“Theatre, fine arts — it’s teaching life,” Leander High School Theatre Teacher Linda Major said.
Recently named the Texas Educational Theatre Association K-12 Theatre Educator of the Year, Major is much more than your average teacher.
She is an artist, an inspiration, a passionate and fun educator. She teaches not only theatre, but life skills to her students.
“They have to learn to meet the deadline, to do the work, memorize the lines, do the research into whatever specific character they are in and learn how to get along with each other,” she said. “We spend a tremendous amount of time together, and I think that’s one of the best skills that they can have.”
Speaking to Major felt like some sort of theatrical event. She infused life into every word she spoke, much like she brings forth an infectious energy to her classroom --- teaching her students to let loose, be spontaneous and creative all while instilling valuable lifelong skills.
You can see the molding of the minds happening in real time, as students genuinely enjoy learning from Major who teaches not to second-guess yourself, but to feel what you are doing and go with it.
It is no wonder she has created students who went on to work in theatre. From teaching to acting on Broadway to doing voice-overs or working in technical theatre, Major has influenced the fine arts throughout our region, our state, our country, our world. She has struck a chord so deep that it will still be felt for generations to come.
“I’m always encouraged and delighted when I find that students want to go into education or fine arts,” she said. “It has given me so much joy. I just hope that for my students, they can have a career that they love going to versus one they have to.”
Major acts not only as a theatre teacher, but as the chair of the Fine Arts program for Leander Independent School District. She is currently teaching for her 39th year with LISD.
Major said she has loved watching the theatre program at Leander High School evolve over the years.
“Whenever I came in, they didn’t even have a stage,” she said. “Whatever I did coming in was really successful. The kids were excited, and I watched the program grow.”
Major said none of her successes would be possible without a supportive administration, including current Leander High School Principal Chris Simpson, who she taught in ninth grade.
“I have always had incredible principals that supported me,” she said. “Chris Simpson is the most supportive administrator. I’ve had fabulous administrators, and I think that’s a big part of the success.”
Such success would not be possible without other fine arts programs that help the theatre program, including band, dance and choir, she said.
Plus, the community is very supportive.
“Anything we need or are looking for, we have fabulous boosters who get the word out, and it just all works together,” she said.
On being recognized as Texas Theatre Teacher of the Year, Major said she was surprised and humbled.
“It was a great honor to be recognized by my peers,” she said. “I’m very passionate about theatre and have loved it for many, many years, so it was a delightful honor to be selected.”
Major has had a storied career, winning over 30 district UIL one-act play competitions and being inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame in 2015.
She received her BSE from Mary Hardin-Baylor and a master’s degree with an emphasis on theatre and directing from Texas State.
Major began teaching in LISD in 1982 and had previously taught for one year in Killeen and three years in Anchorage, Alaska.
As far as this play goes, Major is not even in her third act. She exudes excitement for every production she is involved in, citing each her favorite of the time. With so much talent, so much life, vitality and a youthful outlook on life, for which we should all strive, Linda Major is a name, a face, a feeling that can never be forgotten.