Biography

susan photo DaCISusan Griss is a pioneer in the field of arts-in-education. Rooted in her background as a dancer and choreographer, her successful methods of teaching academic curriculum through movement have been presented to principals, classroom teachers, teaching artists and pre-service teachers throughout the U.S., and in Denmark, Slovenia and Israel. Her book, Minds in Motion: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Elementary Curriculum, (Heinemann, 1998) is still widely used, and she is presently working on a book espousing the use of movement across the curriculum.

Ms. Griss teaches graduate courses for early education teachers in the Continuing Education Division at Bank Street College of Education in NYC, and for K-12 teachers throughout the U.S. in the Creative Arts in Learning Program at Lesley University. For 10 years she presented workshops for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and was a key presenter at the Annual Partners in the Arts Summer Institute in Richmond, VA. In the New York State capital region, Ms. Griss is the co-founder/co-director of BEYOND PAPER AND PENCIL: Bringing Literacy to Life through the Performing Arts, offering professional development and artist residencies in elementary schools. This program enables participants to use music, dance and poetry in an arts-integrated curriculum to promote student learning.

Ms. Griss has been an innovative teaching artist in the public schools for over 25 years, including the Empire State Partnerships Projects from 1998 – 2010. As a leader in professional development and an educational consultant for arts-in-education, she has worked for the NYS Department of Education, the Arts Education Office of the NYC Board of Education, for NYSCA’s Empire State Partnerships Summer Institute, and for Ballet Hispanico. She has taught workshops at Columbia Teachers College, Smith, Vassar, Skidmore, Sarah Lawrence, Eric Jensen’s Learning Brain Expo, the American Dance Guild, and multiple educational and arts institutes throughout the Northeast.

After spending three years as a teaching artist in NYC with Learning to Read Through the Arts, Ms. Griss moved to the Mid-Hudson Valley and has been working continually with students and teachers in schools across the region. For many years Ms. Griss created special movement programs to engage public school children in museum visits at the Edith C. Blum Art Gallery at Bard College, and the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. She has taught movement workshops to train middle and high school students in mediation and conflict resolution, worked with middle school students integrating dance with a study of Ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages, taught a high school unit on The Odyssey through theater and dance, and created special dance projects for children in the Ulster County Hearing Impaired Program. Her pioneering spirit has now taken her to the new field of Creative Aging, where she has choreographed a suite of dances for performers from 76 to 96, and has been teaching dance classes to both independent and health center residents.

A graduate of Smith College with a Master’s Degree from NYU, she has danced with the Laura Dean Dance Co., the Vanaver Caravan, Barrunto Dancers and her own Triangle Fire Dance Co.