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

Craig Hertel – TTAO President

Craig Hertel has directed over 25 UIL one-act plays–including six State Champions. He is currently the Chair-Elect of TTAO, and has served as chair of UIL’s OAP Advisory Committee. He has been a Contest Manager and judge many times, including being a Contest Manager and a Judge for the State Meet. He has directed many times at the college level (including ACTF), for summer camps and for community theatre. He has also been a UIL Academic Coordinator for many years, guiding his school to 15 State Academic Championships.


Dr. Carrie Klypchak – TTAO Past President

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 actor, a professional and collegiate director, an active teaching artist, and a published performance scholar. In 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019, she was honored to serve as an OAP State Meet judge; in 2013, she was also named the University Educator of the Year by T.E.T.A. Dr. Klypchak currently serves as the Past Chair of the Texas Theatre Adjudicators and Officials organization. She has participated in the UIL OAP system as an actor, director, clinician, and judge and considers it a privilege to be a part of this important educational experience.


Yvonne Phillips-Dupree – President Elect

Yvonne J. Phillips-Dupree is a veteran of education who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA with a concentration in acting. She is currently retired from the Houston Independent School District after having dedicated many years of tireless service. Previously, she taught theater arts at Ross Sterling Senior High School for over 20 years and competed at the U.I.L. One Act Play State Meet five times. She has directed professionally at the Encore Theater, the Ensemble Theatre and the Fade to Black Theater Festival in Houston, Texas.

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 is now a 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 Communications Director-Elect

Mandy Epley is currently pursuing her PhD in School Improvement at Texas State and holds a masters degree in Education Administration from Lamar and a BFA in Acting and Directing from Sam Houston State University. Mandy serves Comal ISD as the Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives and Programs. 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.

Gary Cooper – TTAO Treasurer

Gary is a member of The University of Houston Theatre & Dance Department as an Associate Professor and Head of Theatre Education. Previously, he was a high school theatre teacher & department chair for 19 years, mostly in Klein ISD. He has been involved in the UIL OAP as a student, advancing to State twice, and as a director, advancing to Area & Region numerous times. He has a passionate love of the Arts. Gary strongly believes in the educational aspect of the UIL process, and because of this, transitioned from directing OAP to Adjudicating/Contest Managing it once he moved to higher education. He is currently proudly serving on the TTAO Board of Directors as the Treasurer.

Karen King – TTAO Treasurer-Elect and Historian

Karen holds a MA in Theatre Arts from the University of Houston and a BS in Drama/English Lit from East Texas State University. She spent 10 years directing OAP at the high school and Jr. High levels in Hillsboro, TX. She is currently the professor of Drama at Panola College. She is also a UIL OAP Certified Contest Manager. “OAP is an incredible contest with incredible directors and students. It is amazing and it is a privilege to judge the work of Texas Theatre Students.” 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 holds a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis on directing from Texas State University. He obtained his Masters of Education in Administration in 2001 and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership in 2006 from Sam Houston State University. Scott is currently the Principal of Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston ISD. Having been involved in high school OAP and having directed OAP for seven years, Scott now works around the state doing clinics and festivals for both OAP and speech competitions. In addition to his UIL OAP and Speech involvement, Scott’s background includes theatre work in New York and community theatre in Texas. He believes strongly in the educational value of the UIL OAP process and feels that a positive OAP experience teaches students unlimited life lessons.

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

Jim has judged UIL-OAP for over 37 years. He has judged at all levels including every conference at the State Contest. He is committed to making the contest a positive experience for every student and to respect each director as a fellow theatre colleague. He has seen first hand how participation in educational UIL One Act Play contests has made a significant difference in students’ lives. He has seen his tenure as a UIL judge come full circle, meeting many parents after a contest who tell him he judged their theatre production when they were in high school, and now their son or daughter is enjoying OAP as much as they did. He will continue to judge UIL-OAP with a growing expertise and compassion as long as he is relevant.

Phillip Taylor – Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

Phillip Taylor has a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from the University of Houston and a BS from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston. As a director, he advanced to the UIL One-Act Play State Meet in 2011, 2012, 2013, & 2015 winning the State Championships in 2012 and 2013. He taught high school and middle school in conferences 2A, 3A, and 4A, and 5A. He sponsored several other UIL Academic Events and coached students to the State Meet in Prose, Poetry, Persuasive Speaking, CX Debate, and the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition. He has conducted various theatre/speech workshops and OAP clinics for middle school and high school programs around the state. He also served as a TAPPS One-Act Play Regional & State Judge. He is an active member of TETA and has served on the convention staff in previous years. Currently, as the Administrative Supervisor of Fine Arts for Austin ISD, he oversees various fine arts programs and initiatives that directly support 130 campuses.