Perpich News

Stephanie Lein Walseth, Ph.D. Honored with META Theater Educator of the Year Award

Stephanie Lein WalsethSeptember 19, 2022

Dr. Stephanie Lein Walseth, Perpich Center’s Education Specialist in Theater, was honored with the Theater Educator of the Year award from the Minnesota Educational Theater Association (META). The award was presented at the Communication & Theater Association of Minnesota conference on September 17, 2022. “I am honored and humbled to be receiving this distinguished recognition from the Minnesota Educational Theater Association,” said Lein Walseth. “Supporting Minnesota’s theater educators throughout the past five years, and especially through the pandemic years, has been a joy and a privilege beyond what I could have imagined when I began. I, along with the entire Professional Development team at Perpich, always strive to encourage, challenge, support, and connect arts educators from every corner of the state, as we work to break down isolation, strengthen teaching, improve student outcomes, deepen anti-racist practices, and build communities of belonging. To have my efforts celebrated by the phenomenal teachers who are putting all of this into practice in the classroom and rehearsal room every day is truly an honor, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Dr. Wendy Barden, Perpich Center’s Director of Professional Development and Resources, was thrilled for her colleague. “I am so happy for Stephanie that her work is recognized by the Minnesota Educational Theater Association,” said Barden. “Especially through the last 2-3 years, in the pandemic and coming out of it, she has been very focused on facilitating professional development and resources to support the ever-changing needs of theater educators and their students. Bravo, Stephanie!”

Pictured left to right: Cheryl Neidt, recipient of the META Dedicated Lifetime Award; Gregg Sawyer, META President; Dr. Stephanie Lein Walseth, recipient of the META Theater Educator of the Year award.

Gregg Sawyer, the President of META and the Theater Director & Fine Arts Teacher at Academy of Holy Angels, wrote the following in Stephanie’s nomination letter: “As the Theater Education Specialist, Stephanie developed and delivered countless virtual sessions that encouraged, educated, supported, and listened to theater educators across the state. She managed to conduct complex and comprehensive workshops that filled our need for collegial connection. She brought local and national presenters to the screen and provided all of us with the much needed boost of creative energy. At a time when we felt alone in the COVID wilderness, Stephanie gave us connection.”

Stephanie Lein Walseth, Ph.D. is a theater educator, artist, administrator, and scholar with over 20 years experience working with students and artists of all ages. She is a founding core artistic group member of Full Circle Theater Company, and she has served tenures with Penumbra Theatre Company, Mu Performing Arts, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Sod House Theater, among many other professional companies in Minnesota and across the country. Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota, and her research focuses on theaters of color and issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. She has served as an instructor and curriculum developer at Augsburg University, the University of Minnesota, and Penumbra. Her writing has appeared in HowlRound, Theatre Topics, e-misférica, The Baylor Journal of Theatre and Performance, and the anthology Theater, Performance and Change.

The Minnesota Educational Theater Association (META) is the state-wide professional organization for Theater Educators.