Board of Directors

The TTAO Board of Directors is made up of 10 Members with the following roles: Chair, Chair Elect – Adjudicator Training, Past Chair – Awards, Communications Director, Treasurer, Treasurer Elect/Historian, Communications Director-Elect, and 3 Director at Large Positions.

Function of the Board of Directors

Review adjudicator and contest manager evaluations
Nominate adjudicators to UIL for area/region/state
Govern the non-profit’s financial expenditures
Conduct the general business of TTAO

 Meet the Current Board


Dr. Carrie Klypchak – TTAO Chair

Dr. Carrie Klypchak currently serves as the Director of Theatre Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor of Acting and Directing at Texas A&M University – Commerce. She is also a member of the award-winning Capital T Theatre in Austin. Dr. Klypchak is a New York, conservatory-trained, professional actress, a professional and collegiate director, an active teaching artist, and a published performance scholar. In 2011, she was recognized as a certified Meisner Acting Teacher in the United States; in 2013, she was named TETA’s University Educator of the Year; and in 2012, 2013, and 2016, she was honored to serve as a UIL OAP State Meet judge. In years past, Dr. Klypchak proudly served as an active member of the Standards and Practices and Administrative Committees of the Adjudicators’ Organization, and she has more recently served as a board member of TTAO. She also formerly served as the Assistant Dean of the College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts at Texas A&M University-Commerce, the Vice President of TETA’s College/University Section, the Coordinator of TETA’s Scholars Debut Papers Project, and the Founder and Coordinator of TETA’s first Academic Symposium. Dr. Klypchak has participated in the UIL OAP system as an actor, director, clinician, and judge for many years and considers it a privilege to be part of such an important educational experience and an honor to be nominated to serve TTAO.


Craig Hertel – TTAO Chair-Elect

Craig Hertel has directed over 25 one-act plays–including six State Champions–has served as chair of UIL’s OAP Advisory Committee, and has been on the State Board of Texas Thespians. He has been a Contest Manager many times, including at the State Meet, and has directed many times at the college level (including ACTF) and for community theatre. He has also been an Academic Coordinator, guiding his school to 14 State Academic Championships.

Jill Luddington – TTAO Communications Director

Jill Hays Ludington has BA in Theatre and English education and her Masters in Educational Leadership from West Texas A&M University where she now teaches as an adjunct professor and theatre student teacher supervisor. She has had appearances at the state level as an adjudicator, director, and student. Participating as a student, director, contest manager, clinician, and judge she is committed to the process and believes in the powerful benefits of UIL to both directors and actors. Giving back to an art and contest that changed her life is important to Jill. She is proud to have served on the TTAO Standards and Practices Committee and currently serve on the TTAO Board.

Mandy Epley – TTAO Communication Director-Elect

Mandy Epley holds a masters degree in Education Administration from Lamar and a BFA in Acting and Directing from Sam Houston State University. She has a Superintendent certification and served as the Director of Fine Arts for Comal ISD and is now Chief of Staff. She taught high school theatre for 16 years. Her productions qualified for Region multiple times and her students performed at the state meet in 2009. In addition to acting and directing professionally, she has served as a Camp on the Coast director at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and Artistic Director of Inception Theatre. In 2012, Mandy was named Texas Educational Theatre Association Educator of the Year, in 2009, Brandeis High School Educator of the Year, Northside ISD High School Educator of the Year, and KENS5/SACU Excel Award winner. She is a K-12 theatre program consultant for Enhance the Arts and is one of the authors of the Maestro Theatre Publications, LLC. Teacher Resource for Theatre Education. Mandy is also a guest instructor for workshops and clinics across the state and coordinates the TTAO on-line Swag Store.

Gary Cooper – TTAO Treasurer/ Historian

Gary Cooper is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Education in the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance.  He heads the BFA Theatre Education program and is the Coordinator for Theatre Ambassadors. He enjoys working with future theatre teachers at UH and talking with future UH theatre students at recruiting events! Before transitioning to higher education, Gary taught High School Theatre in the North Houston area for 20 years and served as the Theatre Department Chair at Klein Oak, Klein Collins and Klein Forest for 15 of those years.  He received his Master of Education degree from Lamar University and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tarleton State University.  He is an active member of the Texas Theatre Adjudicators and Officials organization where he serves on the Standards and Practices Committee and as an adjudicator and contest manager for high school and junior high University Scholastic League One-Act Play contests.  Gary has adjudicated at the zone, district, area, and region level and has contested managed at the zone, district, and area level. He prides himself on connecting with the students during the critiques as an adjudicator and running efficient and fair contests as a contest manager. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Diana, for 27 years and has two children, David- a freshman at Rider University, and Elizabeth- an 11th grader at Klein Oak high school.

