Donalda A. McCarthy, known to students globally as Miss Donni, returned to America in 2010 from the Asian continent where she taught secondary school English Literature, World History, all while running the high school Theatre program at American International School in Hong Kong. Her wholistic study-involvement duties included taking on the school newspaper, enhancing the Dance Team's exposure, and running the Cultural Awareness Lunch Club, which she created to brighten the international atmosphere.
She's back into the rhythm of America and is again running her own high school Theatre program in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. "I'm enjoying interacting with other theatre teachers around the state again!" she gushes. As the Judges Coordinator for the District XV Florida Thespians, she gets to interact and collaborate with industry professionals in the entire South Florida area. In the meantime, she's also staging, choreographing, and producing productions at her own school with casts as large as 80+. Miss Donni considers an element to her success is the great organizational skills she learned from all of her marching band and drum corps tour staff in her youth. Parents, colleagues, and administrators continually congratulate her on the *well-oiled machine* her backstages operates. "It's important to me to cultivate leadership amongst the teenagers themselves, " the creative teacher explains.
A dynamic personality in a room full of eager learners earned her Teacher of the Month in October 2014. Her first two years in Hong Kong were teaching freelance to bring the new Western Drama program into local schools to prepare for the NSS. She was responsible for instructing not only the students, but also their native-Chinese English teachers 'how' to teach Western Drama. Her English-through-Drama curriculum written for English Language Learners is being currently used in numerous schools in Hong Kong by both native and non-native English speaking English teachers.
She’s been successful working in classrooms from Primary 4, on through Secondary graduates and even corporate clients such as Hallmark and Goldman Sachs. With vigor, structured creativity, and meritorious classroom management, her students blossom under her tutelage; whether constructing a two-story house and rotating wall for a production of ‘The Sound of Music’ or collaborating on a web page design to share global issues with other teenagers around the planet.
Her Professional Teaching Certification (PGDE) in Drama and Social Studies is from the State of Florida where she taught for three years prior to ‘jumping ship’ to teach in the international classroom. While the world is her playground, Palm Beach County is still where she calls home. She also enjoys visiting the Southern culture in her college-town of Atlanta, Georgia every chance she gets. Travel is a a dear passion of Miss Donni's (see map below), especially if it involves a mountain to hike or an island to explore.
Never one to enjoy too much down time, last summer, she steadfastly managed a professional circus troupe who performed at the very popular Ocean Park amusement park in Hong Kong. Most recently she worked with Wordybird Theatre as the Assistant Stage Manager for their production of Misery. She has also staged and choreographed performances for corporate clients such as Southern China's Hallmark Corporation and the Goldman-Sachs Investment firms’ community outreach division. Most recently, she wrote, produced, and directed "Sistah Speak" for MULTUS Productions.
Last autumn’s theatre season found Miss Donni onstage again after a brief hiatus to concentrate on her directing projects. She performed in the following productions: “Love, Sex, and the Whole Shebang” by Stylus Productions, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Big Box Theatre, and “Cinderella: The Panto” by The Hong Kong Players. She also performed in "Sistah Speak". She, along with her Senior Drama class of 2009, did the Dramaturgy research for “Cowboy vs Samurai” by Looking Glass Productions. And the 2010 class presents it as their final character study for the year.
Miss Donni is also a Voice Over actress best known for her arsenal of various laughs and her ‘Sharpay’ impersonation to the delight of unaware High School Musical fans. She serves as an Adjudicator for the south east Florida International Thespian Festivals. And she hosts the monthly New Playwright Workshop for emerging talent.