High-school drama departments often are known for being creative—although not necessarily their hiring methods. But Providence High School, a Catholic institution in Burbank, California, recently attracted attention from the Los Angeles Times after it chose to hire two professional actors, rather than educators, to steer its struggling drama department.
A decline in enrollment meant the school couldn’t afford to fill the openings for a drama teacher and a choir teacher at the school. So, when faced with the seeming decision between cutting back the drama department or finding a way to pay two, full-time salaries (ranging from $50,000 to $55,000 a year, plus benefits) the school chose to do neither. It now contracts with Jeremy Kent Jackson (pictured right) and Dominic Catrambone, actors and co-owners of DiscoveryOnstage, a youth theater education program, for $25,000 a year.
The students, school administrators and actors are happy with the results—a strong, vibrant drama program worthy of the spotlight.