This morning I wanted to share with you a couple of things that I feel are important to us as an organization. The first is a rule that I have instructed the Secondary Division to change in the High School Theatre Festival Handbook.
Last year, the winner of the HSTF 2018 contacted us a week after conference stating that they had no resources or ability to raise resources to take their show to Southeastern Theatre Conference's High School Theatre Festival. I then learned that the rules of our Festival state that if a school is unable to attend SETC, they are banned from competing in the HSTF the following year. I spoke to both the school director and the school district's administration last November and told them I had no interest in enforcing this rule, and it was my intention to have it removed from the rules for 2019. However, I did not effectively communicate this to the Secondary Division so the Handbook for 2019 was published without this change. I bear full responsibility for this, and as much as I do not feel that rules should be bent or broken, after speaking with the Executive Director of SETC, we are in firm agreement that this rule disenfranchises many schools from participating at VTA. I have learned that some schools bring underclassman to compete at conference because they are afraid of winning. I’ve also been told that some school districts just flat out have stopped attending for fear of having to take on the financial obligation of taking their show to a national conference. I believe that this is antithetical to our mission at VTA of providing education, advocacy, and resources to theatre practitioners of every age and skill set in every corner of the commonwealth and disenfranchises schools from lower funded and lower income districts. The Executive Director of SETC shares this sentiment and is now researching whether this rule is in other member state's handbooks as well.
Also, it is with a heavy heart and fondest well wishes that we announce that we will be saying goodbye to our Executive Director, Chelsea Miller. Chelsea's husband was presented with an amazing opportunity in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and their family is in the process of relocating there. Chelsea will still be with us through the end of the year, but VTA will be hiring a new staff person with the intent that they will be an integral part of working alongside Chelsea this fall and take over the position of Executive Director on January 1, 2020. Links to the job advertisement are here and a link to the job description is located here, Resumes and Letters of Interest should be submitted to Vice President and Chair of Personnel: Matt Armentrout at email@example.com
On a personal note, what Chelsea has been able to accomplish with this organization can not be more highly commended. She took on the gargantuan task of reorganizing, planning, and executing VTA's mission for the last 12 months and has been not only a force to be reckoned with, but also has guided us with poise, grace, and compassion. I know she will be missed by our board, our partners, and our membership, and I will personally miss our midnight texts over conference planning. I could not have asked for a more perfect Executive Director during my time as President.
Thank for you for your time and break those legs!