Citing the success of the Mundelein High School Theatre Department, in particular the production of the spring musical “In The Heights,” the District 120 Board of Education honored MHS Theatre Director Jonathan Meier on Aug. 14 with its inaugural “Award of Excellence in Education.”
Board Member Tom Ouimet presented Meier the award during an Opening Day program for the MHS staff in the high school auditorium. Meier accepted the award, but credited his MHS Theatre Department.
“This isn’t just my award,” he said. “I work with an amazing group of people. There’s nothing more collaborative than what we do in theatre. This belongs to the entire department.”
The award recognizes an exceptional staff member who provides opportunities for students based on values spelled out in the Board’s mission statement: Academic excellence for all learners through the core values of equity, growth and collaboration.
“Meier’s work in the MHS Theater Department positively impacts the lives of both MHS students and the dynamic Mundelein community by building strong relationships for everyone to learn and grow,” District 120 School Board Secretary Tom Ouimet said.
Meier’s production of “In The Heights” in April 2023 provided an excellent opportunity for students to work collaboratively in a creative atmosphere, receive valuable educational experience, and succeed.
The production brought together Mundelein Theatre’s largest and most diverse ensemble ever to produce a musical presenting themes of family, home and representation. The cast had a wide diversity of experience; two-thirds of the cast had never previously performed in a musical. It matched Meier’s goal of representing the community’s strong, vibrant and diverse population.
The program has grown dramatically since Meier started as the sole director in 2004. He began with two staff members and led about 50 students in three performances. Currently, the department has a staff of six, leading more than 90 students in seven shows each year.
The theater staff puts a premium on training theater artists, not just actors and actresses. Students have opportunities to be assistant directors, stage managers, technical crew leaders, and more. Meier has produced or directed more than 100 shows involving more than 1,000 students over his 18 years at MHS.
The School Board is dedicated to supporting a diverse community that fosters continuous growth for both staff and students. It plans to make the Award of Excellence in Education an annual recognition.
Caption: L-R District 120 School Board President Peter Rastrelli, MHS Theatre Director Jonathan Meier and School Board Secretary Tom Ouimet.