Ms. Danielle | Owner/Director

“I have been dancing since I was 3 years old – that was when my mom walked me into North Jefferson Academy of Dance. I am so blessed that my mom chose this studio for me. I danced at NJAD until I graduated from high school. The studio and its instructors developed and fostered my love of classical ballet and helped me gain so many wonderful friends. When I was 12, I began helping at the studio. This is where my love of and journey to teaching dance began. I loved teaching others what I held so dear to my heart.

Upon high school graduation, I was awarded the Rebecca Robertson scholarship from NJAD, along with a scholarship to dance at Huntington College. I became an instructor at NJAD when I was 20, and the rest is history. Over the years, I have been privileged to train under many world-renowned instructors and choreographers. I am now entering my 13th year as the owner and director of NJAD. God has blessed me with a career in something I love. I don’t just go to work. Instead, I have the privilege to teach dance and the love of Jesus.

I currently reside in North Jefferson County with my husband and our two children. My daughter is now taking at the same studio I grew up in, the place I love. I hope you and your family come to love NJAD and our instructors as much as I do.”

Ms. Georgia | Assistant Director/Founder

“When I was six years old, I told my mother I was going to be a school teacher and a ballerina. Many years later, I know I have been richly blessed to experience both of my childhood dreams. After graduating from Huntingdon College, I trained with some remarkable ballet instructors and was fortunate to perform with the Montgomery Civic Ballet, Ballet UAB, Black Hills Dance Theatre, and Ballet Colorado. I completed a Master’s degree in English Literature and have a “highly qualified” certification in both English and Dance. In 1983, I founded North Jefferson Academy of Dance and began teaching at Gardendale High School. I recently retired from teaching school, and I also turned NJAD over to my beloved goddaughter, Danielle. I am passionate about teaching classical ballet to children of all ages here at North Jefferson Academy of Dance. From the tiniest three year olds just beginning, to the power packed energetic first grade dancers, to the pre-pointe girls working tirelessly to achieve their first pointe shoes, to our accomplished high school dancers – I love it all and cannot imagine doing anything else!”

Ms. Ashley

“I danced with NJAD for 16 years, and this will be my 4th year as an instructor. Dance has always been a major part of my life, and I could not imagine life without it. I absolutely love having the opportunity to take my love of dance and help younger dancers cultivate their love for it, as well. I am currently a student at Samford University studying English, Dance, and Marketing. I am a member of the Samford Dance Company and a Magic City Performing Arts Ambassador. During the 2022 summer, I worked as the Community Outreach Intern for The Orlando Ballet. I also have had the opportunity to train in the Micaela Taylor Reparatory at The Alabama Dance Festival.”

Ms. Emily

“Dance has always been a huge part of my life, for as long as I can remember. I started dancing at NJAD when I was just 4 years old. I danced here for 14 years, training in ballet, tap, jazz, and dance team style classes. I danced on the Hayden High School Pride of Hayden Danceline for 4 years and served as co-captain for a year. I continued dancing after my time at NJAD for 3 more years at Jacksonville State University as a JSU Marching Ballerina and 2 years as a JSU Hard-Corps Gogo dancer. I also previously worked as the head choreographer for the Cherokee County High School dance team for two years. Dancing has always been my happy place, and I love seeing new dancers find that same joy. I now live in the Gardendale area with my husband, Briley, and our dog, Darcy. I cannot wait to start teaching at NJAD!”

Ms. Denise

“I began dancing at the age of 15 and started my education at North Jefferson Academy of Dance. I was inspired, and I worked to receive a Dance and English degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Now, I have been a ballet, tap, and jazz instructor at North Jefferson Academy of Dance for 25 years. Dance is life. I am also an English teacher at Fultondale High School with a Master’s degree and gifted and talented certification, starting my 21st year in education. I have two gorgeous and gifted children, Martin and Lydia, whom I love and adore the most. They amaze me daily and are my favorite dance partners. My passion is teaching and sharing what I know with people in my community, with hopes of inspiring others to learn and love.”

Ms. Hila

Miss Hila is new to our staff, but not to NJAD. She grew up dancing at NJAD, and she was also a Devilette at MJHS. Miss Hila graduated from the University of Alabama and now teaches special education at Bryan Elementary. We are so excited to have Miss Hila come home to teach at NJAD. She is patient, caring, and kind, and she is an amazing addition to our staff.

