Theatre Educator Awards

About the Theatre Educator Awards
The Enquirer/Fifth Third Bank Theatre Educator Award in partnership with The League of Cincinnati Theatres shines a spotlight on great high school and university teachers in the region. The winning nomination – and teacher – is awarded $2,500 for the school theater program.

Students, parents and theater supporters are eligible to make nominations, which can be submitted through April 6, 2013. Tell your theater program's story in a nomination, which can be written or submitted on video. Be creative. Support materials including photo essays are welcome.


Download Nomination Form


A winning STUDENTentry will receive 2013-2014 student subscriptions to several area theaters including Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Know Theatre.

“Most performers would point to a high school or college teacher as being the biggest influence in their career,” says panel chair Dee Anne Bryll. “This is a wonderful way to recognize these people and their contribution to our arts community.”


Bryll served as Theatre Arts Coordinator of College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department Drama/Musical Theatre program from 1996-2010 and holds faculty positions at Northern Kentucky University, School for Creative and Performing Arts and St. Ursula Academy. She works as a freelance choreographer, director and performer in the Cincinnati area.


Nominations should explain:

  • Why your teacher is outstanding.
  • How your teacher inspires and motivates students to excel.
  • How your teacher encourages students.
  • How your teacher sets the bar high.
  • Why productions and accomplishments are exceptional.
  • Why your teacher has truly made a difference in your life.


Panelists include

Diane Carr
On faculty at CCM Prep, a Cappies of Greater Cincinnati board member and coordinator of educational opportunities for theater teachers and students through the Educational Theatre Association.

Steve Finn
Director of Education & Community Relations at Cincinnati Arts Association which serves more than 75,000 students regionally.

Mark Lutwak
Education director of Cincinnati Playhouse, where he oversees the Playhouse's educational programming, which reaches over 60,000 young people and families annually. From 1999 to 2005, he was Artistic Director at Honolulu Theatre for Youth.


Russ Schnurr
Vice-President of Institutional Brokerage at Fifth Third Bank and a theater education advocate.



11-12 Theatre Educator Award
John Whapham

John Whapham

Sycamore High School
"I've learned more from Mr. (John) Whapham than from any other teacher I've had," said Sycamore High School junior Carmel Rechnitzer. " I love how Mr. Whapham treats students with respect, asks for our input, and genuinely listens to us. ...This freedom to explore is something that teenagers rarely experience."

Whapham, who has been at Sycamore for seven years, gives students the opportunity to direct in an annual One-Act Play Competition, and Sycamore now participates in a one-act festival. "He mentors students to become self sufficient actors and technicians."

Rechnitzer applauded his teacher for his dedication "to good theater, good education, and to our success" and for his ability to establish "an environment where people act with motivation and commitment because they can see clearly that their efforts do not go unnoticed and unrecorded."

10-11 Theatre Educator Award
Lisa Bodollo

Lisa Bodollo

Mother of Mercy High School
Lisa Bodollo's mantra is "Dare to be remarkable," wrote student Mariele Fluegeman, to "every student she teaches, every actor she directs, and every techie she encourages."

Fluegeman wrote Bodollo "uses every possible resource to build worlds in spaces big or small" in Mercy's "vintage" theater. She coaches Mercy students for the Overture and Cincinnati Shakespeare competitions and for four consecutive years through 2011, a Mercy student won the Shakespeare competition.

Bodollo involves her own students and the larger community in theater. Freshman drama students participate in the Freshman One-Acts (written by junior drama students); all sophomores produce the Sophomore Musical.

Through Senior Kids Tour, seniors write and produce a short show that performs at area grade schools. Bodollo also produces an annual Theatreworks summer day camp and Young Actors' Academy after-school program.

"Mercy students assist with both programs, great learning and teaching experiences," Fluegeman added.

09-10 Theatre Educator Award
Michele Mascari

Michele Mascari

St. Xavier High School
"Michele Mascari," writes nominator Joe Markesbery, "is the heart and soul of Theatre Xavier."

The St. X program is known for the challenging work it takes on, for cast crew and audiences, and, Joe tells us, "She has an incredible gift of being able to see how every facet of a show should look and feel."

Michele is known just as much for "the welcoming and accepting community" she has built over almost three decades, even as she has built the theater program.

"To be a community, Ms. Mascari teaches us, we must collaborate with the other students and with the adults who guide us. Her leadership makes sure that this happens every day, every rehearsal, every performance. ... She draws us together and brings us to excellence."

08-09 Theatre Educator Award
Emily Himonidis

Emily Himonidis

St. Henry High School
"My teacher rocks my socks," Kaitlin Staverman wrote, applauding Emily Himondis for always reminding students that "it is not the leads the make a show great; it's also the cast that backs them up."

Himonidis, Staverman continues, "includes everyone, especially the students who don't feel like they fit in any place else and often they don't."

Over the past four years, Himonidis has adopted three children from Guatemala, "but she gives up hundreds of hours with them to be at play practice." "She's made a difference in my life by helping me to break out of my shell. She taught me that it's okay to be yourself and to make sure you have fun in whatever you do."

07-08 Theatre Educator Award
Tom Peters

Tom Peters

Walnut Hills High School
Student Chloe Williamson calls Tom Peters "a Renaissance man . . . he balances a full class load (from basic drama to advanced theater), running school assemblies, multiple plays (sometimes simultaneously), he designs and builds sets, arranges the music and blocks scenes, leaving room for actors' ideas and instincts.

Even with such a hectic schedule, everything and everyone gets individual attention."

Benjamin Quinn writes that "at 6:45 on a brisk Saturday morning" Tom picked him up to rehearse a monologue and a sonnet for a Shakespeare competition, and rehearsed more every lunch period. And this wasn't unique-six Walnut Hills students have made it to the New York finals in the last 10 years.

Benjamin adds that Tom Peters' best teaching method is "his kindness." Chloe Williamson thanks Tom because the lessons one learns in theater are lessons about life "and the most useful as I leave high school."

06-07 Theatre Educator Award
Allison Pulskamp

Allison Pulskamp

Taylor High School

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