Dance teacher, coach Mrs. Amber Rodriguez returns to campus after nine years


In the dance room before school Aug. 22, Mrs. Amber Rodriguez instructs the dance team on how to perform a move in their routine. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the dance team practices their routines for upcoming events. Photo by Isabella Tomasini

With an ever-changing world, things come and go from our lives indiscriminately. Teachers are no exception. After almost a decade of separation, part-time dance teacher and coach Amber Rodriguez, known as “Mrs. Rod”, has returned to campus. 

“I grew up as a dancer, I spent my whole life dancing in a studio, but I didn’t have a dance team at my high school. So I cheered, but I kind of fell in love with the idea of spirit as well, and then cheered all the way through college,” Rodriguez said. 

She was able to get her dance education credential from UC Davis after attending Elon University with a major in communications and a minor in dance. 

Rodriguez has taught choreography all over the U.S., alongside running dance studios both locally and in the Bay Area. In addition, she has also worked in the tech industry. 

“I’ve worked at Netflix, Pinterest, Lucid, and now I consult for AppFolio,” Rodriguez said. 

On campus, Rodriguez is best known for her optimistic outlook on life. Students say she consistently acts with high-energy and a personable attitude. She has strived to make a more positive environment for every student that enters the dance room. 

“I feel like when I was a kid, if I had a bad day, dance always made my day better…I would be able to dance away my worries. I hope to provide that same type of environment for the kids that I get to interact with,” Rodriguez said.

She says that being able to turn someone’s day around starts with making that student feel like they belong. Yet, that wasn’t always easy for her to do. 

“As I spent more and more time teaching, I realized I have to put more into those kids who may not be instantly reciprocating my energy … I always try to make sure every kid in the room feels important in my class, but that was a hard lesson to learn when I first started teaching,” Rodriguez said. 

In the short time she has returned students like Haley Weltmer, a dance team captain, had her high school journey drastically altered by Rodriguez’s teaching. 

“She’s changed my experience by constantly pushing my limits and changing parts of WHS dance to make it better,” Weltmer said.

Since Rodriguez’s departure in 2013, the school’s culture has changed immensely. However, the fact that everyone deserves to exist in an environment where they belong has not. She hopes that when she teaches students, she can prepare them for things later in life. 

Rodriguez said, “I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Whitney, so that’s why I’m back.”