Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson, Ph.D.

In February 2012, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson was selected to be Principal of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Art’s (EMCVPA), the third Principal since the College’s 1995 establishment under the Ministry of Education. Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson, however, joins a long list of life-changing artist leaders in Jamaica since the 1960s, who have transformed the delivery, education and administration of arts in Jamaica, from the School of Visual Arts that was established in 1960 to the Cultural Training Centre (1976-1995), to the EMCVPA (1995 to present).

Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson is a Dance Educator by profession, and perhaps by destiny. She has a love and passion for the arts and education, and aims to be an advocate for learning in, about, and through the arts in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Locally, Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson has worked with various educational institutions and studios, and school-based dance groups as a dance educator and choreographer. Prior to 2012, Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson served as the Director of School of Dance for twelve (12) years. Prior to this,  she had been a lecturer since 1985. She has worked extensively with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) as a facilitator and adjudicator since 1987. Regionally, Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson has contributed to the Caribbean Examination Council’s development of the Theatre Arts syllabus. She has also lectured, and conducted workshops in Barbados, and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, as a consultant.

Between 1995 and 2012, Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson and her Junior Department team at the School of Dance, EMCVPA, participated in the Dance and the Child International (daCi) 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th World Conferences, and was the Chair of the 11th World Conference held in Jamaica in August 2009. Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson is also a member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). She has also guest-lectured at universities in New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson’s lifelong vocation in Dance in Education has reinforced her conviction in the transformative power of dance, and by extension the arts in education.

She is a recipient of the LASPAU/OAS Fellowship 2002-2004. She holds a Ph.D. in Dance from Temple University and a Master of Arts in Dance Education and a Bachelor of Science in Dance from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport, as well as a Diploma in Teacher Education from the Cultural Training Centre (now EMCVPA), School of Dance.


  •   Vice Principal, Academic and Technical Studies
  •    Vice Principal, Administration and Resource Development
  •    Human Resource Department
  •    Finance and Accounts Department
  •    School of Continuing Education and Allied Programmes
  •    Chair, Academic Board