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Online voting takes place between December 1-15 through Election Buddy.
Last updated: December 18, 2022
*Scott Allen is elected with 50.24% of the vote.
Jill Hays Ludington is a veteran of education who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English Education from West Texas A&M University, a Master of Arts in Theatre from Texas A&M University in Commerce, and a Masters in Education from West Texas A&M University where she has been a Theatre Education Instructor for 10 years. Jill has genuinely enjoyed guiding and growing future theatre educators, preparing them to teach our youth in public schools. Advising, field supervising, and teaching aspiring theatre educators has allowed Jill to connect schools all over Texas with trained, passionate theatre teachers. Prior to teaching at WTAMU, Jill was Theatre Director at Randall High School. Her program advanced to all levels of competition, including Randall’s first appearance at State, placing 2nd Runner-Up. She is humbled by the opportunities she was afforded to grow these programs, and proud of her efforts in improving their quality of work.
Jill is a certified TTAO Adjudicator and Contest Manager and has had the privilege of serving as a State Adjudicator four times. She is honored to have served on the TTAO Board for four years as Communication Director- Elect and Communications Director, as well as the two years prior on the Standards and Practices Committee as Region 1 Adjudicator Representative. These years of service provided Jill the opportunity to give back to TTAO and to collaborate with others in continuing to improve our organization. She is grateful for all that she has learned from her fellow board members and from our organization’s membership. Jill wants to thank the board for the nomination to serve as TTAO President-Elect, and it would be her profound honor to have the opportunity to serve our membership in this capacity and to continue to advance the organization in serving Texas Educational Theatre.
Dr. R. Scott Allen serves an arts education nonprofit, Arts Schools Network (ASN), as Managing Director. He retired in August of 2021 after thirty years in public education, serving twelve and a half years as Principal of Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, TX. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Texas State University with an emphasis on directing. He earned his master’s and doctorate in educational administration from Sam Houston State University. Before serving at HSPVA, Scott was the principal at Mildred Jenkins Elementary School in Spring ISD and an assistant principal at Lakeland Elementary School in Humble ISD. His teaching experiences include theatre, speech, and English at the high school level. During his years of teaching, Scott spent two summers working in theatre in New York City. The highlight of this time was the opportunity to stage manage an off-Broadway production of August Strindberg’s, The Pelican.
Scott continues to be active in the Texas UIL One Act Play Competition, serving as an adjudicator each spring. He served on the Standards and Practices Committee and also was a Member at Large for the Texas Theatre Adjudicators and Officials (TTAO). Scott also served on the Board of TxETA as Secretary. Of the honors he has received, Scott is most proud of the TxETA Administrator of the Year (2019), He has also received the ASN Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award (2011) and Jeffrey Lawrence Award (2018), was named the Texas H-E-B Excellence in Education State Secondary Principal of the Year (2013), the Sam Houston State University Distinguished Educator of the Year (2019), and the Texas Speech and Communication Association’s State Educator of the Year (2001).
Scott is an avid reader and enjoys traveling with his partner, also Scott. He first ran the Houston Marathon in 2008 and has completed eight more marathons since that first 26.2 mile race. Charlie and Frankie, a spoiled golden retriever and feisty miniature dachshund, provide the daily respite from Scott and his partner’s (also Scott) schedules.
*Freddie Buckner wins with 51.01% of the vote.
Freddie Buckner taught high school and middle school theatre arts for thirty years in Texas. He has been a member of TETA for over 36 years. Mr. Buckner has been involved in UIL on all levels of One-Act Play since 1976. He has the greatest respect for high school theatre directors. He considers them to be an essential element of a thriving school. While teaching at both MacArthur and Eisenhower High Schools in Houston, his students advanced from zone through regional contests numerous times and advanced to state twice, and placing second runner-up in 2000. Since the early 80’s, his students made yearly performances at State Thespian Festivals. Over the years, students competed at Nationals at NFL, NCFl, and in T.F.A. speech tournaments. Mr. Buckner served on the U.I.L Standards and Practices Committee for One-Act Play in 2016-2017, and does Theatre Staff Development and UIL Clinics for One-Act Play. You can watch his cameo performance on Disney’s ENCORE with Eisenhower High School
Lynae Jacob has a MA in Speech and Theatre and a BS in education from West Texas State University. She has served as Director of Theatre at Tascosa High School, Amarillo High School, and Amarillo College. She was the Chair of the Communications and Theatre department at Amarillo College for ten years, and is now happily retired. She has participated in UIL one-act play at three different levels, has directed twelve one-act plays, and was a UIL actor, director and critic judge. She enjoyed serving on the TTAO Standards and Practices committee from 2012 through 2015. Most recently, Lynae has had the privilege of judging at state three times. She knows firsthand the value of educational theatre and is committed to the process because of the benefits to both directors and the young performers they touch.
