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2021 Tancer “Arts in Education” Award Winner

2021 Tancer “Arts In Education” Award Winner

Act One Presents 2021 Inaugural Tancer Arts in Education

Award Winner Taryn Tidwell!

Taryn Tidwell of Shepherd Junior High School in Mesa Wins First Award

Congratulations to Taryn Tidwell of Shepherd Junior High School in Mesa for being the first inaugural winner of the Tancer Award. Tidwell is the choir and musical theatre director at the school, and is a cancer survivor and a passionate advocate for the performing arts.

Tidwell is a powerful voice across the state for the importance and impact the arts have on the overall learning and social emotional well-being of students. Her mission as an educator is to provide meaningful and memorable musical experiences and opportunities to students in order to empower them to gain confidence, create lasting friendships, and become active members in their future ensembles, careers, and communities.

“We are very pleased to present the first-ever Tancer Arts in Education Award to Taryn for her inspirational story and her passion for the arts,” said Bernadette Carroll, Act One Executive Director. “During the nomination process we were introduced to so many talented, dedicated teachers in our state who recognize the importance of the arts. Taryn’s story stood out to us, and we could not be presenting the award to a more deserving recipient.

The Tancer Arts in Education Award was scheduled to be presented at a September 17 event, but the event was postponed due to increased Covid rates. Instead, Tidwell will receive her award and prizes during National Arts in Education Week September 12-17, 2021.

“I am beyond honored to be selected as the Act One Inaugural Tancer Award WinnerThe arts are such a meaningful and important part of my life and I am thrilled to be able to continue to advocate for the importance of the arts in education! I had the honor of working with Bob Tancer before he passed, and it means the world to be able to carry on his legacy and love for the arts!” said Taryn Tidwell, Tancer Award Winner.

Tidwell was one of five finalists for the award. The other four finalists were:


Katherine Fizz | Pinnacle High School
Steve Wallgren | Willow Canyon High School
Taryn Tidwell | Shepherd Junior High School
Michael De Alba | Dobson High School
Maria Henry | Justine Spitalny STEAM School

Act One is a nonprofit founded in 2011 to provide children in Title 1 schools in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties with the opportunity to experience arts performances and exhibitions through field trips to professional theaters and museums.

The award received its name in memory of Robert “Bob” Tancer, local art advocate extraordinaire, who passed away in March 2020. Bob was an active member of the Act One Board, believing in the organization’s mission and working on the committee to expand the educational depth of the field trip experience.

Tancer believed that the classroom teacher had the opportunity and responsibility to build on the field trip experience both before and after the field trip, tying it to the current life, talking about what was happening at the time of the performance, and why the message of the performance was important and relevant to today’s world. Bob saw the tremendous role the teacher played in making the experience rich and educationally rewarding.

Arizona teachers who are full-time, certified pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade general education, special education, or arts education teachers were eligible to apply or be nominated. The prize includes a $1,000 monetary award, a gift certificate from Changing Hands bookstore, an original piece of art, and much more.

Download the official press release here:

Act One Tancer Award Winner Press Release

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