Let’s celebrate Kimberly Reynolds-Weir from Blankner K-8 School, educator for 32 years and theatre teacher for 9 years!
What drew you to education and specifically the role of theatre teacher?
As a product of Orange County Public Schools, I was extremely fortunate to have teachers who impacted my life positively all throughout my education. The influence they had on my education, growth, and development helped make me who I am today- someone who loves and values education, relationships, and the arts. That love of learning and the positive relationships built during those formative years helped me realize my true potential and inspired me to want to help others do the same.
I was active in theatre in high school and college, so I learned firsthand the value of theatre on my life; I wanted to influence and inspire a generation- that is what drew me to becoming a theatre teacher/director.
Theatre creates a sense of community, family, and belonging which you don’t always get in other activities. Theatre is the purest form of self-expression and allows one to express themselves in ways that they may not have been able to before. Watching a student who lacks confidence work hard to overcome their insecurities and blossom into a confident, secure performer never gets old; it is beyond rewarding. Believing in oneself is key and has such a tremendous impact on one’s success and theatre does just that. I consider it an honor to walk alongside students to help guide them as they find and develop their voice and passion.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
My favorite aspect of my job is helping students navigate their academic, social, and emotional worlds while on the journey to discovering, developing, enriching, and perfecting their passion for performance and the arts. Watching students thrive and see them realize their true potential as a performer is beyond rewarding.
Which projects or classroom assignments are you most excited about and why?
One of the many awesome aspects of teaching in a K8 school is that there is always someone to perform for! Most recently, students performed fractured fairy tales for the elementary school students. Theatre students created set pieces, put together full costumes, memorized, and blocked scenes to perform for K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students.
Currently students are studying musical theatre. Students are researching current and past Broadway shows to learn about all the incredible shows on Broadway as well as discovering that there is a specific purpose and placement for each song in musicals.
What is a recent proud moment that you had with/for your students?
It is hard to know how students will receive the unit on Musical Theatre as it requires them to create a scene and add in an original song and choreography that enhances the scene and is purposeful. The first-year theatre students were very nervous and apprehensive at first but after we talked and I modeled how to begin to create the perfect song and where to include it, they had the absolute best time and some groups created more than one song. It was such a breakthrough and so rewarding to watch them blossom and thrive in this new area where they could collaborate with each other and build and boost their confidence.
What ways can the community support theatre in our schools or your program specifically?
The community has always been so supportive throughout the years, and we are always grateful for their encouragement and support. Since Covid, we need that support now more than ever. Community support includes attending shows being performed at local schools, helping financially by sponsoring students or purchasing items sold during fundraising campaigns, and donating used items that could be used as costumes or props or repurposed.
Do you have plans to celebrate Theatre in our Schools month? How so?
I like to believe that every day is a celebration in theatre class! No specific plans other than continuing the ongoing celebration by learning all about Greek theatre and studying Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is one of the student’s most favorite units to study and I am looking forward to teaching it as well.
Thank you OCPS Arts for sharing your theatre teachers with us!