CTFA’s Reba R. Robertson “Teacher’s” Award Recipient - 2022

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ANNOUNCING CTFA’s 2022 Reba R. Robertson Award Recipient - Margo Hickman

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-CTFA’s 2022 Reba R Robertson Award was presented at the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) National Conference, Awards Session,
Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Hy Hetherington, of HLP Integration, LLC, has given a Corporate Sponsorship to Childrens Theatre Foundation of America to support CTFA's 2022 Reba R Robertson Award presentation.

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CTFA’s REBA R. ROBERTSON AWARD: 2022 Recipient, Margo Hickman, receives Award from 2002 Award Recipient, Jo Beth Gonzalez, at 2022 AATE Conference in Providence, RI.

JACK YATES HIGH SCHOOL: Margo Hickman and Principal Tiffany Guillory with Robertson Award 2022.
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Dr. Margo Hickman, recipient of the 2022 Reba R. Robertson Award, is the theatre director at Jack Yates High School in The Houston Independent School District. In addition to serving as theatre director, Ms. Hickman is a mentor teacher, the campus’ classroom culture specialist, and serves on the Houston Independent School District’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) committee. Jack Yates High School is a Title I campus where 83% of the student population is considered at risk for dropping out of school, 92% are economically disadvantaged, and 8.2% of students drop out annually (more than double the average in the school district as a whole).

Jared Berry, Fine Arts Curriculum Theatre Specialist for Houston ISD, states that despite these circumstances, “Students find a home in the theatre classes that Ms. Hickman has built at Yates.” He explains that Ms. Hickman program thrives by providing multiple opportunities for students, including annual involvement in U.I.L. One Act Play Competition (the largest educational theatre contest in the world), and the opportunity for students to earn credit in the I.B. (International Baccalaureate) Theatre diploma-program.

Dr. Hickman describes the core of her teaching philosophy as one that will “educate, motivate, and inspire my students through the performing arts. As an educator, I believe I have a vested interest in the success of every student, and I find various ways to keep them motivated not just to learn but also to grow into adults that can make a significant impact on the world." (Teacher Feature: Four Award-Winning Educators. Humanities Texas. October 2017).

Margo Hickman is deeply dedicated to the theatre program, the school as a whole, and making her students better people. In 2016, Ms. Hickman led her students in using their voices and creativity in developing a new play called Gun Violence: The New Normal; a very personal piece which focuses on gun violence and its impact from the perspective of students who had lost people; students in the original production had indeed lost friends and family members to gun violence. Ms. Hickman said “for us this has become an outcry for change!” The play was performed across Houston at several venues, including The University of Houston. Additionally, Ms. Hickman annually directs a black history production which calls on her students to research and breathe life into historical events from the past and present. Ms. Hickman is dedicated to advocacy for the Fine Arts. In March of 2021, she spoke before the Texas Board of Education Committee in the Texas State Capitol in opposition to House Bill 434, a bill which would have removed the high school graduation requirement of a Fine Arts credit.

Ms. Hickman knows firsthand the power of students finding their home in the theatre and the fine arts, many of whom first were introduced through the requirement for graduation. Such projects as the ones Ms. Hickman pursues serve to empower her students and show them that they indeed have a voice. Ms. Hickman leads by example with her students and works every day to make them not just better theatre artists, but better human beings.

Student Brooke Williams, niece of the late George Floyd, shares that during the after-effects of the murder, “the one person who was there every step of the way of this traumatic change is Mrs. Hickman.” She continues, “I was once a shy scholar in her class and have always had anxiety. But once I enrolled in her advanced theatre class, I was forced to come out my shell even though it took some time, she helped reciprocate my energy into other things instead of fixating on anxiety. Her leadership inspired me to never be afraid to be myself again, even if it meant standing on a stage in front of thousands and speaking about my uncle.”

Jared Berry sums up Dr. Hickman as a teacher who leads her students by example “and works every day to make them not just better theatre artists, but better human beings.”

The Childrens Theatre Foundation of America values: Children and Youth, The Art of Theatre, Excellence, Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion.
www.childrenstheatrefoundation.org (updated 2–16-2022)