Nicole Flinn, associate professor of dance at Hope College, has received the Executive Director’s Award for Outstanding Advocacy from the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).

She received the recognition on Monday, Nov. 13, during NDEO’s National Conference in San Antonio, Texas, for her leadership role in working with stakeholders around Michigan to garner support for the state to continue to require that K-12 teachers of dance be certified in the discipline.  Michigan’s Department of Education had announced in April that it was eliminating the requirement for dance and 11 other subject areas beginning this past summer.  With the department’s decision continuing, Flinn is leading a team to create recommendations and credentialing for future dance education throughout the state.

Flinn is a specialist in dance education and pedagogy, and K-12 curriculum development.  She was a high school dance teacher from 2000 to 2012 and an elementary fine arts teacher from 2005 to 2013, both in the Owosso Public Schools, and was active in curriculum development at the school and district level.  The Owosso Public Schools named her Teacher of the Year in 2002, and in 2006 she was named the Dance Educator of the Year by the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD), now named the Society of Health and Physical Educators Michigan (SHAPE Michigan).

She began teaching at Hope part time in 2008 and has been a full-time faculty member since 2011.  Her activities at the college include mentoring students in research and directing StrikeTime Dance Theatre, a pre-professional student ensemble that provides educational outreach for young audiences.

Flinn’s professional involvement beyond campus includes serving on the NDEO Membership Engagement Advisory Committee and as a member of the board of Dance for the International Child (DaCi) USA, and she has been active in Michigan’s Model Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Project.  She has made more than two dozen presentations at professional meetings, and her publications include articles in the DaCi USA Membership Newsletter and the SHAPE Michigan Journal.

She serves area schools and organizations as a presenter, choreographer and resource person in the arts.  She previously coached the dance team and varsity girls golf in Owosso, and she has been the varsity girls golf coach at Holland High School since 2013.

Flinn graduated from Hope in 1997 and completed a Master of Arts degree at Marygrove College in 2001.  She taught fourth grade in the Ionia Public Schools from 1998 until coming to Owosso.

NDEO is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to advancing dance education centered in the arts.  NDEO provides dance artists, educators and administrators with a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy and research, and access to professional development opportunities that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience.  NDEO members are in a variety of environments including dance studios, K-12 schools, colleges, performing arts organizations and community centers.