Former Drama Director Barbara Gensler, who served at Shorewood High School (SHS) for 47 years, passed away on January 30, 2017.
Beloved among students and teachers alike, Mrs. Gensler is remembered as a legend among Shorewood graduates as a passionate, dedicated, and inspiring teacher. 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. Shorewood alumni David and Jerry Zucker and Jerry Harrison, who returned to SHS last May to be honored with Shorewood Tradition of Excellence Awards, all cited her as a positive influence in the development of their careers. Broadway star Kate Baldwin, another Shorewood graduate, has described Mrs. Gensler as her mentor. Another Shorewood graduate, Holly Stanfield, who has led the Kenosha Unified School District's nationally recognized theater programming since 1995, has also cited the importance of Mrs. Gensler's support in the development of her career.
Mrs. Gensler is survived by her husband, Jim Gensler.
**For those whose lives have been touched by this extraordinary woman, a Memorial for Barbara Gensler will be held on Sunday, March 5. Space is limited. RSVPs are required. For information and to RSVP, go to: bgensler.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Barbara Gensler Theater Arts Scholarship Fund c/o Shorewood School District, 1701 E. Capitol Drive., Shorewood, WI 53211. Checks can be made out to Shorewood School District, with the following note in the memo line: "Barbara Gensler Scholarship Fund."
Video of Mrs. Gensler's Speech from 2012 Tribute Event
Video of Gary Pruett's Speech about Mrs. Gensler at 2012 Tribute Event