2018 Fall Incite Insight Incite Insight 2018 Summer 4 | Page 24

Incite / Insight Board Perspective Summer / Early Fall 2018 13
magical moment .
During my early career , I found the American Alliance for Theater & Education ( AATE ) through a very dear colleague and friend . I was overwhelmed to find 350 people gathered at the 2000 San Diego Conference who spoke the same theater language I did , sharing lessons that inspired me and gave me access to the national voice of theater and education . Since then , I have found my renewal in every conference , Leadership Institute , and Theater In Our Schools ( TIOS ) event I ’ ve attended . At first , I was a sponge soaking in all the wisdom and knowledge of my new found mentors . Then as I developed deeper friendships and relationships , the conversations and debates renewed my passion and advocacy for theater education in my own community . I continue to be refreshed by connection with my national colleagues .
As I engaged more with the organization over the years as Network Chair , Awards Committee member , and the 2010 San Francisco Conference Co- Chair , I learned more about collaboration , communication and coordination . The action of doing was difficult , but my passion for the field sustained me through the responsibilities I didn ’ t fully understand or needed to learn At the time , lessons like reading hotel catering bills , making “ the ask ” for a large grant , writing for publication and analyzing financial statements seemed completely beyond of my world as an elementary drama teacher . But years later as I embarked on founding my own theater company – developing a board of directors , creating financial statements , reading contracts and grant writing – I am thankful for the experiences of my AATE journey .
My more mature self still loves a new pair of shoes , but now as I attend the AATE Conference as a board member , my colleagues and friends still inspire me , share something new or remind me of something old to work into my practice and refresh my craft . The fact that I still have so much to learn is as daunting as it is invigorating . My journey continues to unfold as times and jobs change .
As I reflect on the past several years serving on the Board of AATE , this too has been a journey “ back-to-school ” – learning new things , taking action , forging ahead , and trusting in the collective thought process of 15 amazing people . It has also been a lesson in trusting the process and has never been more meaningful than in the last six months . Serving with and leading the Board has been a test in collaboration as we embark on a journey to renew and refresh our dedication to the field and the advocacy that must be done in these trying times .
To those who will share the conference experience with us in Minneapolis , I hope you leave inspired and rejuvenated . For those of you missing conference this year , I hope your travels and summer experiences offer you a different kind of personal renewal . To every member of AATE , I hope you take the opportunity of a new school year ( or season ) to refresh your commitment to theater and education and practicing your craft with passion .
Stacey Ardelean is currently serving as the Board Chair of AATE , American Alliance for Theater and Education . She is the founding Artistic Director of Fuse Theater in the San Francisco Bay Area . Her work with Fuse includes theater for social justice projects with local partners and creating collaborative performative experiences in and with the community . She served as the elementary drama teacher for a Bay Area private school for seventeen years and now works freelance as a theater educator and director in the San Francisco Bay Area .