Tonya Sanders Hays has a MFA in theatre from Texas Christian University with an emphasis in children’s playwriting and a BA in Theatre Education from Oklahoma Baptist University   She has been the recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Fellowship in theatre and been recognized regionally with the Sarah Spencer Award for her work in Theatre for Young Audience by Southeastern Theatre Conference.   Hays is the founder and director of the WINGS Performing Arts Program at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.  The WINGS program has received the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Arts in Education and been recognized on the national level with the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Council on Arts and Humanities at the White House.  Ms. Hays has also been awarded the Mississippi Humanities Council Educator of the Year Award. Her plays are published by Dramatic Publishing.  Her goal as an artist educator is to nurture the talent, spirit and leadership of young people.  She lives in Gulfport, MS, with her husband Rick.