A faculty member within the Theatre Department at Texas A&M University-Commerce was recently honored as the top theatre educator in higher education by a state organization.

The Texas Educational Theatre Association recently announced A&M-Commerce Assistant Professor of History, Theory and Criticism Rebecca Worley as the Higher Ed Educator of the Year.

Worley says that she has been involved in theatre productions since age 7 while growing up in southwest Texas. She became involved in musicals, stage productions and UIL One-Act Play competitions in high school, and decided to further her education in the arts at Texas Tech University.

Worley graduated with a degree in acting and directing, and during her mater’s studies, she says that she decided to pursue a teaching career.

“That’s where it all kind of started,” Worley said. “I wanted to be big on broadway of course, but I found my love for directing and teaching in college.”

After teaching in high schools for five years, she decided to take her career to the next level, and began working on her PhD in theatre history from Southern Illinois University and is currently working on her dissertation.

Worley has been a faculty member at A&M-Commerce since 2015.

The Texas Educational Theatre Association issues Educator of the Year awards for teachers at both the K-12 level and the Higher Education level. This is Worley’s first time to receive this award, and she says she was taken aback by it.

“I was so shocked,” Worley said. “I was really dumbfounded.”

TETA holds an annual conference every September. Worley will accept her award at the next conference in Dallas later this month.

A&M-Commerce’s Theatre Department now boasts two winners of the TETA Educator of the Year award, as Dr. Carrie Klypchak received the award in 2013.

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