CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Dance Association announced that for the second year in a row, a Charleston County School District (CCSD) teacher has been named the 2015 SC Dance Educator of the Year. This year’s winner is Jessica Crum, dance instructor at Wando High School.
“It is an honor to be given this recognition considering how many great dance educators there are throughout the state,” said Jessica. “Dance education is important in the public school system because it teaches critical and creative thinking skills, which are crucial for a student’s success after they leave high school. The true thanks go to my talented students who make my job a pleasure each day.”
Jessica has been teaching at Wando for seven years. Unlike most dancers, she did not start training until joining her high school’s dance team at the age of 14. At 16, she walked into her first ballet class not knowing what a dégagé was. Her dance teacher, Ivy Hale, took an interest in her natural talent and taught her classical styles along with dance choreography and composition.
Her training continued at the College of Charleston studying Theatre Performance and Dance under the direction of Robert Ivey, intensively training and choreographed works for the Robert Ivey Ballet Company. Her performances have been reviewed by the Post and Courier and described as “insightful” and “inventively choreographed.”
Jessica’s work at Wando speaks for itself. After one semester, the dance department grew from 18 students to over 120 students. She always tells her students to dream big and that it is never too late to have a career in dance. Her life is living proof of that.
“There is nothing more rewarding than being able to share your life’s passion with those that are eager to learn,” said Gerrita Postlewait, CCSD Superintendent.
Jessica is also the founder of the Wando Dance Company, which provides students with a pre-professional dance experience focusing on technical training and choreography. She currently serves as co-director of All County Dance in Charleston County. In 2013, she traveled to Shekou International School located in Shenzhen, China to gain a deeper understanding of fine arts instruction and teaching practices.
Jessica will be recognized at the South Carolina Dance Association’s award ceremony on Friday, November 13, at the Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, SC.