Texas High School Teacher Takes Home Tony Award for Excellence in Theater Education
A Texas high school drama teacher was honored on Broadway's most illustrious stage over the weekend.
Roshunda Jones-Koumba of G. W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston received the 2022 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Sunday night.
The Excellence in Theatre Education Award was co-founded in 2014 by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to recognize a K-12 theater educator in the U.S. who has "demonstrated exemplary impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession."
A panelist of theater experts selected Jones-Koumba, now in her 18th year of teaching, from among more than 5,000 entries.
"I have been in awe of her vision; her tireless work ethic; the countless hours; blood, sweat, tears, money, food that she's given to her students in the community around her," one student said. "And she taught us, usually black and brown kids from inner-city communities, that we could do anything."
In addition to teaching, Jones-Koumba serves as a director at the G. W. Carver Theatre. Under her direction, the Panther Players Troupe #6753 has earned multiple regional and national awards. Jones-Koumba is also a past recipient of the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award; the International Thespian Society Inspirational Theatre Educator Award; and was recently inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame.
"Our students are doing amazing things. Many are working actors on stage and on television; some are continuing their education; some are pursuing careers outside of performing. In theatre we accept all, so you're not afraid to be yourself. And that gives you confidence to do anything you want, enables you to work with different people, and to be a better all-around person," Jones-Koumba said in a statement. "Theatre is Life. I'm very grateful to The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University for this honor."
Jones-Koumba received $10,000 for G. W. Carver Magnet High School's theatre program and tickets to the Tony Awards and Gala. Her students will also receive a visiting Master Class taught by CMU Drama professors.