Berkeley County teacher named Outstanding Theatre Educator

FAIRMONT — Berkeley County Teacher Michael W. Stiles was recently named Outstanding Theatre Educator Alumni by the School of Fine Arts of Fairmont State University.

Michael W. Stiles is serving his 24th year as Theatre Director at Musselman High School. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Directing from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and Music Education from Fairmont State University. Stiles was West Virginia Theatre Teacher of the Year in 2005, is a recipient of the 2007 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award, and was a Berkeley County Teacher of the Year Finalist. Stiles is a member of the South Eastern Theatre Conference, and has served as the President of the West Virginia Theatre Association and as the West Virginia State Thespian Chapter Director. Stiles also serves as the Theatre Coordinator on the Arts Alive Planning Committee for the West Virginia Department of Education. Under his direction, Stilesí students have performed across the globe, from regional, state and international Thespian Festivals to the National Performing Arts Festival in Orlando, Florida, to the South Eastern Theatre Conference, to the legendary Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Stiles sustains a rich theatre program at Musselman High School with several non-traditional programs that have included: an Improv Group, a Readerís Theatre Group, a Stage Combat Team, a Student Directed One-Act Festival, Summer Theatre Program entitled Artistic Endeavors, Independent Study Projects in theatre direction, four levels of theatre classes, and a Theatre Construction and Production Class. All in all, Michaelís theatre program produces an average six to 12 productions a year, and assists with seven to 10 dance companies, and dozens of other school and community events, including the regional dance conference Dance Works.

As Musselman Theatre Alumni, Stilesí students have performed in every major city in America. His students have acted in television shows such as Chicago Fire, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bull, and Law and Order. Michaelís students have performed in movies such as The Intern and Shallow Hal and have directed award-winning short movies at the Cannes Film Festival. He has even had a former student conduct Broadway Shows such as Dear Evan Hansen, and The Prom, and contribute musical compositions and music direct the new musical: American Girl Live. Technical theatre alumni who have studied under Stiles have done tech for the Emmy Awards, MTV Music Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Tony Awards, and the Oscars.

Aside from school, Stiles actively acts, directs and participates in local community theatre. He is also an avid science fiction fan, has been married to his loving wife Lori for 23 years (whom he met on stage at Fairmont State!), and is the proud father of his beautiful daughter Emma. This May, Stiles will celebrate being cancer free for over 20 years! Stiles is the son of Esther and the late Jim Stiles of St.George, W.Va., and the son-in-law of Larry and GinnyKnight of Clarksburg, W.Va.