How appropriate it is that Cartersville High School’s new theater teacher hails from a place that’s famous for its musicals.
Dianna Long, who began teaching at CHS last fall, is a native New Yorker who has been “privileged to experience many plays growing up so close to Broadway.”
“I participated in high school theater, playing in the pit orchestra,” she said. “I watched the shows from under the stage. There was a team element to the experience. I did not have to be an actor to feel part of the production. All our talents were valued.”
Name: Dianna Long
Occupational title: Theater teacher
City of residence: Dallas
Education: Bachelor's degree in secondary English education from Kennesaw State University
Family: Married to Jim Long for 25 years; daughter, Rebecca Long, 24 years old; and son, Michael Long, 21 years old
Daily Tribune News: How long have you been teaching theater, and why did you want to be the theater teacher at Cartersville High School?
Dianna Long: This is my eighth year teaching theater, and I am thrilled to be a Cane! I worked for [Principal] Ms. [Shelley] Tierce at my last school, and her support helped me to learn and grow as a theater educator. When the opportunity arose for me to work for her again, I could not pass it up.
DTN: What are your responsibilities as the theater teacher at CHS?
DL: I teach six classes each day. I have an Introduction to Tech Theater class, two Advanced Tech Theater classes, two Musical Theater classes and a Foundations of Theater class. We also work after school on the one-act play competition piece, and currently, we are working after school on the school spring musical, “Hairspray.” As a theater teacher, I have the opportunity to work with students from their freshman year through their senior year. I’m not just working to develop good theater students but good people.
DTN: What do you enjoy most about your job and why, and what do you like least about it and why?
DL: I love helping students find their voice, develop as leaders, grow in confidence, think critically to problem-solve on a team, all within a safe, fun environment. But there is a fair amount of stress, like all jobs. I always want my students to have successful performances and so I push myself to do all I can to support them in that endeavor.
DTN: What has been your proudest moment as a theater teacher, and why was it your proudest?
DL: Last year, we tackled our largest production, “Mary Poppins.” Huge sets, challenging choreography and tricky vocals. There was some adversity during the production, but the students were able to pull together as a team to help each other experience success. I was so proud watching them help each other to rise above the challenges and ultimately perform their best show.
DTN: Outside your job, how does theater fit into your personal life?
DL: It is always fun to see a show. I love watching how sets are moved, costumes are changed and the energy of the performers. It inspires me to be better.
DTN: What would the title of your autobiography be and why?
DL: I really do not know this one.
DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?
DL: Persistent, hard-working, positive
DTN: Do you have a bucket list, and if so, what is the one thing you most look forward to accomplishing?
DL: I don’t, sorry.
DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
DL: A few summers ago, I attended Yale University’s School of Drama. It was only for a summer term, but it’s fun to tell people. I stayed in the dorms with the younger students, shared ideas, took chances and was stretched beyond my dreams.
DTN: If you could have dinner with any historical figure or celebrity, past or present, who would you pick and why?
DL: There is a quote by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This resonates with me because I know I make the weather in my classroom, and I need to be mindful of how I treat my students. I have read all of Ms. Angelou’s books. I would love to share a meal and a conversation with her.