Teacher feature: Kelly Schnider
March 13, 2017 • 357 views
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While the stress for many teachers ends at 3:00 p.m every afternoon, Kelly Schnider’s is just getting started. For the next three hours on these afternoons she spends her time creating new worlds and inspiring young performers. The green room is her playground to help students explore the worlds of their characters.
“This is my 11th year at the high school, but my 21st year in the district,” Schnider said. “I worked at Nipher Middle School for 10 years before coming here. It was inspiring to have something different.”
As a KHS director, she has directed over thirty shows such as Pirates of Penzance, Singing in the Rain and Spamalot. While some shows ran smoothly, Schnider described others as not falling so nicely into place.
“My first musical I directed here was Wizard of Oz,” Schnider said. “The former teacher stepped out, so I found out I was directing two weeks before auditions. On opening night, Glinda’s weave fell out of her hair, and Dorothy just picked it up and put it in her Toto basket, but the cast just kept going with it, which helped the audience forget the mistakes.”
While mistakes like this do happen, Georgia Buchanan, junior, discussed how Mrs. Schnider keeps the show going under pressure.
“She always gives good feedback and knows exactly what she wants,” Buchanan said. “She also maintains a certain level of organization even if things get crazy.”
James Fuszner, senior, also described Mrs. Schnider’s directing skills with all types of people.
“She directs very well because even if you are new to acting she can transform your skills very quickly,” Fuszner said. “She can direct all sorts of people.”
Some plays Schnider directs are categorized as comedies, while others shed light on some important topics. The Exonerated, put on in January, contains real transcripts of court documents written by falsely convicted survivors on death row. Last December, Schneider put on Clybourne Park, which focuses on racism in 1959 in act one and then fast forwards to today in act two to show how little prejudices have changed.
“I’m always trying to choose material that challenges the students, but at the same time I know they can do it,” Schnider said. “High school students can do a lot if you give them the opportunity and support networks to do it. We also have a really supportive administration. Having this privilege to put on edgier material gives us a lot of artistic and educational inspiration to present this material. High schoolers don’t live sheltered lives so putting on light fluff would almost be insulting to the capabilities these students have.”