Dr. Jennifer Katona has been named the new executive director of the Educational Theatre Association, with her tenure set to begin in early September.
Katona joins the organization, home to the International Thespian Society and sister organization of the Educational Theatre Foundation, following more than three decades as a theatre educator, teaching artist, advocate, scholar, administrator, and consultant. She founded and served as director of The City College of New York's graduate program in Educational Theatre, and most recently worked with Norwalk Public Schools in Connecticut as senior manager of visual and performing arts and grants manager, along with working as a consultant and advisor to state-level departments of education, school districts, philanthropic initiatives, and other entertainment industry companies. Katona is also an alum of the International Thespian Society via South Hadley High School in her home state of Massachusetts.
"I am profoundly excited for this opportunity to lead EdTA, a vital organization committed to providing quality theatre education to all students and supporting theatre teachers, especially during this critical moment in schools," says Katona. "As we move into the future following unprecedented challenges, we have great opportunities and a responsibility to support our teachers so that they can uplift their students by providing safe spaces for student expression and artistic exploration."
Katona's leadership will further EdTA's work supporting and increasing access to theatre education in schools nationwide. The appointment was the culmination of a nationwide search conducted by a committee led by EdTA Board Vice President Krista Carson-Elhai and ETF Board of Trustees Chair Matt Conover and in consultation with Carlyn Madden of Good Insight. Katona succeeds former Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald, who left last year to become executive director of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.