Ms. Liz

“I started dancing (officially) at the age of 2 years old. Growing up, I trained and performed with various studios, teams, and companies (including NJAD) in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, tap, dance team, and contemporary. I am a former member of the UAB Golden Girls dance team and a former co-captain of the Gardendale High School Rockettes. Over the years, I have been fortunate to take classes from many notable teachers and choreographers, including Karl Mundt, Denise Wall, Tony Dovolani, and Jennifer Britton Whitford. Currently, I coach and choreograph for various dance teams. My choreography has placed among nationally ranked dance teams at UDA, NDA, and DTU camps and competitions. I received both a BA in Broadcasting and a MA in Communication Management from UAB. I currently work in marketing and communications for an amazing nonprofit with an incredible mission, Red Mountain Grace. In my free time, I enjoy designing invitations, doing freelance graphic design and social media work for some pretty cool clients, and spending time with my husband & our two cats. I truly cannot fathom the person I would be without dance and NJAD. My instructors and coaches throughout the years have taught me invaluable life lessons, and I continue to enjoy working hard toward my growth as an instructor, coach, and choreographer. This will be by 17th season teaching at NJAD.”

Ms. Rae

Ms. Rae began dancing at 3 years old. She danced with NJAD for all 15 years, training in all styles – ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and dance team. She was also a teaching assistant and choreographer. She was a Devilette at MJHS for 4 years, where the dance team competed and placed at multiple marching band and NDA competitions. She is beginning her rookie season as a UAB Golden Girl, where she will compete at UDA College Nationals. We are excited to have her continuing her journey with NJAD as an instructor!

Ms. Sarah (Baton)

“Not many people know this, but I started at the age of four years old taking dance! I began with ballet and jazz, loving every moment of it. As I got older, I was drawn more to the band and environment created by the people in it. I started off my marching band career toting a flute around the field. Shortly after that, I picked up some batons and took up twirling! After that, it has been a dream. I was majorette at Locust Fork High School, where I was captain for three out of four years. We received superior ratings at every competition we went to and even won best in class numerous times. Then, I had the honor of being selected as a UAB majorette in 2018, where the blazers made history by winning their first bowl game in Boca Raton, Florida in the Cheribundi Bowl. I was honored to serve as captain for my 5th year on the majorette line. Every year I have been blessed to be a part of record breaking moments as the Blazers continue to grow and better. But the best part to me is getting the opportunity to learn from Mrs. Stacy. She does a fabulous job of making all of us look good, while keeping us in check at the same time! For that, I can not thank her enough. I am truly blessed in many ways, and I am so excited for the opportunity to begin my 3rd year instructing at NJAD!”

Ms. Sarah (Dance)

I started dancing at NJAD when I was 5 years old and continued dancing there until I graduated high school. In my 13 years at NJAD, I trained in various styles, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and dance team style classes. I am so thankful for NJAD and the amazing instructors I had, as they gave me all the tools I needed to have success in all my adventures with dance. I was a Gardendale High School Rockette for 4 years and was captain of the team my senior year. After high school, I went on to dance in college for 4 years as a UAB Golden Girl. During my time at UAB, I was able to continue to train in various dance team styles and compete twice in D1A Hip Hop & Game Day at UDA College Nationals. I also was able to learn from established choreographers like Jennifer Britton Whitford and take hip hop master classes from Bgirl Bonita. My most recent adventure with dance has been being selected as a pro cheerleader for the USFL for the past two seasons. I am also currently a choreographer for various high school dance teams. I graduated in 2022 from UAB with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I currently teach science at Fultondale High School. This will be my 6th year as an instructor at NJAD. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I have at NJAD to help dancers grow their love of dance, increase their skill levels, and most importantly to teach them the importance of using their talent for The Lord.”

Ms. Tina

“I started dancing at NJAD when I was 4 years old and continued dancing through high school. I trained in various styles of dance, but pointe was always my favorite. I was also a Gardendale High School Rockette for 3 years. I attended Auburn University and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Elementary Education. This will be my 4th year of teaching, and I will be teaching second grade at Bryan Elementary School. Dance has always been an important aspect of my life. Dancing gave me confidence as a shy child and allowed me to create many friendships. I am so grateful for my experience as a dancer at NJAD and am looking forward to my second year teaching at NJAD!”

Ms. Wendy

I’ve been dancing around the house for as long as I can remember. I started taking lessons at NJAD the summer before 8th grade. I danced through high school, helping in some of the 3 and 4 year old classes from time to time. I also continued taking dance classes while studying Exercise Science and French at Auburn University. After graduation, I worked in sports medicine research before deciding to stay home with my children. My husband and I have four kids: Cole, Blake, Beau, and Peyton. They all love to dance in the kitchen with me. I’m beyond thrilled to be back at North Jefferson Academy of Dance for year 2 and can’t wait to meet new dancers and watch them grow!