Kim Hines was grateful for TTAO long before she knew it existed, back when it was still called TETA-AO. As a first year small town director with no resources, Kim’s only instructor for the season was her district adjudicator. Rightfully, he did not advance their show, but his 15-minute critique opened her eyes to endless creative possibilities. Kim subsequently directed high school theatre for nearly 20 years, and she deeply appreciates the weighty words of an AO/TTAO-trained adjudicator.
After leaving the theatre classroom, Kim satisfied the One Act Play urge by serving as an adjudicator, and has had the joy of judging from El Paso to the Texas Gulf at all levels of competition, including the 4A State meet in 2021. Grateful and honored to now be nominated for a TTAO At-Large Director position, Kim sees this as an opportunity to give back to the very organization that trained a judge all those years ago to change directors’ lives.
Kim holds a Master of Arts in Theatre from Texas A&M Commerce and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M. Her dream job is to advocate full-time for theatre in small rural school districts, teaching them that theatre uniquely offers all students a place of belonging, and that it creates beautifully heterogeneous, lifelong families.
*Jill Henson wins with 37.57% of the vote.
Jabari Collins is currently serving his 10th year as technical director for G. W. Carver Magnet High, and the award winning Panther Players troupe #6753. Jabari received the Texas Educator’s Theatre Association 2021 Secondary teacher of the Year. In 2015, he was selected, as G.W. Carver High School is 2015 Teacher of the Year & was a district secondary teacher of the year finalist. Jabari is the proud parent of Cameron Lee Collins and an Iraq war veteran of the United States Army. Jabari received his bachelors of art (2003) and his Master’s in Education Administration (2021) from Prairie View A&M University.
Jabari trained closely under the tutelage of the legendary Professor C. Lee. Turner, where he met his co-worker Roshunda Jones. During his limited free time, Mr. Collins works as an actor, technician, and independent scenic contractor, collaborating with numerous organizations within the Houston area. He often works for IATSE Local 51and is a stage manager & lead technician with generations AV. He is the founding board secretary for Shabach Enterprise and Production manager/technical director for “Fade to Black”, the first playwright festival for African American playwrights Houston. His directorial & choreographic credits include Jelly’s Last Jam, Once On this Island, Ghost, Hairspray, Memphis, In the Heights, Color Purple, Little Shop of Horrors, Porgy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Me Nobody Knows, Thoughts of a Colored Man, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, The Face of Emmett Till, & To Be Young Gifted & Black, Carmen Jones, Sister Act, The Diviners, Holy Ghost, & Dreamgirls. He is a certified UIL contest manager, UIL technical design adjudicator,
member of USITT, and house manager/ adjudicator for Texas Thespians.
Jared Berry (he/him/his) is Houston ISD’s Fine Arts Curriculum Specialist for Theatre. Mr. Berry holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Wright State University, an M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and Principal Certification from Lamar University. Previous to his current position, Mr. Berry was the Magnet Coordinator at Pin Oak Middle School. Before moving to administration, Mr. Berry was the Director of Theatre at Pin Oak for eight years. Other teaching credits include serving as second-in-charge of Drama at Shenfield High School in Brentwood, Essex, England and as Assistant Director of Theatre at The M.B. Lamar IB World High School in Houston. Mr. Berry is active in Texas’ U.I.L. One Act Play contest as a certified adjudicator and has served in various capacities with the Texas Educational Theatre Association (TxETA), most recently serving on the communications committee. Organizational memberships include the Texas Theatre Administrators Conference (TTAC), Texas Theatre Adjudicators and Officials (TTAO), Texas Music Administrators Conference (TMAC), and the Texas Educational Theatre Association (TxETA).
Jill Henson has been a high school theatre director since 2005. Additionally she has taught Speech and Debate, US History, and Dual Credit US History. She has competed in One-Act Play at all levels of competition, taking shows to the State Meet in 2008, 2009, and 2022. Jill has been hosting and managing OAP contests since 2012. Currently, she is theatre director and forensics coach at Centerville Jr/Sr High School. She loves the UIL OAP process for the confidence and relationship opportunities it offers to junior high and high school students. Jill and her husband Oscar enjoy traveling but also the quiet life in the woods with their three kids, the cows, their dog Pepper, seven cats, and two geese.
*Norma Thomas wins with 50.7% of the vote.
Leander ISD, Retired
BSE in Education from Mary Hardin Baylor
MA with emphasis in directing from Texas State University
Linda has over thirty-five years’ experience directing on the high school level. During that time, she was a Regional qualifier 19 times as well as making 4 state appearances. Linda has been awarded the UIL-Southwestern Bell Excellence Award as well as the KEYE Silver Apple Award. In 2015 Linda was inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame and in 2019 she was named Texas Theatre Educator of the Year. Many of Linda’s former students are working professionally in theatre and film in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, as well as being successful theatre teachers at the secondary and university levels of educational theatre. Linda understands the process of directing and is passionate about the value of Theatre Education and One Act Play. She is honored to be a TTAO Adjudicator.
