Southern School Board Approves Jessica Huch as Instructor for New Theater Classes

Mar 20, 2019
Photo by: Supplied photo On March 13, Jessica Huch was approved by the Southern Regional Board of Education as the latest instructor to join the district. She will teach several theater courses for the 2019-20 school year.

Throughout the “educational highlights” portion of the Southern Regional Board of Education meeting on March 13 – during which several members of the spring musical cast expressed their delight with how the production of “Crazy for You” was delivered and created such a stir within the community – Superintendent Craig Henry appeared to be ready to burst at the seams with some big news.

“I asked you a question earlier about an announcement I had to make and none of you could guess what it is, so here it comes,” Henry said as he directly addressed the four students at the speaker’s podium. “In a few minutes, after this is all done and the board gets to the business of approving the agenda, Mrs. Huch will be approved as the newest teacher in the Southern Regional School District, who will be teaching the theater and theater dance classes. So, starting tonight, she will be on our staff and starting in September.”

And with that, Jessica Huch received a round of applause, much like the cast of “Crazy for You” received many times over following its six-show run ending March 2. Yes, the school board approved her hiring.

“What we heard from the students in that meeting was just a snippet of what the reaction was,” Henry said after the meeting. “I’ll be the first to admit I’m not much of a theater guy, but there was nothing about this production I didn’t enjoy. I went to five of the six days, and it was incredibly well produced, the talent was great, and the singing and tap-dancing was incredible.”

Prior to the students getting up to make their remarks to the board, Henry had prefaced his introduction of Huch with the reminder to the board of the ordeal the school faced back in the fall, when their previous musical director stepped down for personal reasons and the district was left “scrambling” to fill the role.

Ultimately, the district had approved Huch – a Pinelands Regional High School and Rowan University graduate – to take over the role of musical director for the interim. In December, the board gave approval for the district to move forward in developing curriculum for theater and theater dance classes with the plan to introduce them for the 2019-20 school year. Of course, the district needed an instructor for those classes and Huch was one of the candidates.

“We interviewed seven people for that position to either confirm or deny a winner, and Jessica not only prevailed in the interview process, but then she produced an incredibly entertaining and sensational musical and that was the end of the discussion,” Henry said. “That was her little tryout and she passed it with flying colors. And we had some really great candidates. If Jessica wasn’t in the mix, we would have had a tough decision to make. But she was far and away the best candidate.”

Huch is the founder and artistic director of the Bellarine Theatre Company.

As for the rest of the board meeting, the district received a near flawless audit report and the board approved the recommendation to retain teacher Elaine Konzelmann, who requested to rescind her letter of retirement from late last year, citing a “change of heart” and that she simply isn’t ready to close her chapter at Southern just yet.

“This is not my job; it is my passion,” Konzelmann wrote her stated request. “I continue to feel like I make a difference in the lives of these special students and it is my life force. I cannot imagine leaving yet.”

— David Biggy

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