New Trier Teacher Katie Kritek was recently named the 2021 National Dance Educator of the Year by the Society of Health and Physical Educators, or SHAPE America, which represents over 200,000 health and physical education professionals across the United States.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to have been named the 2021 National Dance Teacher of the Year, and working at New Trier has made this possible." Kritek said. "This award is a direct reflection of my Dance Division colleagues. I work with some of the best dance educators in the country; they have inspired me and pushed me to continue growing as a teacher and choreographer. I also have some of the most enthusiastic, creative, and hard-working students and am grateful to share the joy of dance with each and every one of them on a daily basis."
The SHAPE America Awards Program honors distinctive contributions to the profession, and awards are presented annually at the National Convention and Expo. Prior to being named National Teacher of the Year, Kritek was named Illinois Teacher of the Year in 2019 and Midwest Teacher of the Year in 2020.
"Katie is a leader who represents the very best of high school dance education," New Trier Dance Division Coordinator Christopher Rutt said. "Hard-working, ethical, fair, and deeply concerned for the welfare of students, Katie is that professional who continues to inspire all those who come in contact with her. It is clear from watching this very determined woman that her growth in the field of dance education is fueled both by her love for students and her respect for the art form. I am very proud of her well-deserved recognition as SHAPE America's National Dance Teacher of the Year."
Kritek has taught dance, a division of the Kinetic Wellness Department, at New Trier since 2004. In addition to working with both the Dance Division and the Performing Arts Division as a choreographer, she also serves as an adviser to current New Trier juniors.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Katie in the New Trier family," New Trier Kinetic Wellness Department Chair Andy Butler said. "Katie's positive energy and passion for dance are contagious to her students and colleagues. She is inspirational, empowering, and engaging. Katie's achievement of National Dance Teacher of the Year is a tribute to her tremendous impact on her students and the New Trier community."
More information about SHAPE America can be found at shapeamerica.org . An overview of SHAPE America's Teacher of the Year Award program, can be found at: shapeamerica.org/recognition/awards/toy.aspx