Sandra Atkinson

Sandra Atkinson
Jim Henson Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator at Northwestern High School, Hyattsville, MD

Bachelor of Arts in Dance, UNC Charlotte (2003)
Master of Arts in Performing Arts, American University (2005)
Maryland Certification Educational Administration I, Trinity Washington University (2023)

Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut, and Charlotte

When Sandra Atkinson was a student at UNC Charlotte, all of the arts programs were in Rowe Arts, and the dance and theatre programs were in a combined department.

“My experience at UNC Charlotte was filled with interdisciplinary opportunities,” she says. “We were never held back by our major but were encouraged to explore, discover, and create. I participated in everything I could due to the abundance of opportunities the Dance and Theatre Department offered on and off the stage. Having those experiences gave me the confidence to further my education and start my own dance theatre.”

Sandra is the Jim Henson Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator at Northwestern HS where she previously served as VPA Dance Department Chairperson. She is also the Founder/Executive Director of Light Switch Dance Theatre where she creates socially conscious multidisciplinary work to be performed in non-traditional spaces. She is most known for her work The Girl Child Project, RedLines, and NEST  for LSDT.

 Sandra has taught at Montgomery College (Rockville, MD), Black Rock Center for the Arts (Germantown, MD), City Ballet (Hagerstown, MD),  American University (Washington, DC), Goucher College (Baltimore, MD), Community College Baltimore County (Essex, MD), American College Dance Festival, Washington Ballet School, Dance Place (ReVision Dance Company class), and for Equinox Dance Company. 

Sandra has and continues creating works for Agora Dance Company, Equinox Dance Theatre, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Next Reflex Dance Collective, City Ballet, American University, and Montgomery College Dance Company. Sandra has performed professionally with Next Reflex Dance Collective, Peter Dimuro, Jane Franklin Dance, Carla & Company at Dance Place, and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. In 2012, Sandra was awarded the Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship from Montgomery College. 

She serves on the Dance Student Growth Outcomes/Assessment Committee and CVPA Curriculum Committee for PGCPS. She was recently voted to serve as the Executive Board President of the Maryland Dance Education Association, Co-Chair of the Faculty Advisory Council for Northwestern HS/PGCEA, and the Early Career Educators Committee for PGCEA.

Her advice for today’s students?

“Don't be afraid of the word ‘No!’ because hearing that word shouldn't stop you, but should engage you in a conversation of ‘how.’ Participate in everything that's offered and more, because those experiences are priceless. However, be mindful of creating a balanced life for yourself.”

Sandra received the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award in Dance.