Education Award

The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University Honor Teachers with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award

The Excellence in Theatre Education Award 2017

Submissions are now closed for 2017.

Behind every great performance is inspiration, and behind inspiration is a great teacher. 

The Tony Awards® and Carnegie Mellon University are looking for the teachers who create the next generation of theatre artists. These dedicated professionals discover talented students, nurture them, inspire them and set them off on a lifelong journey as theatre supporters and professionals.

Honoring the Teachers Who Inspire Us

Members of the public were invited to submit candidates for the 2017 Excellence in Theatre Education Award by telling the story of a theatre educator who made a difference in their lives, and the lives of others. The winning teacher will receive the Award at the 71th annual Tony Awards on June 11, and be acknowledged on the CBS telecast.

The Excellence in Theatre Education Award, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, is presented each year by the Tony Awards. This honor recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry selects the winner, based on candidates submissitted by members of the public.



The deadline for submissions for the 2017 award was Friday, February 17, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

The 2017 winner will be acknowledged at the 2017 Tony Awards ceremony. Tune in to watch on Sunday, June 11, on CBS.

The winner will be notified in advance of the ceremony

Past Winners


The 2016 winner, Marilyn McCormick was selected from among finalists across the nation. She received $10,000 for her theatre program, tickets to the Tony Awards and Plaza Hotel Gala for her and a guest, travel to New York for her and a guest, and hotel accommodations. The award finalists were announced on CBS This Morning on June 1, 2016.


2016 Winner

Marilyn McCormick

Drama Teacher/Director,
Cass Technical High School
Detroit, MI

Marilyn McCormick


2016 Finalists

Kevin G. Coleman

Director of Education
Shakespeare & Company
Lenox, MA

Kevin G. Coleman


Sarah Crowell

Artistic Director
Destiny Arts Center
Oakland, CA

Sarah Crowell


Honorable Mention


Mark Accardi
8th Grade Special Education Teacher
Montgomery Upper Middle School
Skillman, NJ

Beth Baur
Memorial High School
West New York, NJ

Dana Brazil
Director of Education
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Orlando, FL

Maryjane Burton
Competitive Drama Teacher/Drama 1 and 9 Teacher/
Performing Arts Center Director
Choctaw High School
Choctaw, OK

James Russell Cooper
Director of Choirs & Theatre
Henry County High School
New Castle, KY

Gwendolyn Couch
Chatham Hall
Chatham, VA

Harry Dietzler
Executive and Artistic Director
(Upper Darby Performing Arts Center)
and Founder & Executive Director
(Upper Darby Summer Stage)
Upper Darby, PA

Allison Galker
Edward R. Murrow High School
Brooklyn, NY

Rachel Harry
Theatre Teacher
Hood River Valley High School
Hood River, OR

Kevin Hauge
Artistic Director
Children’s Musical Theater San Jose
San Jose, CA

Nancy Lee
Director of Arts Programming
High School
Minneapolis, MN

Heather Ling
Theatre Arts and Speech Teacher
Montgomery Junior High School
Montgomery, TX

David Montee
Instructor of Theatre
Interlochen Arts 
Interlochen, MI

Ryan Olson
Bard High School Early College
Queens, NY

Toby Orenstein
Founder and Artistic Director
Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts
Columbia, MD

Troy Powell
Director of Theatre
Union High School
Tulsa, OK

Sarah Reinhardt
Program Director/Artistic Director
Cypress Academy of Performing Arts
Houston, TX

Pat Sanders
MLS Theatre Company
Amherst, OH

Holly Stanfield
Bradford High School/KUSD Theatre Arts
Kenosha, WI

Rhonda Wilson
Artistic Director/Founder and Media Specialist
Star Center Children’s Theatre,Inc.
Gainesville, FL


The recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Theatre Education Award was Corey Mitchell, Theater Arts Teacher at the Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, N.C.


Marianne Adams, Director of Education at the Grandstreet Theatre School in Helena, Montana

Donald Hicken, Theatre Department Director at the Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, Md


The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University

Revised Friday, 12 May, 2017