Barbara Gensler served as Drama Director at Shorewood High School for 47 years. Beloved among students and teachers alike, Mrs. Gensler is remembered as a passionate, dedicated, and inspiring teacher. Her role in shaping and establishing the high level of excellence in Shorewood theater productions is legendary. She began teaching English, drama and speech at Shorewood in 1965. As Shorewood's Drama Director, she directed more than 125 productions at SHS, and served as Chair of the Performing Arts Department. When she retired in 2012, the Shorewood auditorium was renamed the Barbara Gensler Theater in her honor, and graduates from across the country returned to Shorewood to celebrate her career at a special event organized by the Shorewood Alumni Association. Many former students of Mrs. Gensler who participated in theater productions at Shorewood over her 47-year career have cited the incredible influence she had in shaping their lives and careers. Shorewood graduates who were mentees of Mrs. Gensler have gone on to have successful careers in theater, film, music, and entertainment, including filmmakers David and Jerry Zucker, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Harrison, and Broadway star Kate Baldwin.
Barbara Gensler passed away on January 30, 2017, and the Barbara Gensler Theater Arts Scholarship was established to honor her memory. Her Shorewood Tradition of Excellence Award will be accepted by her husband, Jim Gensler.