Open Forum

Tech Support District Structure

  • 1.  Tech Support District Structure

    Posted 06-08-2019 12:53
    Edited by Kandace McGowan 06-08-2019 13:45
    What is the structure in your district for technical support at the high school level? What positions do you have that support the building?

    We have 3 high schools in our district that each have a drama director and a technical director. The TD has 10 hours a week of paid classified time to support the building, plus a stipend to support the drama program productions. (These 10 hours just started this spring and will continue next school year.) The district wants to hire an additional "overseer" position that would essentially be in charge of all of the building and TDs as well. Curious if this is a common structure for other districts and how this works.

    I wanted to get other perspectives from other districts (and professionals, as I know they are on these boards) to compare. What are your thoughts? They're asking for my feedback, and I have some ability to change this.

    Here is the job description:

    This position is for a District Theater Overseer/Coordinator to support directors, staff and students in the use our high school theater facilities. This person would be supporting building personnel with technical needs, rigging, lighting, and overall theater function for Options, Sehome, Bellingham and Squalicum High Schools. This position would help building staff with inspecting of facilities for safety and ADA compliance, inventory, ordering and requesting improvements. During the school year this position would be monitoring and routinely checking in with the leads in the performance spaces for needs, safety oversight, and coordination.  However, much of this work may happen during the summer as staff prepare their spaces for the following year.  This position will also assist with theater scheduling coordination as needed. 


    Drama Teacher

  • 2.  RE: Tech Support District Structure

    Posted 06-08-2019 16:50
    There have been several threads here recently about the huge difference between a building manager and a theater technical director, so you're probably going to get a lot of responses and opinions.

    If your district wants to hire another person, you may want to consider hiring someone who is skilled and experienced in theatrical technical work (ideally with a degree in the subject) instead of another facilities-engineer type of person. That way you're covered for both the building needs and the theatrical needs.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 3.  RE: Tech Support District Structure

    Posted 06-09-2019 18:31
    As a High School Theatre Operations Consultant let me first say KUDOS to your district for the staffing support it is providing to your high schools!  For anyone reading this who is in the process of working with your district to provide staffing for your theatre, this job description (albeit very vague) is a good preliminary working model.

    Some districts do have an 'overseer', and a better term for that would be "Theatre Manager".  It could be a good working model to have one District Theatre Manager and a TD at each school as long as the duties were well defined and you differentiate the Theatre Manager from the TD positions (which the first draft of this job description does not).

    As George mentions there is a difference between the skill sets and job duties of a Theatre Manager and a TD. While both positions require that the person know about the theatrical process, has a tech theatre background, and an understanding of the unique requirements of educational theatre, a Theatre Manager position is more paperwork oriented and this person should also have a management background as well, while a TD position is more hands-on oriented and this person should be more technically inclined (running equipment, repairs, and so on).  Usually a good TD does not always make a good Theatre Manager (they don't like the paperwork involved), but a good Theatre Manager without strong technical skills can do a good job if they rely on and trust their technicians and/or TD to do their jobs well. If you don't have the right person for each position, or if these positions are combined, this can cause a high turn over rate. (That's not to say that there are some people out there who excel at both management and have technical inclinations, but they are diamonds in the rough.)

    As George also mentions, there have been several posts regarding staffing a school theatre and the difference between Theatre Managers and TDs.  Some recent subject lines  (in no particular order) to search for (there is a search bar on the top right hand corner of the EdTA discussion board pages) are:

    -  Questions in Building a Theater

    -  TD Interview Questions

    -  staffing budget

    Also check out the Gold Standard Schools page on my website at for ideas about staffing a high school theatre.

    Kandace, I will also consult with you directly about some ideas I have for you.

    Beth Rand, EBMS
    Educational Lighting Designer
    School Theatre Operations Coach

    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS ONLINE COURSE ( - NEW! INDEPENDENT STUDY for those who don't have time to join a cohort!
    Westminster, CO