Dancing with Curiosity: A Distinguished GSE Alum’s Education Journey

“During my two years at the GSE, I felt guided and supported, and like I really grew within the program,” said Allyson Ferry, a 2023 dance education graduate from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE).

Ever since she was in grade school, Allyson knew she wanted to teach dance. What she didn’t know was how she could teach dance in a public school.

She made that connection during her undergraduate years at Georgian Court University and realized the intersection between public schooling and teaching dance. After completing her undergraduate degree, she came to the GSE to study dance education.

Allyson shined at the GSE and was recognized for the excellence she brought to student teaching. In 2023, she was nominated by GSE Faculty for the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Award, which highlights students who have “demonstrated outstanding achievement during their student teaching placement.”

“I learned so much from my teachers and classes, and from actually getting student teaching experience,” she said.

Ally Ferry

While student teaching, Allyson taught preschool dance. Moments of student inspiration and excitement set off a lightbulb for her. She learned how to manage young student behavior on the job and develop her teaching techniques.

“That was easily transferrable to my job now,” she said.

Allyson teaches dance to grades two through eight at William F. Halloran School No. 22 in Elizabeth – the same city she completed her student teaching placement. During student teaching, Allyson joined her cooperating teacher at the National Dance Education Organization’s National Conference 2022.

“I got to experience student teaching, but also take what I was learning and share it with other dance educators…that really helped me grow as an educator and a person,” she recalled.

Rutgers educators had a huge impact on Allyson’s education as well. Supportive instructors like Assistant Professor of Professional Practice Cristina Marte and Director of the Ed.M. in Dance Education Program Frederick Curry continue to help after graduation. Allyson was invited back to speak to second-year dance education students about job searching and her experience as a first-year teacher.

She also received the Nancy Higginson Dorr Award in 2023, which honors graduates who show promise of being exceptional teachers who keep alive the “inborn curiosity and spirit of inquiry and exploration.”

“Inquiry is super important because it gives us room to grow,” Allyson said.

In her first year of teaching, she teaches dance choreography, the history of various dance styles, and instructs students on the pioneers of dance to engage their curiosity.

Learn more about the Dance Education programs at Rutgers GSE.