More than 1,000 educators in the Chicago market have engaged with our flagship program (dancingwithclass.org) and consider us a leader in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) within the region. Informed by over a decade of experience, we are launching a digital learning tool, SEL Journeys, which supports educators looking for innovative ways to affect school culture and academic performance. SEL Journeys integrates movement and SEL with classroom curriculum, and allows us to expand our impact beyond Chicagoland, reaching students around the world.
Margot Toppen, Founder and CEO, is a visionary leader and communications specialist with 15+ years working at the intersection of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), arts, and physical education. In 2006, Margot developed Dancing with Class, now a highly sought-after program delivered in 100+ Chicago-area schools each year. In 2014, Margot celebrated the publication of JITTERBUGS!, a dance-along children’s book, and in 2018, she launched the pilot of EduMotion: SEL Journeys, a digital platform that delivers SEL-themed movement activities inspired by world cultures. Margot is a dynamic presenter who frequently appears at conferences related to SEL, arts, and physical education. A graduate of Northwestern University, she recently completed Kellogg’s Non-Profit Executive Scholars program, with a focus on innovation and leadership. In addition to many years in executive leadership, Margot has extensive past experience as a multimedia content producer. Most recently, Margot was appointed to serve on SHAPE America’s Task Force for Social Emotional Learning. In 2019, Margot will present sessions on SEL & Movement at the SHAPE conference as well as at the national Social Emotional Learning Conference. She also serves on the Partnerships and Professional Learning Panel for Ingenuity, a leader in arts education advocacy and research.
Trevor Toppen, Co-Founder and CFO, is an innovative leader with a unique breadth of experience to effectively lead an organization in today’s challenging business environment. Trevor has served as a manager of manufacturing and service operations, purchasing departments, business development teams, information systems and strategic planning / product development. Trevor’s extensive hands-on experience in entrepreneurial environments includes the launch of two successful companies, as well as consulting for dozens of small to mid-size companies in industries ranging from technology to agriculture to health & wellness.
Christine Keyes, Business Manager, oversees many aspects of our daily operations and keeps our team productive. Prior to joining EduMotion, Christine led the operations department for a telecommunications company in Chicago. Her perfect blend of organizational and customer service skills are instrumental to ensuring our multi-faceted organization runs smoothly.
Colleen Uspensky, Program Manager, has spent her career applying her knowledge of dance, body movement, curriculum development and pedagogy to design education programs in Chicago, Colorado, Tel Aviv and Oslo. In addition to her vast teaching experience, Colleen remains an active dance performer and competitor with an impressive list of credits that include placing in the top 12 at the US Open Swing Dance Championship, as well as performing professionally with Jayson Dance Company and Disney Cruise Line.
Denita Inez, Director of Outreach Initiatives, is an art-repreneur who keeps our outreach initiatives expanding and thriving. Denita received her Bachelors of Science in Dance at Wayne State University. Denita currently performs as a solo artist and with her Latin Jazz dance company, Desueño. She is currently on staff at Lake Forest Dance Academy, Dancing with Class and May I Have This Dance. Denita has danced with Noumenon Dance Ensemble, Modern Clave, and Chicago Dance Crash. She was the Technical Director and Choreographer for the Civic Dance Ensemble for the Detroit Opera House.
Teaching Artists: In addition to our leadership team, EduMotion works with a network of 20 teaching artists who are trained to facilitate our program in schools. Our team-oriented approach to training results in a highly motivated and dedicated team that benefits from the diversity of talent that exists within the staff.