Lake Zurich drama teacher inspires theatrical confidence
Middle School South drama teacher Jacqui Heinemann has been honored as District 95's staff member of the month. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Where’s home? I lived in Chicago, but I just moved over winter break to Glenview. It’s so much better of a commute than the city was!
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Deerfield and went to Deerfield High School. I did my undergrad studies at Bradley University in Peoria and my graduate studies in the city at DePaul.
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:18AM
LAKE ZURICH — Middle School South drama teacher Jacqui Heinemann is committed to transforming even the most unwilling students into confident young thespians.
Community members have been able to enjoy watching Heinemann’s efforts translate on stage for years. The District 95 School Board recently took special notice as well.
The district honored Heinemann with as its staff member of the month award. In explaining its nomination, Middle School South administrators said Heinemann has an “extraordinary ability to bring out the ‘Annie’ or the ‘Captain Hook’ in even the most reluctant student.”
Reflecting on the lessons her drama teachers instilled in her, Heinemann said her mission is to build up students’ confidence to believe in their own theatrical capabilities.
Q: How did you come to fall in love with drama?
A: I grew up performing as a kid; some of my very best memories were performing.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in drama?
A: The adults that inspired me to go with what I loved doing versus what I should be doing ... I really think it was those mentors in my life who taught me everything I knew: to follow my passion. I’m trying to pass that on to my students now and kind of keep that cycle going. I’m still in touch with my choir teacher I had when I went to Deerfield High School because she was such a big supporter of me, and my former director from when I did theater with a company, who is now a choir teacher at Glenbrook South. I looked up to them and really had that relationship and guidance. I would only hope I could provide that same kind of guidance to my students.
Q: Did you have a different career prior to teaching drama?
A: I didn’t go into education or teaching right after college. I worked at two world-wide ad agencies downtown. I did some casting, so there was some of that performance aspect to it, but it was for TV and radio commercials through the ad agency. It was a cool experience, but I tell my students I had a sort of defining moment that made me change paths: I was on a shoot for a client and all this time and money had gone into making this commercial, and the account manager said to scrap the whole thing. We had spent $86,000. I just thought to myself, ‘I think I need to follow my passion more than this.’ I’m so glad I did it, though, because it made me see a different perspective and made me appreciate what I do now even more. I know it sounds cliché, but I really love coming to work every day. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else because this is exactly what I envisioned myself doing.
Q: What drew you to District 95?
A: It was a full-time drama position, and I couldn’t believe how embraced the arts were here. I did my research, and I’m glad I chose this one. I’ve always been impressed by their performance programs here.
Q: What do you do when you’re not at District 95?
A: I love to travel. I’m actually headed to Australia this summer, so I’m very excited because I’ve never been there. I love to be with friends and family; I love to try different cuisines in the city; cooking; seeing shows and live music any time I have the chance to.
Q: What’s your favorite local entertainment venue?
A: I’m a huge fan of the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. I have a season subscription there with my family and am just blown away by their productions.
Q: Favorite vacation destination?
A: Paris. There were so many monuments there that were beautiful and amazing, and I just loved walking the streets and being a person in Paris, instead of a tourist going to see the Eiffel Tower. I have a few family members that live there and I’ve been lucky enough to go there a few times, so it’s definitely my favorite spot.