Dance Educator

Dance Educator of the Year Award

The Dance Educator of the Year Award provides a means through which INSHAPE recognizes the work of an outstanding dance education teacher. A dance educator is defined, for the purpose of this award, as an individual who has a major responsibility for teaching dance, or incorporates and promotes dance as a significant component of health and physical education.




Any K – 12 physical educator who meets the eligibility requirements and exemplifies the criteria below may be nominated for this award. NOTE: A college/university dance educator or freelance dance educator may qualify for the state award providing there are no nominees who meet the above criteria. Aerobic dance instructors will be omitted from consideration. Eligibility requirements include:

  1. Current membership in INSHAPE.
  2. Minimum of five years of teaching experience.
  3. Degree and certification in teaching; or instructor at a college/university.
  4. Full time teaching at time of application submission and selection.
  5. Minimum of 50% of total job responsibilities is teaching dance and/or incorporates and promotes dance as a significant component of health physical education (e.g. weekly/bi-weekly dance day; dance unit; etc.)


Award Criteria

The applicant must be a teacher who demonstrates evidence of effective teaching in the following ways:

  1. Teaches creatively and utilizes various methodologies
  2. Presents a balanced and sequential curriculum based on the developmental, social and psychological needs of the students
  3. Emphasizes the significance of dance as an integral cultural component that enables students to understand their own cultural heritage as well as that of others
  4. Promotes an understanding of dance as a creative art either by providing students with opportunities to share their creative work with appropriate audiences or through the discussion of aesthetics of students’ own works or others.
  5. Shows professional commitment through membership and active participation in local, state, regional, and/or national dance organizations


Complete online application according to deadline on main Awards page.

¬†Application requires one (1) letter of recommendation from applicant’s principal or colleague. The letter should be directly related to the award criteria.


Selection and Recognition Process

  1. The Awards Committee will select one award recipient from the pool of qualified applicants.
  2. Applicants will be notified by early Fall.
  3. The award will be presented at the State Conference in November.
  4. Award recipient is expected to present a session at the State Conference the following year.


Previous Award Recipients


2020  Lauren Ryan

2019  Kalie McKinley

2017  Diana Jones

2015 Rachel Swinford

2012 Joy McEwen

2011 Gary Sanders

2008 Connie Waters

2007 Teresa McCullough

2006 Susie Stanfield

2005 Donna Frisinger

2004 LeAnn Haggard

2003 Ya’akov Eden

2002 Paige Craigie

1996 Barbara Cochran

1991 Terry Whitt-Bailey

1990 Sandra Reiberg