We are excited to share that the Board of Directors of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) announced Dr. Jennifer Katona as its next Executive Director. Dr. Katona’s appointment follows an extensive nationwide search led by Good Insight. She begins her new role in early September.
“We are pleased to welcome Jenn as the next Executive Director of the Educational Theatre Association. As we look toward our Centennial in 2029, Jenn’s leadership will keep EdTA and our members focused on the future of theatre education. Given her extensive expertise, knowledge, and networks in our field, Jenn and the EdTA team will ensure that theatre educators have the resources that they need to ensure all students can access the life-changing experience of theatre,” shared Helen Duranleau-Brennan, EdTA Board President.
As Executive Director, Dr. Katona will lead the nation’s largest association for educational theatre. Under her guidance, she will position EdTA to significantly expand access to and quality of theatre education with a forward-looking vision that aligns its members’ myriad perspectives and voices.
“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. 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” said Incoming Executive Director, Dr. Jennifer Katona.
About Dr. Jennifer Katona
Dr. Jennifer Katona has dedicated her professional life to providing all students with a quality theatre education. Dr. Katona joins EdTA to lead its efforts to shape lives through theatre education. She brings more than 30 years of experience as a theatre educator, teaching artist, advocate, scholar, administrator, and consultant.
Starting off as a middle school theatre teacher in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Katona held various roles as a teaching artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State Area. As the founding director of the Educational Theatre Graduate Program at the City College of New York, she created a leading program to develop and credential future theatre educators and was awarded the 2014 President’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Service. More recently, Dr. Katona worked for Norwalk Public Schools in Norwalk, Connecticut in several capacities, including as the Senior Manager for Visual and Performing Arts, where she was responsible for the district’s arts education policies, staffing, and program design for a K-12 pathway programming and conceptualizing of an arts-based high school.
Her contributions as a consultant have included piloting a program to increase the number of theatre teachers in Bridgeport Public Schools with the Arthur Miller Foundation, advising on the curriculum for Disney Theatrical Education and Broadway, and training for the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows and New York City Department of Education. She co-directs Immersive Arts Integration, an initiative that provides training, coaching, and design to district leaders seeking to use arts integration as a model for school transformation.
Dr. Katona also volunteered for a term on the New York Arts Advisory Council, The Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts for the New York State Department of Education, and as a theatre evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts. Her volunteer contributions to AATE were recognized with the 2015 Lin Wright Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre Education.
Dr. Katona earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from the Graduate Center at CUNY, where she studied how arts education policy can effectively contribute to sustainable arts programming in urban school districts. She earned her MA in Educational Theatre from New York University and a BA in Theatre and English Composition from Fairfield University. She lives with her husband and three children ages 4, 8, and 10 in Norwalk, Connecticut.
The Educational Theatre Association is an international nonprofit organization that serves as the professional association for theatre educators. Founded in 1929, EdTA’s mission is centered around shaping lives through theatre education by honoring student achievement in theatre, supporting educators through professional development, and influencing public opinion and policymakers on the importance of providing an enriching educational experience that is vital to building life skills like creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
About Good Insight
With a mission to connect good causes to great leaders, Good Insight is an executive search firm and governance consultancy serving the social sector. They plan leadership transitions, recruit talented senior executives, and strengthen boards of directors. Good Insight focuses on leadership searches for small and mid-sized nonprofits with a nationwide reach. To learn more, visit www.good-insight.org.