Last winter I had the pleasure of teaching playwriting workshops with some fantastic eighth graders at the Salk School of Science in Manhattan. Their teacher, Aliza Sarian, is a former student of mine and a great playwriting teacher.
Aliza has about 120 eighth graders each year, and all of them write 10-minute plays that go through multiple revisions and drafts. Eventually, eight to twelve plays get mounted in a one-act festival in June. It's an extraordinary amount of work on Aliza's part, but her students produce exceptional stories. Additionally, Aliza is a very skilled and dedicated dramaturg for new plays, and her students reap the benefits of her knowledge and experience. Needless to say, I was coming in to do workshops with them, and I left having learned a ton from Aliza and her students.
Because of her great skill as a teacher, her commitment to new play development, and her cultivation of young artists in her classroom, not to mention her prowess as a dramaturg for new plays, Aliza Sarian is an artist that I admire. If you have a chance, you should absolutely check out her work at the Salk School of Science, and read more about her here.