It’s one honor to be recognized by students or administration, but it’s quite another honor to be recognized by peers on a statewide level.

Violet Belles Director and Sky Dancers Assistant Director Kimberly Cardwell has been a part of the Texas Dance Educators Association (TDEA) for 30 years. This year, her fellow dance educators in the organization nominated her for a prestigious award: Director of the Year.

“Anyone in [TDEA] can nominate someone,” Cardwell explained. “I don’t know [who nominated me] because they don’t tell you.”

After receiving a letter last August announcing her nomination, Cardwell was prompted to write a letter about herself and her teaching philosophy, as well as why she was deserving of the award. A committee then decided which of the nominees should move on to become the three finalists, which were honored at TDEA’s yearly convention early this January.

“[TDEA has] a luncheon on Friday [of that week], and at that luncheon, they bring you up on stage and read your bio for the entire membership,” Cardwell said. “We have over 900 directors in attendance. [Those] directors place their votes on who they think should be Director of the Year.”

While she did not win, Cardwell is still proud to be a finalist. She’s grateful for TDEA, which has been a big part of growing her as a dance educator.

“[TDEA’s Convention] keeps you on trend, things about technology and how you can incorporate it into dance, there are just so many workshops for three days. It keeps me current, and it keeps me motivated.”

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