Jennifer Katona , Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York
Jennifer has been responsible for beginning and developing the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at City College from only 8 students in 2007 to more than 85 students attending the program at present.
Her proudest accomplishment at CCNY is the afterschool drama program she began at PS 161. Incorporated in their coursework graduate candidates work directly with the middle school students directing their Fall musical. “When we began in 2010 the school had never had an afterschool theatre program OR any theatre in the school for that matter. That first year there were 18 kids onstage and only about 25 in the audience. Over the next two years the numbers of students on stage grew but the audience did not. With a cast of 30 we may have only seen families from 5 or 6 of them, no teachers or school staff attended and audiences never topped 25. So for our production of The Little Mermaid in December 2014 we began operation Fill the House which involved a full social media campaign and a community potluck dinner and we filled the 400 seat theatre! The following years production of Lion King was also performed to a Sold Out house!
She is the 2015 recipient of the Lin Wright Special Recognition Award given by the American Alliance for Theatre and Educators (AATE) for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre education. She is also the 2014 recipient of the Presidents Award for Outstanding Faculty Service at CCNY.
She served for three years on the NYC Arts Advisory Council –designed to advise the Chancellor on arts education policy related issues and currently serves on the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts for the New York State Department of Education.
Jennifer serves as the Arts Education consultant for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and has served as a curriculum consultant for Disney Theatrical Education and facilitated workshops on curriculum mapping for the New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as facilitated webinars on the same topics for teachers nationwide through AATE where she also serves as on the Board of Directors.
Prior to coming to CCNY Jennifer taught middle school theatre in Brooklyn and worked as Teaching Artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State area.
Jennifer has presented on a variety of topics including:
Timmy and the Bard: Understanding Disability Studies through the Works of Shakespeare and Modern Television presented at VSA-Arts Education and Special Education Conference in Washington D.C.
Race to Where? Exploring Current Arts Education Policy presented at the Face to Face Conference sponsored by the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and the Theater in Our Schools Conference sponsored by AATE.
Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a focus on Arts Education policy from the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on What Motivates A School Administrator’s Decision for the Inclusion or Absence of Arts Education in their Schools? Additionally she is interested in building sustainable theatre arts programs.