Mr. Kite Ready to Help Theatre Students Soar to New Heights

Look out, there is a new theatre teacher this year at Osbourn High School. So who is this new teacher and what do his students think of him so far?

Mr. Kite went to James Madison University where he specialized in both English and Theatre. When asked why he wanted to be a teacher he explained that “when you are helping someone, they sometimes have this ‘lightbulb’ moment that is just so rewarding on both ends.”

With theatre specifically though, he enjoys the community that is built in the arts.

“The need to create really brings people together. There is something uniquely life affirming about it,” he said.

He is also a director. Not just for the school play, Almost, Maine by John Cariani, but also outside of it. His current project is Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz. His background in directing helps him as a teacher. Having already worked with most of the material for theater or technical theater class means he is able to pass on this knowledge to students. He also gained experience with a wide range of ages including teens.

“I have always had this natural inclination to leadership,” he said

Kite’s favorite part of theatre is simply the fun, the sense of play. “As we get older we have this hyperawareness of how we are perceived and theatre takes us back to the childlike state where we just played,” he stated.

Despite this he still takes his job very seriously and hopes to impart life skills that are helpful in or out of theatre. He knows that not all kids that come into his class are going to go be professional actors but they still can learn from what he teaches.

His students are quite fond of this approach. Even though, their love for Ms. Harrington, the previous theatre teacher, made them slightly skeptical at first.

“When the year started I was very hesitant of Mr. Kite and how he would teach. It was such a big shift from Ms. Harrington that I didn’t know how to take it. However, he really surprised me with his clear ambition for the arts,” said Liam Sutphin

He takes nothing less than students’ best and will push them to show all of their potential. Some may see this as strict, but his students express immense gratitude for this.

“I like that he has high expectations because it pushes me to be a better student and actor,” explained Natalie Shelton.

“He is a hard-working and a creative teacher. He definitely gets things done,” added Matthew Beach.

He has taken many students by surprise. Not just with how much he cares about theatre, teaching. and directing but how much he cares about the students.

“He cares a lot about his students’ wellbeing and makes it known he is here for us,” said Abigail Nguyen.

In light of recent events, he has made a point to have mental health check-ins with his students. They are able to express their feelings and he provides an open ear. Even throughout classes, he will take time to help students focus through deep breaths or other exercises. He also adds an element of humor and silliness to every class. Students are often found laughing while walking out of his room.

“Mr. Kite is really fun to work with, he’s funny, and he teaches techniques that make me have such a new perspective on acting,” said Quiana Michel.

“I have learned a lot from him. He makes class and rehearsal really enjoyable,” added Savannah Fitzgerald.

It’s not just students though. The staff also thinks very highly of him. Mrs. Rubach, Osbourn’s guitar teacher, is impressed with his organizational skills and his overall cheery nature.

“My first impression of Kite is that he is positive and happy-go-lucky. He always has a smile on his face,” she said.

“He is very organized and has planned out his lessons for the entire year for ALL of his classes. As a veteran teacher myself, I find this to be quite impressive,” Rubach added.

Kite is passionate about his work as a teacher and has already planned out his classes for the year, which seems like a difficult task for a teacher especially one that has an opportunity for a flexible curriculum like theater. 

“Theater is a collaborative effort and there’s always pressure as the leader to ensure that everything comes together smoothly and with kindness. Plus, there’s a natural pressure of wanting to do good work. My main worry for starting off the new year was the number of students in my classes. At 173 currently, it’s a lot for a new teacher, especially for a new theater teacher, where assessing tends to be very individualistic,” explained Mr. Kite 

Kite manages to maintain a kind disposition despite the difficulties of being new. Moving to an unknown place and having to learn about how it works can be just as confusing for a teacher as it is for a student. He expresses gratitude for the support he receives from other teachers.

“The performing arts staff (band, orchestra, guitar, and choir teachers) have been super-helpful and willing to help me navigate being a new teacher and a new Eagle,” said Mr. Kite.

From both students and staff, he seems to have an optimistic and enthusiastic personality. As a teacher, he is able to engage with his students. This is critical, especially in a class that involves a need for community.

His stage manager, Victoria Hanback, said “He is an honest, open, and relatable teacher. He wants people to connect to theatre, enjoy it, and understand it in depth.”

Overall, it is clear to see Mr. Kite cares for his craft and his students deeply. He takes the time to create a safe, fun, and loveable environment for anyone who needs it. He encourages his students to try doing things a little differently.

“If you don’t do it well at first, who cares? Just go for it,” he advised.