"This is a very high-profile hire," said Superintendent Marty Lexmond.
He was speaking of the School Board's action to hire Joe King as the district's new drama department teacher Tuesday night.
King came across the job posting while browsing the Educational Theatre Association website about three weeks ago. And then he found himself reading it again. With two days before the deadline, King, the much-lauded director and theater teacher at North Central High School in Washington Township of Indianapolis, IN, applied for the job online.
Shorewood High School Principal Matt Joynt called him that night.
King has 17 years as a skilled theater teacher and director and has taught theater courses that range from introductory-level to advanced performance-based acting. No stranger to choosing challenging content, his production of Laramie Project drew protests, which “galvanized the school and brought out support where I didn’t even know we had it,” King said.
King will take over Shorewood's renowned theater department in the wake of longtime department director Barbara Gensler's retirement.
“I am very excited to have Joe King join us here at Shorewood," Lexmond said. "If it is at all possible to follow the footsteps of Barbara Gensler, Joe certainly understands the high expectations. He stood out in the interview process when he asked whether there was room to consider how to grow the curriculum in drama.”
About the hire, Joynt said, “Joe King will be a great addition to our performing arts department. He is well-equipped to carry on our high school’s tradition of excellence in drama.”
King has a bachelor’s degree in theatre and speech communication/journalism from Ball State University and masters in arts administration from Indiana University. At North Central, he has been given high ratings by students and runs a website for the theater department.
But why Shorewood? Three reasons. First, it matches the profile he grew up with. As a high school student in Bluffton, IN, King is used to a student body of about 475 kids. It was that small community he has yearned for after teaching 15 years with 3,500 students and previously at a large high school.
Second, King was very satisfied with his research about Shorewood he was able to do online, researching Shorewood’s School District and the village.
“It seemed to me the perfect combination of small town that values education in the arts," he said. "And that seems to be rare to have the best of all worlds.”
And third, the Shorewood colors and mascot. OK, it is significant that our School Board is dedicated to ensuring professional working conditions for its employees even under Wisconsin’s Act 10 – which King said he found in his research online.
But there was an unusual connection that seemed to push King towards Shorewood when he not only discovered that red and grey matched his alma mater and the two schools where he has worked (red and black in some cases to be specific), but that Shorewood’s mascot is the greyhound.
King, you see, is passionate about greyhounds.
He has dedicated time and money to the rescue and tending of greyhounds, is seeking to adopt another after owning two, and found it touching that the Student Council had helped the Greyhound Pets of America — the same national greyhound rescue organization last year that he supports.
King has put his home on the market in Indianapolis and is planning to rent in Shorewood, along with a rescued greyhound, and will begin teaching this fall.