Heidi Opheim Sawicki
Heidi Opheim Sawicki, M. Ed. A Minnesota native, Ms. Sawicki graduated from St. Olaf College and performed for and with many choreographers in Minneapolis and New York City. As part of a dance collective, P.O.L.K.A., she received a McKnight Fellowship for their collaborative work. Always a dance advocate, she served on many committees for the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and she was the Managing Director of The Field in New York City. Currently, she is an elementary school teacher at Beach School in Piedmont, and has been fueled by professional development through Luna Dance Institute for eleven years, she focused on integrating movement into the classroom and teaching her students creative dance. Three years ago, she left teaching in the classroom to expand her role as the physical education teacher at her school to bring dance and the joy of movement to all children.
I have learned to create a vision and to take steps toward making the vision a reality. I have learned to use my natural enthusiasm and energy to guide students and staff toward a school that dances.
I am starting to get crystal clear that I can shape a PE program to include creative dance (of equal importance) along with PE. I am clear that I can encourage teachers on the district level to include dance in their PE program and motivate classroom teachers. I am clear that I can invite parents to view dance and to discuss dance on a deeper level this coming year. Last week I got the new principal and the assistant district superintendent to dance with us! Heidi provided professional development in dance to more than 400 educators this past year, as well as facilitating monthly peer learning. Toward the end of the year she was grappling with acknowledging responsibility for naming injustice and poor practices among colleagues. She wrote, “thanks for talking through a tough spot for me. I needed to know that it is OK to feel deeply and now come up with a plan to deal with what I know. It was a culminating conversation, encouraging me to take leadership to another level.”