A Texas drama teacher will receive a special Tony Award during this year’s ceremony.
Theater director Roshunda Jones-Koumba of George Washington Carver Magnet High School in the Harris County Aldine Independent School District will receive the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the Tony’s in New York City on June 12.
Each year, the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University recognize “a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated exemplary impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession,” states a Tony awards press release.
“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,” Jones-Koumba said in the release. “Theatre Is Life. I’m very grateful to The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University for this honor.”
In 2021, Jones-Koumba received the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award and the International Thespian Society Inspirational Theatre Educator Award. She was inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame in 2020, and the Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) Leading Ladies organization honored her with the inaugural Arts Educator of the Year award in the same year.
Jones-Koumba was also named Educator of the Year by the Texas Educational Theater Association (TxETA) in 2017 and Teacher of the Year by Aldine ISD Carver High School in 2009 and 2014.
“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,” one student wrote in an endorsement of Jones-Koumba. “And she taught us, usually black and brown kids from inner-city communities, that we could do anything.”
Jones-Koumba graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in theater and a master’s degree in educational administration. The city of Wharton, Texas, has declared June 28 as a day to honor Jones-Koumba and her accomplishments.