Dance Teacher at Public High School for the Arts Near Los Angeles "Honored" by National Organization

Teacher receives $5,000 award and feature story by best-selling author, Amy Ephron

WASHINGTON, DC - May 1, 2018

Nicole Mathis-Berman, a dance teacher and classically trained ballerina who inspires her Los Angeles students to create their own artistic vision, is Honored’s May Honoree.  As part of her award, Nicole received a $5,000 cash award and a $1,000 gift card, and had her story written by best-selling author and journalist Amy Ephron.

Nicole has made a life-changing impact on her students by empowering them to “stand firm in their beauty,” as she says. It is a lesson Mathis-Berman has learned in a lifetime of studying the arts: her father was a composer, and she studied ballet and violin from early childhood.  After attending the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, Nicole danced professionally with the Pacific American Ballet Theater, among other companies, before beginning her teaching career.

Nicole’s vibrant personality and creativity is reflected in all aspects of her life. In addition to teaching and directing the Dance Department at ArTES Magnet School, she has founded her own Los Angeles-based dance company, White Crane Dance Theatre, which features two of her most talented high school students, Imani Foreman and Juan Figueroa.

Imani, now a high school senior, has seen her life change dramatically since meeting Nicole. As Imani wrote in her nomination on Honored’s website,

I have always been a shy person but my teacher has pulled out my more extroverted side. She’s like my second mom. She also pushes me and knows when I can do more than what I am giving. She has given me opportunities that I never would have imagined as a dancer in a public high school. She is amazing.

After high school, Imani has her sights set on Juilliard — one of the most competitive university arts programs in the world. Imani is aiming high because, as her teacher says, “Dreams are the seedlings of reality.”

Read the full story of Nicole and Imani at

About Honored

Honored is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to keeping great teachers in the classroom and to inspiring a new generation of talent to pursue teaching.  Each month, Honored shines a spotlight on a teacher who has changed the life of a single student. The Honoree receives a $5,000 cash award and a $1,000 gift card, and Honored recruits a world-class writer to tell their story.  Honorees are selected from PreK-12 teachers of all subjects at public, private, and charter schools across the country. Honored’s National Advisory Board includes luminaries such as the internationally best-selling author Michael Lewis, founder Charles Best, Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp, and FEED co-founder Lauren Bush Lauren.

For more information about Honored, visit  To nominate a teacher, visit  For regular updates on Honored and our monthly Honorees, follow and like us on, and

Honored Press Contact

Karen Sonneborn