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Testimonial Letters:

Alta Loma Elementary

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Rosemont Elementary

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The Buckley School

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Testimonial Letters:
The Media Workshops

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Testimonial Letters:

University: Conrad

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Primary: Alex

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Primary: Marvin

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Elementary: Noble

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Elementary: Mikhail

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Testimonial Letters:
Annette Bening

About the Author:
Mr. Jonas Basom

Biographical Highlights
Honors and Awards| Articles
Consulting | Teaching
Conference Presentations
Professional Affiliations
Education and Training
Performing Experience
Printable: Bio

"The Drama King" –Los Angeles Times

Biographical Highlights   Printable version

Jonas Basom is a passionate educator, artist, consultant, and author. He is a national presenter in arts and literacy for schools, organizations, and education conferences. His hands-on workshops train teachers how to use drama in all school subjects to create an optimal learning environment. Jonas has created curriculum products such as The Drama Game File that are used by teachers, school districts, and universities nationwide. For his teaching excellence, leadership, and innovation, Jonas was awarded the 2003 Bravo Award for Outstanding Arts Educator of Southern California.

Jonas first appeared on stage as the hungry crocodile at the age of six and has been immersed in the performing arts ever since. He received outstanding training at world-renown Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Roosevelt High School, a national top-ten theatre program. His professional credits include dozens of productions for stage, film, television, and radio. In Los Angeles, Jonas has engaged hundreds of children at parties and events as “Kuzu the Klown” and helped produce and perform traveling theatre productions for school assemblies. Jonas is accomplished in acting, pantomime, puppetry, tap dance, clowning, singing, improvisation, and voice-over work.

Jonas received his BA in English and French from Amherst College, and his MA in Education with Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Pepperdine University. As a teacher, Jonas has worked with students from preschool to adult in both private and public schools. From 1993-2000, Jonas created and managed the Drama Program at the prestigious Buckley School. His curriculum included sequential drama instruction for every child in grades K-5, elective courses for middle school, and annual performances in grades 1-6. In 1999 Buckley won the Bravo Award for Outstanding Visual and Performing Arts School.

Since 2000, Jonas has been a traveling theatre teacher and coach for Los Angeles Unified School District's Arts Program. He trains elementary teachers in standards-based theatre arts instruction by teaching 12 model lessons to K-6 students, leading staff development, and coaching teachers individually.

Jonas has taught high school students as a guest artist at numerous schools and conferences. As program director for The Media Workshops, Jonas organized and taught hundreds of high school and college students from around the country in media studies seminars at UCLA.

As an adjunct professor at California State University LA, Jonas has developed a required course in theatre arts for elementary credential candidates.  He has also taught courses in puppetry and literacy for the University of Phoenix. 

Honors and Awards

BRAVO Award Winner (2003)
  Outstanding Arts Educator of Southern California (Individual)

• Amherst College Teaching Excellence Grant (2001)
  Rewarding innovative teaching in inner-city schools

• BRAVO Award Winner (1999)
  Outstanding Arts School (Buckley School)

• Edward A. Shay Fellowship Grant (1999)
  Funding academic research and curriculum development


Los Angeles Times Feature Article in Calendar Section

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Hollywood Independent Feature Article on Cover Page

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Drama Education Network (1999-present)
President and Founder

  • Create and deliver staff development trainings for teachers, schools, and organizations
  • Provide master classes and keynote addresses
  • Advise and assist schools and universities in implementing theatre arts programs and arts courses for teachers

      California Clients Include:

  • National City School District
  • La Mesa USD
  • Stockton USD
  • Glendale USD
  • Los Angeles USD
  • Ojai USD
  • Ventura USD
  • Conejo Valley USD

      National and International Clients Include:

  • Waco Independent School District–Dallas, TX
  • Russell Independent Schools–Russell, KY
  • Jefferson County Public Schools–Louisville, KY
  • Texas Educational Theatre Association–San Antonio, TX
  • Florida Thespians Festival–Tampa, FL
  • Texas Thespians–Corpus Christi, TX
  • Portugal Teachers Group–Lisbon, Portugal

