Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The EdTA board of directors comprises eight elected members, including the president and vice president, and three appointed members. The vice president/president serves a five-year term, two as VP, two as president, and one as past president. Other elected members serve three-year terms and may be re-elected for a total service of six years. Appointed members serve one four-year term. 

Board Role

The EdTA board is a governing board (not a working board). What does a governing board do?

  • Sets direction: Reviews EdTA’s mission to ensure that it remains a guidepost, establishes strategic goals and priorities, plans for the future.
  • Ensures and protects resources: The board is responsible for protecting financial assets, physical assets, reputation, and image.
  • Provides oversight: Ensures policies are in place to evaluate infrastructure, programs, and services.
  • Engages in outreach: Understands, interprets, and communicates the diverse needs of the membership. Board directors act as ambassadors and advocates of the mission.

The board is not an honorary post, nor is it involved in day-to-day operations — those are managed solely by the executive director, who is the board's employee. Board members must be comfortable making strategic and sometimes-difficult decisions that affect the entire membership.

Have a concern or compliment to share with the EdTA board or staff?

The board has provided
this feedback form for members' use.

Your EdTA Board

PRESIDENT

Helen Duranleau-Brennan

Helen Duranleau-Brennan

President

Term: 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2024

Literacy and arts consultant | Davenport, IA

Duranleau-Brennan is the literacy and arts consultant with Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. She was formerly the theatre and speech director at Davenport North and Davenport Assumption High School, and is a former Iowa Thespians board member and chapter director. She also helps to lead EdTA’s Advocacy Leadership Network.

Email: hbrennan@schooltheatre.org



VICE PRESIDENT

Krista Carson Elhai

Krista Carson Elhai

Vice President

Term: 7/1/2021 – 6/30/2026

Theatre educator | Claremont, CA

A 37-year theatre educator, Elhai retired from Claremont High School in 2021. She has been a California state Thespian board member for 27 years, 11 as chapter director. She’s currently past president of the board of the California Educational Theatre Association. She served two terms on the EdTA board and is a trustee of the Educational Theatre Foundation.

Email: kelhai@schooltheatre.org




PAST PRESIDENT

Gai Laing Jones

Gai Laing Jones

Past President

Term: 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2022

Theatre educator, author | Ojai, CA

Jones is a longtime theatre educator having served for 34 years as theatre and troupe director at El Dorado High School, in addition to instructing at several California colleges, theatres, workshops, and festivals as a teaching artist. She is the founder of CA Youth in Theatre and esteemed author of Raising the Curtain, Activities for the Theatre Arts Classroom and Break a Leg, Tips for the Theatre Educator. She has also served EdTA as California chapter director and EdTA board director.

Email: gjones@schooltheatre.org


BOARD MEMBERS

Jeff Whiting

Jeff Whiting

Treasurer

Term: 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2023

Director and choreographer | NY, NY

Whiting is a director and choreographer with credits on Broadway (Bullets Over Broadway, Big Fish, Scottsboro Boy), Television (Disney’s Magical Moments Parade), special events (James Taylor Live, Stro! Gala Honoring Susan Stroman), opera (We Open In Paris), and concerts around the world. Whiting is the creator and founder of Stage Write Software and the founding artistic director of the music theatre training program, The Open Jar Institute.

Email: jwhiting@schooltheatre.org









Erin Carr

Erin Carr

Board Director

Term: 7/1/2020 - 6/30/2023

Theatre practitioner |
Cincinnati, OH

Erin Carr (she/her) works as a theatre practitioner, physical theatre coordinator, and body language consultant. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Carr holds a BFA in theatre and is currently working on her MBA. She has been an EdTA professional member, working as a teaching artist around the U.S., since 2012 and is a Thespian alum of Troupe 5433.

Email: ecarr@schooltheatre.org










Monique Chism

Monique M. Chism, Ph.D.

Board Director

Term: 9/25/2021 - 6/30/2024

Smithsonian Institution | Upper Marlboro, MD

Dr. Chism is the Under Secretary for Education at the Smithsonian Institution and in this role she helps define and oversee the Institution’s educational priorities to benefit learners of all ages. As a former teacher, state administrator, and federal policymaker she brings a unique lens and experience to the work, with a focus on equity and systems change. Previously, Chism was the vice president for education policy and strategic initiatives at the American Institutes for Research. Prior to that she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. In both organizations she led teams focused on promoting academic excellence and enhancing educational opportunities for all children and families. Chism holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, both in interpersonal and public communication, and a doctorate from Michigan State University in American Studies. Chism also attended the School for the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Email: mchism@schooltheatre.org









Mark Drum

Mark Drum

Board Director

Term: 7/1/2020 - 6/30/2023

Theatre educator | NY, NY

A proud Junior Thespian (Troupe 88331) and Thespian (Troupe 6513) alumnus from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Drum is also a University of Northern Colorado theatre graduate, a former Michigan Thespians Student Thespian Officer, International Thespian Officer, and past New York Thespians board member. He is a Filipino immigrant, teaching artist, and theatre arts advocate currently serving as an appointed trustee for the Educational Theatre Foundation and is a 2017 recipient of the Daron Hawkins Award.

Email: mdrum@schooltheatre.org




Joannarae Rae Ibañez

Joannarae Ibañez

Board Director

Term: 5/5/2021-6/30/2024

Theatre educator and administrator | Pico Rivera, CA

An educator, director, and arts administrator, Ibañez designs accessible, inclusive arts education programming. She’s worked with various Los Angeles arts nonprofits and is founder and director of artist collective Moonlightvsn. She’s a Thespian alum and former troupe director.

Email: jibanez@schooltheatre.org









Leslie Johnson

Leslie Johnson

Board Director

Term: 7/1/2021-6/30/2025

Arts nonprofit leader | Long Beach, CA

Leslie Johnson is executive vice president of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and has three decades of experience in arts education, nonprofit management, and cultural leadership. She previously led educational, community, and audience engagement programming for Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s largest regional theaters. Johnson also helped set statewide policy priorities for arts education as board chair of the California Alliance for Arts Education.

Email: ljohnson@schooltheatre.org






Silvia C Scaife

Silvia D. Scaife

Board Director

Term: 5/5/2021-6/30/2022

Theatre educator | Auburn, AL

Scaife is the career technical education director for Auburn City Schools and festival performance coordinator on the Alabama Thespians board. She holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching and was named Auburn High School’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Email: sscaife@schooltheatre.org






Mary Schuttler

Mary Schuttler

Board Director

Term: 5/5/2021-6/30/2024

University of Northern Colorado | Greeley, CO

Schuttler is head of theatre education at University of Northern Colorado and a former EdTA vice president, president, and past president. She serves on the Colorado Thespians board and EdTA’s Education Committee. She received the EdTA Founders’ Award in 2019.

Email: mschuttler@schooltheatre.org





Scott Walker

Scott Walker

Board Director

Term: 8/1/2018-6/30/2022

Theatre educator | Milwaukie, OR

Walker has been the director of the Milwaukie High School theatre program since 1992 and is the founding teacher at the Milwaukie Academy of Arts. He is also director of Thespian Troupe 75, and the former chapter director and board member of the Oregon Thespians.

Email: swalker@schooltheatre.org





Contacting the EdTA Board

Have a question or concern to share with the EdTA board? The board welcomes members feedback on the direction, vision, and stewardship of the association by emailing President Helen Duranleau-Brennan. Please direct operational questions to our membership team at members@schooltheatre.org or (513) 421-3900 ext. 1.