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Highland alum becomes theatre director at Iowa school

Highland alum Kiley Schulz, a native of Stockton, is living her dream as the new theatre director at Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque, Iowa. She is proud of her theatre roots while attending Highland Community College to prepare her to study theatre arts at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Schulz graduated from Highland in 2016.

“I am excited and nervous, and it means a lot to me to be able to get this job after the lack of live theatre this past year,” Schulz said. “Now, I am going to get to do what I love — direct, produce, and expose live art as I got from with my exposure to theatre that dates back to my days in high school.”

Schulz spent three years studying and being part of musicals and plays during her time at Highland Community College. She appeared in plays like “The Elephant Man,” I Love Hamlet,” and musicals like “Mary Poppins,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” She adds a high point for her at Highland was when she was able to be assistant director for the play “Over the Tavern.”

“My time at Highland fostered my love for theatre,” Schulz said. “I came from a small school where we could only do one musical a year. At Highland, I discovered a love for plays. It was a nice experience, creating a new spark in me to be on stage and backstage. Highland theatre helped me grow and I was able to watch a play from a different point of view, to see the big picture beyond just one character.”

Highland’s theatre arts program trains responsible, culturally competent, and creative theatre artists to be leaders in the field. Students are encouraged to think critically, engage in the global community and explore their artistic passions. Students can pursue an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in theatre or enroll in an individual theatre course.

“As an actor, Kiley always impressed me with her willingness to take on any role, make it her own and perform with full commitment,” said Laura Early, Theatre Instructor. “Her high level of commitment also applies to her work ethic.”

Early adds, “In addition to being a joy to work with, Kiley is incredibly creative and has outstanding leadership skills. It is my greatest joy to see students succeed in any discipline, but it is extra special to see them pursue their passion and succeed in theatre. We are very happy for Kiley.”

Schulz said her collegiate career helped propel her to accept her new job, looking back fondly to those instructors that helped foster a career in theatre arts.

“I love that theatre has something for everyone,” she said. “Theatre allows people to walk in someone else’s shoes and see a different point of view. Live theatre helps me escape and during the pandemic, it is something I missed. I look forward to getting back to the stage to help my students capture something that others helped me capture in myself.”

The A.A. degree in theatre prepares students to pursue their art at a four-year college and/or professional level. Graduates can transfer anywhere, but with the Highland and Western Illinois University degree pathway, they can seamlessly earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance without leaving the state. To learn more or schedule a tour go to or call 815-235-6121.

Photo: Kiley Schulz