Los Angeles Unified School District (2000-present)
Traveling K-6 Theatre Teacher and Coach

  • Plan and lead staff development for elementary schools
  • Advise schools in long-term planning for arts programs
  • Collaborate with principals and coaches for math and literacy to integrate drama techniques and train teachers
  • Provide individual coaching in theatre arts for teachers

Media Workshops Foundation, based at UCLA (1997-2000)
Educational Consultant

  • Wrote a comprehensive program review of summer media seminars for 400 high school and college students
  • Created and implemented innovations in educational content, program structure, and daily operations
  • Compiled and wrote the program director's manual, since used by all executive staff to ensure program success
Teaching Experience

Los Angeles Unified School District (2000-present)
Traveling K-6 Theatre Teacher and Coach

  • Write and teach 12 standards-based model theatre lessons
  • Teach 5 model elementary theatre arts lessons a day for 12-week rotations, 7 total schools each year
  • Train elementary teachers to re-teach the model lessons
  • Collaborate with teachers to integrate drama strategies and activities into literacy, math, science, the arts, and P.E.
  • Plan and lead staff development for elementary schools
  • Direct student productions for peer and parent audiences
  • Collaborate with arts teachers: music, dance, visual arts

California State University Los Angeles (2004-present)
Adjunct Professor of Theatre

  • Design and teach TA400: Drama for the Elementary Classroom (required for elementary credential candidates)
  • Assist in long-term planning for program growth
The Buckley School, Los Angeles (1993-2000)
Drama Teacher
  • Built a comprehensive sequential curriculum of K-6 theatre arts instruction that included all students every year
  • Directed 12 theatre productions each year
  • Integrated projects and performances with language arts, social studies, music, visual arts, and dance
  • Developed curriculum units and productions in drama games, clowning, puppetry, pantomime, playwriting, mask theatre, radio drama, public speaking, and improvisation
  • Directed middle school production of The Hobbit
  • Led middle school classes in improv and public speaking
  • Taught afterschool classes in improv, tap, and puppetry
  • Assisted high school theatre productions
  • Offered master classes for high school students

      Additional Teaching

  • Assistant Teacher–math, language arts (grades 2-3)
  • French–grades 4-5 (1 year plus summer school)
  • Chess Club–4 years, taught over 80 students (grades 1-5)

Media Workshops Foundation, based at UCLA (1997-2000)
Program Director

  • Coordinated 400 high school and college students from around the country in summer media studies seminars
  • Interviewed and hired staff to lead four one-week sessions
  • Managed housing, meals, busing, and facilities for students
  • Implemented program innovations such as a student talent show, an industry "pitch," and focus group discussions
  • Booked field trips and speakers including Annette Bening, Leonard Maltin, and Loni Anderson
  • Directed daily operations including student supervision, field trips, staff meetings, speakers, and activities
  • Advised students in career and college choices

Additional Teaching Experience
Featured Teaching Artist

      College, University, and Adult

  • Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA)–keynote presenter, workshop leader for Summer K-12 Conference
  • University of Phoenix–taught extension courses in puppetry, arts, and literacy for classroom teachers
  • The California Arts Project (TCAP)–led standards-based theatre arts workshops for classroom teachers
  • L.A. Times Literacy Festival–led workshops for teachers

      High School and Middle School

  • Texas Thespians Festival–improvisation workshops for high school students from all over the state
  • Florida State Thespians–improvisation workshops for high school students from all over the state
  • Roosevelt High School in Seattle–acting workshops

      Elementary and Preschool

  • Building Educational Success Through the Arts (BEST)–taught literacy through drama to preschool teachers
  • Seattle Children's Theatre–taught "Theatre Arts Splash" intro course for children ages 5-7
  • The Hollywood Bowl–taught summer theatre workshops for large groups of children ages 4-15 and parents

Additional Teaching Experience
Tutor or Private Coach

  • Acting, tap dance, public speaking, French, teaching drama
  • Worked privately with students of all ages and adults

Teaching Totals (as of 2006)

  • Taught 10,000 students in K-12 public and private schools
  • Trained 2,500 current and future teachers, PreK-12
  • Directed 100 student productions integrating drama with language arts, history, science, math, the arts, and P.E.

