Distinguished Leader in Theatre Education
Jeana Whitaker is an award-winning actor, director, writer and educator. She graduated magna cum laude from Columbus State University in 1991 with a B.S. in Secondary Education and received her M.A. from Prescott College in 2001 in Theater Education. As a college student Jeana was an Irene Ryan Nominee for her performance as the Stepdaughter “Six Characters in Characters in Search of an Author.” She also received an award for Student Teacher of the Year from CSU.
Throughout her teaching career of more than 25 years, Jeana has taught English and Literature, Theatre, Technical Theatre, Video Production, Journalism, Public Speaking and Debate. Always looking for new challenges, she has created theatre programs for incarcerated youth with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, served as Artistic Director for the nationally renowned Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem, managed the educational programs for Arizona Theatre Company and Chaired the Theatre Conservatory for the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts.
She has coached and directed many students for regional one-act competitions, National Forensic League, Educational Theatre Association (Thespians), High School Musical Theatre Competition (Jimmy Awards), English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition and the SUU High School Shakespeare Competition. Her students have competed at local, regional, state and national levels; winning multiple awards. In addition, Jeana’s students have won numerous college admissions and scholarship awards to study theatre at institutions including the University of Arizona, University of Nevada Las Vegas, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, California Institute of the Arts, New York University, and Columbia University. Jeana was awarded the honor of Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Thespians in 2016.
Her greatest passion is the performance of Shakespeare’s works. She has studied Shakespeare extensively through the Globe Theatre of London, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival and through continuing education courses in universities. She is a Master Educator of Shakespeare performance for individual students or full productions and is an exceptional audition coach to help students prepare the crucial classical monologue.
To be an exceptional educator, one must also be consistently learning. Jeana is always looking for new learning opportunities, whether it is writing a book of curriculum for first-year teachers, studying Shakespeare performance, or moving to Europe to study varied cultures, you will always find Jeana discovering something new. Most recently, she earned her TEFL teaching certificate and has begun using her background in performance to help business and academic clients improve their English language skills.
As a writer, Jeana has written everything from grant applications to press releases and from stage productions to content articles. However, her specialty lies in curriculum development for original courses. As a life-long educator, she is able to apply sound principles for learning into any course subject.
In addition to a life-long career of teaching, Jeana has worked in television and film, including work for HBO, Granada Films, ESPN, Fox Sports West and Entertainment Tonight.