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Faculty Spotlight: Spencer Stephens

Spencer Stephens is Mount Vernon’s Middle School Theater Director/ Instructor, focused on instilling in Middle School Mustangs the love of theater and acting, as well as behind-the-scenes theater production. This is Spencer’s second year at Mount Vernon, having joined the School in the Fall of 2020. It was certainly a unique challenge to teach Theater virtually, in the middle of a pandemic. That said, Spencer welcomed the opportunity to let his creativity flow and now recalls the time as an amazing experience, as he was given the freedom to adapt the curriculum to both student needs and the environment.

Spencer teaches both the six-week intensive in Theater/Performing Arts as well as the Theater Choice electives (new this year), all geared toward Middle School students. This year, there is the semester-long Puppetry intensive for Grade 6 and a musical production for grades 7-8. Students are involved in every single aspect of the production, from writing the play (remembering the three Cs: Collaboration, Creativity, Confidence) to designing and crafting puppets and working on all technology aspects of the show. All students experience both the artistic and technical aspects of the design and production, with those showing talent and interest in the lighting/audio/visual processes able to continue helping Spencer beyond the six-week course. Students are evaluated based on the implementation of the overall project, inclusive of character analysis, short plot summary and how well the set design reflects the script. Evaluation takes place in the first of two performances, which is without an audience, to minimize distraction and provide students with the ability to truly showcase their effort.

Spencer was born near Charlotte, NC and attended college in the state on full scholarship, graduating with a double Major in Finance and Accounting. Having relocated to Atlanta in 1999, he spent several years in corporate America, focusing on Finance consulting until 2003, when his career shifted to Education (in the context of Theater/Drama/Performing Arts).

Spencer was always drawn to music and the arts in general and even learned how to play piano solo, as a child. In High School, he was voted ‘most likely to work behind the scenes’, which he did during his college job in the Drama department. Once on the stage as opposed to behind the curtain, Spencer went on to perform in over twenty shows while working full-time. Eventually, after becoming immersed in the Atlanta Theater scene, he left Finance/Accounting and became a full-time actor. Fast-forward a few years (and many puppetry shows and theater plays later), Spencer joined the Performing Arts faculty at St. Martin’s Episcopal school where he lent his expertise in theater, puppetry and band and also assisted in the Technology department, until he was persuaded by MV’s Clark Taylor to join the Mount Vernon School. It is rare to find a hard-working, efficient artist who is equally creative and technically skilled, and the Mount Vernon community is lucky to have such an individual in Spencer Stephens as part of the school’s faculty.