Tweet FB

Michael Pietz Award

The Michael Pietz Leadership Award will be presented to one individual each year, nominated by their troupe director, who demonstrates leadership in and beyond their Thespian Troupe, and exemplifies the characteristics of a Thespian.

Criteria: The nominee must be a junior or senior student inducted as a Thespian by the time of the Iowa Thespian Festival. The nominee may not be a member of or running for the Iowa Thespian Chapter Board, or an International Thespian Officer.

Nomination Process: Directors may nominate one student by submitting a 300-500 word response answering the following question (providing specific examples):

“How does your student display excellent Thespian qualities,
and various forms of leadership both in and outside your Thespian troupe?”

Nominations should be submitted via e-mail to Chapter Director Helen Duranleau-Brennan at by October 18, 2017. Responses will be reviewed by current Iowa Thespian Chapter Board Members, and the selected winner will be presented a plaque at the Iowa State Thespian Festival.

Past Recipients of the Michael Pietz Leadership Award
Maggie McClellan, Troupe 1451, Waukee High School
Katrina Sieck, Troupe 4274, Grinnell High School
Ridg Downs, Troupe 1451, Waukee High School
Kenny Thach, Troupe 3994, Davenport North High School

History of the Michael Pietz Leadership Award
This award is the marriage of an idea that the student board had been developing, as well one that the adult chapter board had been discussing, both without the knowledge of the other. When the two ideas were presented, it became apparent that student leadership was an incredibly important aspect of Thespians in Iowa, and one that needed increased recognition. The student board was adamant the award not recognize the student that was always in the limelight, but rather that the award highlight the leadership of a tireless worker, the one that often flies under the radar, but whose contributions to the troupe are indispensable. It was this initial thought that served as the basis for the development of the student leadership award.

As the vision of the adults and students of this year's chapter board came to fruition, the discussion turned to the name of the award. It was quickly decided that the award would be named in honor of an Iowa native that has made an indelible impact on educational theatre, Michael Peitz.

Michael served as director of theatre in LaPorte City, Benton Community, and Northern University High Schools. He also worked with the Cedar Rapids schools. His work in these high school programs led him to his association with Iowa Thespians where he eventually served as the state chapter director. In this capacity, Michael made great strides in the world of educational theatre, making a difference in the lives of Thespians across the state. Michael continued to do great work eventually leading to his position as Executive Director for the Educational Theatre Association and its honor society, the International Thespian Society, a position that he held for 13 years.