It is not often that one’s pre-school experience shapes their career choices as an adult, but for Colleen Horan, her time at The Washington Market School did just that. Colleen, class of 1986, an alumna and current parent at WMS, credits her love of childlike play and theater to her earliest memories in preschool. Colleen was raised in Tribeca and resides in her childhood home with her husband and two children – one a current student, and the other is an alumni.
Colleen attended University of Vermont where she majored in theater and later received her MA in applied theater from CUNY SPS. Throughout her education, she began to think deeply about playfulness and joy during childhood, and how so often they are lost in adulthood – eventually writing her thesis on this topic. Colleen can trace these feelings back to her childhood and The Washington Market School. She remembers picking up her younger sister from WMS once she had moved on to Kindergarten, and wanting so badly to be back to an environment where children are free to be and think as children do. When asked about her memories from WMS, Colleen spoke about the feelings tied to her years here. She felt respected and safe in the WMS environment and spoke about her teachers encouraging her to lead each day with curiosity – a philosophy deeply rooted in The Washington Market School curriculum.
Eventually, Colleen found her way back to WMS as a part time substitute teacher while she was working at a Vineyard Theater. Colleen now serves on the Board of Trustees of Spellbound Theater and is a project and design manager at Steps, a drama-based learning and development company that builds custom trainings on topics such as anti-bias and inclusive leadership for corporations. She is also a co-founder and facilitator for Theatre in Tandem, a company that partners with higher education programs and uses applied theater techniques to interrogate the professions that students will enter once they leave the classroom, always with an emphasis on utilizing playfulness as a way to encourage confidence and exploration. As a parent, she feels grateful to drop her kids off each day at The Washington Market School knowing it provides the same sense of security and joy for her children as it did for her.