Henrico theater teachers raise concerns over their pay to put on school plays: 'I feel utterly disregarded'

Posted at 9:38 AM, Jun 18, 2024

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- After 19 years of serving as the Drama head for J.R. Tucker High School, putting on dozens of plays, musicals, and one act shows, theater teacher Lisa Dyer will be stepping down from her after-school position.

It was a very difficult decision to make, Dyer said, but she could not continue to justify working hundreds of hours after school each year to be paid less than what head coaches at her high school make in just one athletic season.

“I am in agony over this decision, but the toll, the volume and all-encompassing nature of being a theater teacher is taking on my life is too much to continue without a significant change in compensation,” she said. “I’m terrified that my action will result in the end of the theater program I’ve spent the last 19 years of my life cultivating.”

For the more than 600 hours Dyer calculated that she spends each year to put on at least two major shows, she receives an annual stipend of $2,801. A head coach for high school basketball at the same pay step as Dyer receives a $3,541 stipend and a head coach for high school football receives $4,271, according to Henrico Schools’ 2025 Pay Plan.

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