contest Director for the Theatrical Design Contest since its inception in 2006 and has served as a U.I.L. One-Act Play Adjudicator since 2006.

In addition to the nominees above, Adult TETA members will have the opportunity to nominate individuals for any of the offices above.  Nominations will be taken from the floor during the annual business meeting following convocation.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All That Jazz Award Recipients

Come on gang, why don’t we paint the town…” in Houston, January 31, 2015, with the TETA Award winners! 

 You will have 2 chances to celebrate with your award winning peers on Saturday morning and Saturday evening. The TETA Award winners will be introduced as a panel for a discussion workshop session lead by Mandy Epley, Fine Arts Director, Comal ISD. Come and learn teaching successes from those we admire.

The excitement of celebrating YOU during TheatreFest continues throughout the Awards Reception on Saturday evening, 5:00pm-7:00pm. The “All That Jazz Awards Reception: Past Meets Present,” will be filled with beautiful music, videos, hors d’oeuvres, and inspirational people from the past and the present. There is no special dress code, but we often dress nicer than normal.

All winners were nominated and chosen by their peers. Nominations will continue to become easier as we send reminders to you to nominate for the 2016 awards. We must continue to support and celebrate our own as the arts continue to be at risk in some areas.

It is with great pleasure that I present to you, the 2015 TETA award recipients.
  • K-8 Educator of the Year, Jenae Glanton, Maurine Cane Middle School
  • High School Educator of the Year, Erin Moore, Sealy High School
  • Community/Jr. College Educator of the Year, Dr. Cynthia SoRelle, McLennan CC
  • University Educator of the Year, Alison Frost, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christie
  • Founders Award, Craig Hertel, Argyle High School
  • Founders Award, Dr. Jerry Ivins, San Jacinto College
  • Founders Award, J.E. Masters, Retired
  • Emeritus Award, Luis Munoz, UIL State Drama Director

Please help us make this TheatreFest Awards day better than ever before. Look in the schedule for final times and places for the Award Winners Workshop and Awards Reception on Saturday, January 31, 2015, Houston Hyatt Regency.

…I know a whoopee spot where the gin is cold, but the awards are hot...and all that jazz!

Gloria McLuckie
TETA Awards Committee Chairman

Sutton Foster Interview at TheatreFest 2015

Great news! 
Amazing workshops and endless choices await each TETA TheatreFest attendee. On Saturday, January 31 the Houston Symphony generously presents Sutton Foster in an exclusive on-stage interview at TheatreFest 2015. 

 Sutton Foster's interview will take place in the Imperial West Ballroom at 12:30 p.m. Because seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend this session will need a ticket. All tickets are free to TETA members.

Tickets for this event will be distributed to the first 150 attendees at the TheatreFest Convocation scheduled for Friday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m. 50 "secret" tickets will be provided to members by visiting the booths in the Vendor area (ask any vendor for a Sutton Foster ticket). 50 tickets will randomly be placed in 50 of the TETA convention bags, and the remaining 122 tickets will be distributed at the Business Meeting (adult members only).

Members with tickets and those without tickets who are interested in attending the event, must follow the directions below:

Ticketed Members:
  • ​Ticketed members must be in line outside the Imperial West Ballroom by 11:45 a.m. (tickets must be visible)
  • Tickets held by Ticketed Members not in line by 11:45 a.m. will be forfeited.
  • Ticketed members will be seated promptly at 12:15 p.m. Ushers will seat all ticketed members. No seats will be saved or reserved.
  • Any ticketed member who leaves the ballroom will not be allowed to return for any reason.
  • Open seats will be counted at 12:15 p.m.

Non-Ticketed Members:
  • ​Members who have not received tickets but would like to attend the event, will meet by the Imperial East Ballroom at 11:45 a.m.
  • Non-ticketed Members who are not in line by 11:45 a.m. will not be allowed admittance into the event.
  • Once open seats are counted, non-ticketed members will be seated on a first come first serve basis until all seats are taken.

During this same session, TETA will offer an array of fantastic workshops presented by an amazing group of Special Guests Artists and teachers. Check your program to view all options available. TETA is committed to offering the best presenters and workshops to and for our members. It is our greatest hope every attendee will take advantage of the many opportunities available.