Norma J. Thomas, arts educator and arts entrepreneur, like most, began her relationship with UIL in high school; in fact, having started down a teenage road to hell and destruction, only to be saved by the honorable Professor C. Lee Turner and the UIL OAP experience, she considers herself a UIL success story. Thus, she believes strongly in the process. She has, as a classroom teacher, directed Middle School and High School UIL contest shows, and served, for five years, as UIL Specialist in the Houston Independent School District. In addition to offering her services as UIL OAP Adjudicator, Contest Manager, and Clinician, Norma T. teaches private acting and dance classes, conducts workshops, provides consultations, and produces theatre and film independently. A published writer, Norma is very proud to be a 2022 (H Place) and 2018 (Personifications) TxETA PlayFest winner. She is Past President of the C. Lee Turner Black Theatre Educators’ Caucus, a member of the Texas Educational Theatre Association, serves on the TTAO Core Values Committee, owner-director of NT Studios & Conservatory, and is actively engaged in Arts and Community related organizations. She likes to say, “The Sciences create thinkers, the Social Studies create citizens, the Arts create human beings.”
*Scott Tipton wins with 69.41% of the vote.
Scott Tipton holds a BFA with an emphasis in Acting/Directing from Texas Tech University. He taught theatre and directed for twenty years. Five of his UIL OAP productions advanced to the State Meet including two champions. Scott has directed over 75 productions in environments ranging from an old gym floor to professional venues. During his formative years, he discovered theatre while living in London. Despite this early introduction, it was his involvement in the educational theatre community of Texas that inspired his service to students and educators. Scott is a past member of the UIL Advisory Board and a former Associate Director for the All-State Production (Texas Thespians). He feels fortunate to have been nominated to represent his colleagues in continued service to TTAO.
Trent Van Meter
Trent Van Meter has been a part of UIL OAP for over 30 years as an actor, director, contest manager, adjudicator, and state contest worker. He received his Bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Texas Tech University, and his Masters degree in Educational Leadership from West Texas A$M University. He currently serves as Elementary Principal at Aspermont ISD, where he also teaches junior high and high school theater, directs junior high and high school One Act Play, and is the prose and poetry coach for junior high and high school as well. He is married to Shasta and has three kids: Karlie, Keltyn, and Mylee. He loves the confidence that OAP instills in every student involved in the process, and the camaraderie he experiences from directors all across the state.
*Yadira Gonzalez wins with 57.69% of the vote.
Mr. Cade Butler currently serves as member of TTAO. He has been involved in the One-Act Play Contest as a student, director, contest stage manager, contest manager, clinician, and adjudicator over the past 20 years. After having the privilege of teaching many wonderful students over his 11 years in the classroom, he currently serves Frisco ISD as the Coordinator of Fine Arts for Theatre and Dance. In this role, he seeks to promote the 12 high school and 17 middle school theatre programs with curricular and programmatic support. Service and leadership are qualities that he has admired in so many TTAO Board Members over the years, and he hopes that he can follow in the footsteps of these incredible servants and advocates of Texas Theatre Arts.
Yadira Gonzalez (she/her/ella) is a native of the lower Rio Grande Valley. She has studied at St. Edwards University and with the Maestro Arts Project. She has over 15 years of experience in education, including four years, working with Dallas ISD as a Theatre art Teacher, Director, New Teacher Mentor, and Lead Facilitator. She has earned the distinction of being a TEA- Recognized Teacher for her work at Hillcrest High School over the last 3 years. As an educator, director, and first-generation Mexican America, Yadira believes theatre should be accessible to all and hopes to empower others through theatre and the arts. As the Education and Community Action Manager at Cara Mía Theatre, Yadira strives to empower students’ voices through Latinx Theatre. Her work includes creating lessons for teachers and teaching artists focusing on elevating their students’ voices and stories. Her work in the community focuses on bringing all people, regardless of background and experiences, together so that their voices can be heard regarding various topics, from abolition and immigration to racial healing and community awareness.
*Melissa Utley wins with 48.61% of the vote.
Melissa Utley has been a theatre enthusiast since her parents took her to see Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in the third grade, changing the trajectory of her entire life. She holds a BA from Baylor University in Speech/Film Production and an MFA in Directing/Theatre from Texas State University. After competing in the one-act play competition as a student, she went on to ten satisfying years of teaching and directing high school theatre (including two 5A State appearances in 2011 and 2012). Additionally, she has studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. After teaching acting and directing at Texas State University, Melissa now freelances as a full time writer and part time director in San Antonio, recently receiving a ATAC Globe Award for Excellence in Directing. Now an adjudicator, her love for theatre and the one-act play competition continues!
