Ms. Jill Cook received the Dance Advocate Award!

Ms. Jill M. Cook is a true advocate for dance and the National Dance Society (NDS). Her expertise as a mental health professional, her personal knowledge of the dance field (four children study and work in dance and her husband is dance photographer), and her understanding of the valuable connections between mental health and dance makes her an asset to the educational system. She recognizes the importance of dance as a learning tool and the positive impact it can have on children’s healthy development. Ms. Cook is currently associate director of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has done postgraduate work at UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State University. She was a music teacher, middle school counselor, and assistant principal before joining ASCA. Her professional goal as a social purpose leader has been to improve her profession while helping students regardless of socioeconomic status, country of origin, wealth, or privilege. She recognizes the important role that dance and NDS can have in helping to bridge the gap between the components of mental, social, and emotional health on quality teaching in the classroom and studio—especially using dance as an educational tool. Ms. Cook has presented at conferences of the National Dance Association and NDS on topics such as: Navigating Mental Health Issues in Students through Dance, Mental and Emotional Health in Schools, Mental Health and the Arts, Ballerinas and Bullies, and Hot Topics Related to Dance, Education, and Health. In her presentations and personal conversations, she addresses potential strategies for promoting dance in schools with school counselors, administrators, and other key leaders. NDS is proud to recognize Jill Cook as a 2019 national Dance Advocate Award recipient.