She was also inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame!
A Houston drama teacher has won the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University’s 2022 Excellence in Theatre Education Award, Playbill reports.
Roshunda Jones-Koumba is a drama teacher at G.W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston, Texas. In addition to being an educator, Jones-Koumba also is the director of productions at the school, earning several regional and national awards for her competition work and one-act plays. She has received the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award, the International Thespian Society Inspirational Theatre Educator Award, and been inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame.
Now Jones-Koumba is receiving her most notable award yet, being chosen by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University as the 2022 recipient of their Excellence in Theatre Education Award. The Houston educator was chosen among a nationwide call for entries evaluated by a panel of theatre experts from The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, and Carnegie Mellon University.
One student wrote on behalf of Jones-Koumba, saying, “I have been in awe of her vision; her tireless work ethic; the countless hours; blood, sweat, tears, money, food that she’s given to her students in the community around her…And she taught us, usually Black and brown kids from inner-city communities, that we could do anything.”
As a recipient, Jones-Koumba will receive a $10,000 grant for the school’s theatre program as well as tickets to the Tony Awards and Gala. Drama students at Carver will also receive a theatre master class taught by Carnegie Mellon Drama professors. Jones-Koumba said she is grateful but even more proud of her students who have been consistently putting in the work.
“Our students are doing amazing things. Many are working actors on stage and on television; some are continuing their education; some are pursuing careers outside of performing. In theatre we accept all, so you’re not afraid to be yourself. And that gives you confidence to do anything you want, enables you to work with different people, and to be a better all-around person. Theatre is Life. I’m very grateful to The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University for this honor,” she said.
Jones-Koumba will receive her honor live at the Tony Awards on June 12 at Radio City Music Hall. The show will air simultaneously on CBS and streaming platform Paramount+, making it the first time in Tony Awards history that the ceremony will be available for viewing nationwide.
Congratulations, Roshunda! Keep on inspiring the next generation of artists.
Photo Courtesy of Rick Armstrong/Tony Awards/Associated Press