Sandy Hinton, director of the MCC Dance Company, was presented with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Texas Dance Educators Association (TDEA) at its annual convention earlier this month. TDEA and the Awards Committee promote merit in career and education by recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to TDEA, dance education and programs that exemplify the highest standards for students in the state of Texas. Award finalist and winners serve as inspirational leaders to TDEA; they embody the core values of serving students and are committed to the progress of dance education.
In the dance program's 40-year history at MCC, Hinton has developed the squad into one of the nation's elite programs, transforming the group from a traditional drill team into a high-energy dance and spirit squad.
Under Hinton's direction, the squad has won 17 American Dance/Drill Team School National Championships in Division II/III dance and four ADTS Collegiate Academic Championships. In 2011, the team won the National Dance Alliance Collegiate National Championship in Division III for the fourth time in school history. McLennan first won the competition in 2001 and completed a three-peat with wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The squad has finished in the top three six times in the last 10 years. In 2011, the team won the ADTS Division III Hip-Hop and the NDA Division II Hip-Hop title for the first time in school history. The squad captured the ADTS hip-hop title again in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Hinton's squads have featured 34 NDA All-Americans.
Hinton earned her bachelor's in physical education and speech from Baylor University in 1969 and her master's in physical education from Baylor in 1970. For the next five years, Hinton was the drill team director, volleyball coach and cheerleader sponsor at La Vega High School in Waco. She joined the McLennan staff in 1975 and began directing the dance team the next year.
In 2004-05, Hinton was one of three finalists for the Texas Dance Educators Association Achievement Award. She was a finalist for the TDEA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Hinton has been selected for inclusion in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" four times. In addition to being a member of TDEA, Hinton is also a member of Dance/Drill Team Directors of America and is a DTDA-certified judge for drill team contests and tryouts.