PHS teacher receives award

Lori Zyla named 2014 Theater Teacher of the Year

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg High School teacher has been named 2014 Theater Teacher of the Year.

Lori Zyla was chosen by her peers from throughout the state of West Virginia as this year’s top theater teacher. The award was given at the West Virginia Thespian Festival which was held March 13-15 at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

Zyla has been an educator for 13 years and the theater teacher at Parkersburg High for the past four years. She said she was honored to be both nominated and selected for the award.

“They accept nominations from other theater teachers from around the state, and then they vote on all the nominated teachers,” Zyla said. “It’s a selection by your peers, which is kind of cool.”

Zyla said she is unsure who nominated her for the award, but added she’s formed a tight bond with theater teachers from throughout West Virginia.

“I was really surprised,” to be selected, she said. “I has so much respect for the other directors in the state. Award or not, it’s just great to be part of that community.”

Zyla was presented with a plaque at the festival.

“I’m still pretty new at this, so it has been an honor,” she said.

This school year has been a particularly difficult one for school theater troupes, Zyla said. The harsh winter meant multiple missed days of school and a difficult commute for students who wanted to practice plays and performances.

Zyla said all this week the PHS theater troupe will be meeting daily to work on the upcoming musical “The Wedding Singer,” based on the 1998 Adam Sandler movie.

“The production opens April 3 and runs through the 6th,” Zyla said. “We’ve had very little time to prepare, so we will be spending Spring Break here at the school, about 12 hours a day every day.”