Wininsky in the spotlight

Johannah Wininsky wins dance teacher of the year for Illinois and the midwest

Award-winner Wininsky has been widely praised by her colleagues | NT

Award-winner Wininsky has been widely praised by her colleagues | NT

Award-winner Wininsky has been widely praised by her colleagues | NT

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New Trier’s Johannah Wininsky won the Dance Teacher of the Year Award from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, as well as Midwest Dance Teacher of the year from the Society of Health and Physical Educators.

To win the Midwest SHAPE Dance Teacher of the Year, teachers must be a Certified Adapted Physical Educator, have a minimum five years of teaching experience, and be a state teacher of the year award recipient.

Winninsky said, “I’m very passionate about the art form and believe in the power of dance and how it can change student’s lives – I’ve seen it happen many times.”

SHAPE also gives awards for Elementary, Middle School, High School, Adapted physical education, and School Health Education.

Dance Coordinator Chris Rutt has worked with Wininsky for over ten years.

“Johannah Wininsky is an incredible role model. Ethical, compassionate, and extremely generous, Wininsky parlays her experiences as a professional dancer, choreographer, and artist into all of her classes at New Trier,” said Rutt.

“Her students love her. She cares deeply for her students, and one need only to read some of the personal notes that they write to her to gauge the depth of their admiration and respect,” said Rutt.

During the 2018-2019 school year Winninsky will be teaching an early bird class, co-directing Kinesis and Dance Theater New Trier after school as well as teaching Dance lab 2 and 3.

“Our capstone class, [Dance Lab],  addresses the art of choreography within a modern-dance-based curriculum.  Within that class, she has pushed her students to new heights with projects that challenge them to take creative risks and work outside their comfort zones,” said Rutt.

Wininsky said that her strength as a teacher is the connection she creates with her students both creatively and personally.  Working collaboratively with the five other amazing teachers in the dance division is also something that she greatly values. 

A highlight of Wininsky and Rutt’s dance curriculum is the  “Opposite Solo” project, which encourages students to create a movement that is outside their normal range, style, and habits. Wininsky was honored during the 2018 SHAPE American National Convention and Expo in March in Nashville at the Hall of Fame Banquet.

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