State award

Natasha Tolleson, theater director at Temple High School, was recognized as the State Theatre Educator of the Year by the Texas Educational Theatre Association. She was to receive the award at a banquet in Dallas Sept. 28.

Temple High School teacher director Natasha Tolleson has been recognized as the State Theatre Educator of the Year by the Texas Educational Theatre Association.

Tolleson will receive the award at a banquet at the association’s Theatre Fest 2018 convention in Dallas Sept. 28.

“It’s very humbling — there’s lots of good theater teachers in the state, and I was very humbled and honored to be chosen,” Tolleson said.

The theater director was also honored at the Temple Independent School District board of trustees meeting this week. Christine Parks, the district’s chief of communications, said that theater is “vital” to Temple High.

“Temple’s UIL One-Act Play team has been the District Co-Champion for 26 years in a row,” Parks said. “No other UIL team at Temple High holds such a record. THS has … two state (One-Act) championships, four theatrical design state championships and one film UIL state championship.”

Tolleson has been heading up Temple High’s theater program for 27 years — one year more than the school’s 26-year winning streak.

“I’m still really enjoying my job,” Tolleson said.

This is not the first time Temple High’s theater director has been recognized. She was inducted into the Texas Thespian Hall of Fame by the Texas State Thespians in 2014 and UIL named her one of the Top 15 UIL Sponsors in 2011.

“This award is given ‘in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in the teaching of theater,’ and is given annually by TETA to up to two K through 12 teachers and two higher education teachers,” Parks said.

Parks and Superintendent Bobby Ott congratulated Tolleson for the award.

“I think several of us have been waiting for several years to say this, but it’s nice that the state of Texas has got it right this time. She is absolutely the theater teacher of the year, no question about it,” Ott said.

Staff Writer Cody Weems contributed reporting to this story.