Roshunda Jones of G.W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston, Texas, and Holly Stanfield of Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are the dual recipients of the 2021 Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award, presented by The ASCAP Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association.
Now in its second year, the award honors exceptional high- and middle-school musical theatre teachers and includes a $5,000 cash prize. The award is made possible by a grant funded by the Annenberg Foundation in honor of Stephen Schwartz.
The award was presented June 24 during the virtual International Thespian Festival by Schwartz, Lynn Ahrens, and Andrew Lippa.
Jones' 16-year career as a theatre teacher has included 85 Tommy Tune Award nominations and 11 wins.
"Musical theatre has a unique way of bringing people together from different backgrounds and experiences to create theatre magic," said Jones. "I’m an advocate for arts education everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much funding or support you have; magic can be created with determination and creativity."
Stanfield, with her more than 30 years as a theatre educator, has twice been a finalist for the Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award.
"The support and engagement that I have found in EdTA have meant a lot to me,” shared Stanfield in accepting the honor. "The experiences our students have had at festival, in our home troupe, and in our state have changed them in ways they do not fully comprehend yet. What we do is important for our students and our communities. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of the community that we create with our craft. It is a privilege to be part of this vibrant and giving EdTA community."
Established last year, the Wicked, Pippin, and Godspell composer created the honor to recognize the ways that theatre education impacts lives. “Theatre teachers help to not just bring theatre, but bring empathy and the ability to think, to work together as a group, and understand other people," Schwartz shared . "These are things so desperately needed in our country right now that go way, way beyond theatre and musical theatre."