Conference Presentations

Master classes, workshops, and keynote addresses for teachers at local, regional, statewide, and national conferences

      Theatre, Drama, and Arts Education

  • California Thespians
    Ontario –2008
  • American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE)
    Washington D.C.–2007, Chicago–2005
  • Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA)
    Dallas–2008, Houston –2007
  • Florida State Thespians
    Tampa–2008, 2005
  • Christians in Theatre Arts (CITA)
    Los Angeles–2008, South Carolina–2005
  • Florida Association for Theatre Education (FATE)
    Jacksonville–2007, Clearwater Beach–2004
  • Arizona Thespians
    Phoenix –2007, 2006
  • Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)
    Orlando–2006, North Carolina–2005
  • Building Educational Success Through the Arts (BEST)
    Los Angeles–2006
  • Educational Theatre Association (EdTA)
    Middle School Teachers Forum, Hollywood–2005
  • Kentucky Alliance for Arts Education (KAAE)
  • Texas Thespians
    Corpus Christi–2005
  • California Educational Theatre Association (CETA)
    Los Angeles–2005, San Jose–2004

      Literacy, Language Arts, and Other School Subjects

  • Good Teaching Conference (North and South)
    Los Angeles –2008, 2007, Burlingame –2008
  • Westcoast Literacy Conference
    Pasadena –2008, San Diego–2007
  • California Association for Teachers of English (CATE)
    San Jose–2007, Anaheim, CA–2006
  • Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference (KTLC)
    Louisville–2008, 2007, 2006
  • California Kindergarten Conference
    Burbank, CA–2005, 2004, 2003
  • California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE)
    Los Angeles–2007, 2005
  • California Association for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages(CATESOL)
    Long Beach, CA –2007
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Anaheim–2001

      Other Conferences and Educational Events

  • California Association for Independent Schools (CAIS)
    Los Angeles–2008
  • California Homeschool Conference
    Los Angeles –2008
  • California Association for the Gifted (CAG)
    Los Angeles–2008, San Jose–2007

Professional Affiliations

  • American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE)
  • California Educational Theatre Association (CETA)
  • California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE)

Education and Training

Degrees and Credentials

  • M/A in Education, Pepperdine University, 2000
  • CA Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with Single Subject (English) Supplemental Authorization, Pepperdine University, 2000
  • B/A in English/French, Amherst College, 1993

Arts Education Training

  • Arts Education Branch of LAUSD: Dozens of professional development workshops and trainings, 2000-present
  • New York University: Dorothy Heathcote Master Class Intensive, New York, 2006
  • The Music Center of L.A.: Institute for Educators (Advanced Level), Los Angeles, 2003
  • The California Arts Project (TCAP): Invitational Institute for Arts Education Leadership, San Diego, 2002
  • Sessions at more than 30 state and national arts conferences

Performing Arts Training

  • Rainbow’s Clown College: Makeup, costume, character, routines, history, party entertainment
  • The Spolin Institute: Viola Spolin improvisation techniques, games, and performing (2 years)
  • Amherst College: Courses in acting, playwriting, modern plays, jazz dance, and modern dance; performed in one play and seven vaudeville performances with song, dance, and comedy sketches
  • Roosevelt High School: Drama courses (four years), stage crew, performed in 4 musicals and 12 plays, directed 2 plays (designed and constructed a set), school mascot
  • Seattle Children’s Theater: The Young Actor Training Program (3 summers), Summer Stage, Poncho Players (3x); training included acting, singing, dancing, and performing
  • Performing skills: Acting (stage and screen techniques), clowning, mime, puppetry, tap dancing, improvisation, stage combat, mask theater, public speaking, voice acting (radio, animation)
  • Physical training: dance (tap, modern, jazz, ballet), clowning, Tae Kwon Do (black belt), basketball, long-distance bicycling, yoga, hiking
Performing Experience

Traveling Troupe of Theatre Teachers (2003-present)
Writer, Actor, and Performer

  • Perform in assemblies at Los Angeles elementary schools
  • Helped develop, write, rehearse, and perform three shows:
    A Story A Story-based on 3rd grade literature (Anansi)
    Under the Stars-based on 5th grade science curriculum
    The Golden Secret-an original Gold Rush era melodrama
  • Lead standards-based theatre vocabulary analysis and review before and after each performance