Karen King – TTAO Treasurer-Elect/Historian

Karen King is the current professor of Drama at Panola College.  She holds a Masters in Theatre Arts from U of H and a Bachelor’s in Drama/English from ETSU.  Karen has seen all sides of the UIL process – student, HS teacher, Contest Manager, and Adjudicator.  For the past five years, she has served as the House Manager for the 4A-6A State Meet UIL competitions.  She has also judged the State film competition since its inception, responded for KCACTF, and judged the State Level 1 OAP for TAPPS.  She is the Co-Chair of Playfest for TETA as well as the editor of the new-revived Texas Theatre Notes.  She has been the UIL Academic co-director for 2A Region 3 as well as the Contest Manager for region OAP, since 2014.  She has served on the S&P committee for TTAO from 2016-2018.  She is the Communications Officer for ATHE 2-year group and served on the College Board’s, Field of Study for Drama committee as a 2-year institute member. Karen was the recipient of the 2019 TETA Founders Award.   Karen is enthusiastic and passionate about Texas Educational Theatre and believes nothing is more important than to be an advocate for secondary and higher-ed performing arts programs.  “I believe the future of theatre is brighter than ever and will do all I can to promote its importance in not only our student’s growth, but for educators and citizens as well.”

R. Scott Allen – Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

R.  Scott Allen is the principal at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston ISD. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Texas State University with an emphasis on directing. From Sam Houston State University, Scott has his master’s and doctorate in educational administration. Before HSPVA, he was the principal at Mildred Jenkins Elementary School in the Spring ISD and an assistant principal at Lakeland Elementary School in the Humble ISD. His teaching experiences, focused on teaching speech and English and directing theatre, were shared between Jack C. Hays High School, Calallen High School, and Humble High School. He has served as an adjunct professor for the University of Houston summer theatre educator master’s program for more than ten years and teaches for Sam Houston State University in the College of Education.

Jim Mammarella – Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

Jim Mammarella:  This is my 38th year as a UIL theatre adjudicator.  I honestly have loved every minute of my participation as an adjudicator, and my active involvement in TTAO.  I believe the time and efforts I have invested in TTAO are the most significant contributions I have made as a professional educator.  Rarely do we find ourselves in a position to change policy and to be a part of change that benefits students and educators.  My service on TTAO’s board of directors, as a member, chair and past chair for twelve years was a wonderful experience.  I have also served on the Standards and Practices committee three different times.  I have seen TTAO evolve in so many positive ways.  TTAO has helped UIL-OAP become more student centered and the focus is now how to NOT disqualify a high school production.  I was part of the original group of TTAO members to help outline and structure what is now our policy on panel judging.  This was a significant change in creating the intent of TTAO to be responsive to students and directors who asked for change that would make them more responsive to objective judging in UIL-OAP. As evidenced by the many changes that are made each year our work to be a better organization is nowhere complete. Adoption of our Core Values shows the intent of TTAO to have transparency in how we operate and to take ownership of our policies.  I would like to be part of the forward thinking that has made TTAO an organization that has served the educational community and promotes educational theatre. 

Yvonne Phillips-Dupree – Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

“My Life in Three Acts”

Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; Hamlet [Act Three scene two]

I found my voice early one Sunday morning while performing my first Easter speech.  Hearing the applause, I dashed back to the stage and performed the speech three more times! After that, words became my constant friend; they were the tools with which I would challenge my students for the remainder of my teaching career. In August of 2012, I retired after 36 years in education.

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutorHamlet [Act Three scene two]

Passion and persistence have been the consistent guideposts that have generated my    successes.  They include: Outstanding Young Educator, and Teacher of the Year, on two separate campuses. My UIL One Act Plays advanced to the state meet five times, and I have directed plays in such theatrical venues as the Encore, the Ensemble, and the Obsidian Theatres. Furthermore, two of my students won the Houston Shakespeare Festival and advanced to competition at Lincoln Center. 

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action   Hamlet [Act Three scene two]

 Today, I am now a theater consultant and a UIL OAP Adjudicator. As I travel to sites to conduct professional development trainings with theater educators across the state or witness the first OAP competitions of the season, I am in awe and anticipation of the favors that life has given me.   In gratitude… “my words fly up”…Hamlet [Act Three scene three]