I have often heard it said that there is a certain amount of theatrics involved in teaching. This must be true to some degree, because there are many examples of talented educators who are also successful as actors. One example of this is Donald L. Leifert, Jr., an English and theater instructor who also made a name for himself as a science fiction and horror films actor.
Donald was born on February 27, 1951, in Maryland, the son of Dolores J. and Donald L. Leifert, Sr. During the Viet Nam conflict, Donald served as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Following his stint in the army, he spent two years studying at the Douglas-Webber Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.
Donald worked with indie director Don Dohler in such science fiction and horror film roles as the homicidal ghost in The Galaxy Invader, the contemptible lout Drago in Nightbeast, and the good-for-nothing redneck Frank Custer in The Alien Factor.
When Donald decided to change careers, he accepted a position teaching English and theater arts at the Carver School for the Arts in Baltimore County; English and journalism at Dundalk High and Catonsville High; and English and theater arts at Towson High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Donald was also a published author. He authored his biography, entitle Riggie: A Journey from 5th Street.
This exceptional educator passed away from natural causes at the young age of 59 on October 23, 2010, in Parkland, Maryland. At his passing, this chalkboard champion was remembered fondly by his former students. “He always pushed his students to be their best, because he knew we were capable of it, even when we didn’t,” remembered former student Jennifer Wallace. “He was kind, funny, and stern when he needed to be,” she said. Others agree. “As a senior in high school he would allow me to teach his beginner acting class now and then,” commented former student Jessica Wentling. “He gave to me the love of teaching, a passion that I intend to continue pursuing,” she concluded.