Theatricks: Self-owned Entertainment Company (1995-1998)
Owner and Performer

  • Hired for birthdays, stores, libraries, and special events
  • Performed as Kuzu the Klown or the "Educational Entertainer" (drama games, storytelling, and magic)

Professional Acting: Representative Roles (1985-1992)
Actor and Performer

  • Seattle Children's Theater: Performed with NBA superstar Bill Russel in the two-man play, The Former One-On-One Basketball Champion (Irving "Kid" Katz), 55 shows
  • A Contemporary Theater: Breaking the Silence (Sasha), 24 performances
  • Seattle Repertory Theater: Landscape of the Body (Donny), Tony Award-winning theater, 20 performances
  • Northwest Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), 15 performances
  • Kaye Smith Productions: A major role in an educational film for teens shown in high schools nationwide



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Why drama games?


"The New Viola Spolin for the 21st Century! Ideal for classroom teachers, university students, and recreation leaders. We've adopted The Drama Game File at Northwestern as a text for our theatre students and future teachers with great results. All the makings of an indispensable instant classic."

–Rives Collins
Chair of Theatre Department
Northwestern University

"Makes challenging material more understandable and engaging to students of diverse backgrounds and abilities. I highly recommend the program as core curriculum for teacher preparation and professional growth programs."

–Dr. Linda Purrington Director, Master of Arts in Education and Teacher Credential Program
Pepperdine University

"A wonderful tool for applying current brain research to the classroom.  These outstanding games generate the emotion and attention that create an optimal state of learning."

–Dr. Sherry Kerr
Adjunct Professor, UCLA
National consultant in brain research and arts education

Celebrity Parents

"His charm, wit and enthusiasm make him well loved by both students and parents. His rapport with the students is a joy to see, and his talent inspires them."

–Loni Anderson

"He has a youthful enthusiasm that's infectious, and kids love him. He makes them want to participate and that's the key."

–Leonard Maltin
Film Critic, Author

"He has a passionate belief in what he is doing. The children have been excited after his classes."

–David Hasselhoff


"He is a superb teacher with a true gift for imparting joy and passion to his students. Great teachers are rare, and he is definitely one of the few."

–W. Waldman

"He totally inspired my two children to express themselves freely and openly. His non-critical, supportive environment made my children feel comfortable, secure, and important."

–H. Zucker

"I find Mr. Basom's techniques and educational strategies filled with an appreciation for the development and fulfillment of the child."

–K. Topolsky

"He works wonders with shy children. He really knows how to make them feel comfortable.

–S. Dunphy


"He's the best guy."

–Cory, Kindergarten

"Mr. Basom is the best drama teacher in the whole universe!"

–Dakota, 2nd grade

"I am not shy anymore ."

–Albert, 3rd grade

"I enjoyed his classes so much that I would stay after school for an extra hour every Wednesday so that I could have the privilege of learning a little more from this fabulous teacher. His classes meant more to me than almost anything else in my life so far."

Jessica, 8th grade

"Mr. Basom taught me skills in drama that will be invaluable to me no matter what job I have ."

Sebastian, 12th grade


"He is an inspiration! His enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject matter he teaches is incredible! He has a great talent for getting all students to participate and have fun! He has given me countless ideas for integrating drama into content areas. Totally worthwhile experience."

–L. Akers, 4th grade

"He is a fantastic drama teacher for our students as well as for us (the teachers). He has great control techniques any teacher would value. During our drama lessons with Mr. Basom an observer would never be able to tell the academic level of our students because all are involved in a superior learning situation."

–E. Lynn, 3rd grade

"Imagination and creativity were awakened during the time Mr. Basom was in the classroom. His class gave my students joy. He has struck a chord that transcends language."

--S. Martin, 2nd grade

"I saw kids make more progress with oral English expression in five drama lessons with Mr. Basom than I saw in two months of ESL instruction."

–D. Hessel, 1st grade

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