Citizen of the Week: Wes Phinney

Wes Phinney, a longtime drama teacher at Dalton High School and a fixture in the local theatrical community, has been inducted into the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame, which inducts only one new member each year.

Phinney was named Outstanding Theater Educator of the Year at the Georgia Thespians Conference in 2019, and that's only one of a plethora of accolades he's earned during his decorated career, said Steve Bartoo, principal of Dalton High School. "We are very fortunate to have him in Dalton Public Schools and at Dalton High School."

Phinney, who has taught at Dalton High since 2007, is "very, very talented," Bartoo added. "This is a very deserving recognition for (him)."

Matt Evans, chairman of the Dalton Board of Education, said Phinney exemplifies the Dalton Difference.

The Dalton Difference is about continually striving for excellence and developing well-rounded individuals who can be successful in college, careers and life, Evans said. Phinney "does that."

In nominating Phinney for the Outstanding Theater Educator of the Year award last year, Anna Grace Rogers, then a senior at Dalton High, lauded his work ethic.

"I've noticed how hard he works for us each day, and each week, and every rehearsal he spends time before and after to put in the extra details and make sure everything goes perfectly," she said last year. "He cares so much about us not just on the stage but in our lives, and he puts in so much work and dedication to teaching us theater and sharing his passion for it that I thought he deserved the recognition."

The Phinney family is deeply invested in local theater, and Wes recently took to the stage to act in his daughter's production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Artistic Civic Theatre, where he was the managing director for 13 years. Kate had played Lady Bracknell in a Dalton High School edition of the Oscar Wilde comedy directed by her father, so it was a fascinating twist for her to direct Wes as he played Lady Bracknell.

For his efforts on behalf of his students at Dalton High School and his many contributions to the local theatrical scene, the Daily Citizen-News names Wes Phinney Citizen of the Week.

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