Warm Salutations to The Texas Educational Theatre community. It is with great responsibility that I, Christopher J Fernandez, humbly accept my nomination to serve as region four Standards and Practices Committee member at large. I attended Prairie View A&M University where I studied Theatre under the direction of the late C. Lee Turner. After graduating with my Bachelors of Arts in Drama, I moved to Los Angeles, California where I attended The University of Southern California. Once I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre I moved back to my hometown, El Paso. I taught High School Theatre and directed UIL One Act Play for eleven years. Four years in El Paso and seven years in The Rio Grande Valley. I currently serve as the Director of Fine Arts for Weslaco ISD. Rules, Regulations, Procedures, Equity and Integrity are key words I live by, all in the name of protecting our most valuable asset, our students.
Prof. Mark Stringham
2022-2023 UIW Theatre Season:
BOY by Anna Ziegler
Oct. 7-9, 13-15
Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson
Nov. 11-13, 16-18
Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
The Reluctant Dragon by Margaret Mitchell
Apr. 14-16, 19-20 & 22
Joel has been a lecturer of communication for more than a decade at The University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley where he was nominated as UT Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2020. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication studies, and a master’s degree in theatre. Joel currently serves on the board for the Palm Awards (a theatrical award for high school students in the RGV), as a UIL One Act Play adjudicator (a role he has enjoyed for eight years), and has spoken at numerous conferences regarding theatre and communication studies. Finally, Joel is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of All Star Theatre, a non-profit theatre company in McAllen, Texas.
*Gary Davis wins with 58.64% of the vote.
Gary Davis has been a public school educator for 33 years. He has a degree in Advertising Art & English, as well as a Masters degree in Educational Administration. He served as a campus principal for 9 years and a school district superintendent for 8. Prior to becoming an administrator, he taught Speech and Theatre in Texas and New Mexico. His students achieved many honors in UIL theatre and speech competitions. In 10 years of UIL competition, his shows advanced to regional 8 times and to the UIL State One-act play contest twice. He is a former member of the Texas Educational Theatre Association’s Advisory Board and a former Chair of TxETA’s UIL Advisory Committee. In 2018, Mr. Davis was selected as the Administrator of the Year by TxETA. He has served in all capacities of the UIL OAP contest including: student actor, director, contest manager, clinician, adjudicator. He served on the Conference 5A UIL State OAP contest judging panel. He retired as a school superintendent in 2020. He is an avid, life-long supporter of the UIL and all of its co-curricular activities.
Richard Jeffery attended Amarillo College, West Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and the University of Texas at El Paso. He has over 44 years of teaching experience in Amarillo, El Paso and Lubbock. He taught 29 years at Canutillo High School, teaching speech and directing theater. His students have won numerous awards in UIL Academics, One Act Play and National Speech & Debate Association. He has advanced in all areas including district, area, regionals, state and NSDA nationals. He was name teacher of the year for his school three times and district once. Mr. Jeffery has been a UIL contest manager since 2006. His goal is for all students to embrace educational theater and doing their very best.
Micah Green is the Fine Arts Coordinator of Theatre & Dance for Arlington Independent School District and is a member of TxETA, TMAC, TTAO and TTAC.
Prior to joining the Fine Arts Admin team, Micah was a teacher at Arlington High School, which is also his alma mater, for ten years. While serving on the Colt faculty, he started as a Speech teacher for four years before transitioning over to become the Director of Theatre for six years. During his tenure as the Director of Theatre, Micah produced numerous plays and musicals, as well as achieved a plethora of OAP District Championships and advancements to the Region contest level. Many of his students have gone on to become industry professionals, even starring on Broadway!
In his life before Education, Micah went to college at Oklahoma City University earning a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Musical Theatre. While in college he started working as a professional actor, becoming a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City to begin his career in the entertainment industry. During this chapter of life, Micah performed in musicals all over the country, sang with various symphonies, and even had a stint sailing the high seas with Disney Cruise Lines. After deciding to put performing aside, Micah began work as a casting assistant with Binder Casting, working on numerous broadway shows and national tours.
Currently, Micah serves as the district liaison to Theatre Arlington, as well as performing on it’s stage and other stages in the DFW area. His pride and joy is his “chug”, Nugget. Micah places a high value on giving back to the artistic and educational community, especially within Arlington; a place where he grew up and was molded into the artist he is today.
*Henrietta Haynes wins with 50.35% of the vote.
Haynes is Currently Teaching Junior High Theater in Conroe ISD. Haynes has taught high school Theatre for 32 years. Her passion for theatre and OAP is displayed in her philosophy: To teach students to use your imagination and dream .. Dream Big! I love the following quote. Your Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
Bio and headshot not available at time of publication.