Jen Merrill is an Illinois-based writer, blogger, flutist, and gifted family advocate. The mom of two boys, she homeschools her twice-exceptional teen while happily sending his brother off to high school every morning. She is a music educator by trade, with degrees in music education and flute performance. Jen justifies those degrees with a large private flute studio and as principal flute of the North Suburban Wind Ensemble. Long before she picked up a flute as a chid, however, Jen wanted to be a writer. Her book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, struck a nerve with families who then suspected Jen was living in their closet. Her second book, on the needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress. In addition to writing for her long-time blog, Laughing at Chaos, she has published articles in the Understanding Our Gifted Journal, the 2e Newsletter, and Huffington Post.
Jen is a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Ambassador and has presented at the National Association for Gifted Children conference (2013), the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children conference (2013), SENG’s annual conferences (2016-18), the Illinois Association for Gifted Children Parents’ Day (2017-18), and was the keynote speaker for the Twice-Exceptional Children’s Advocacy conference (2016). She brings both her acquired wisdom and her experience as a teacher and mentor to her work in the service of parents, helping them learn new techniques and mentoring them into their own versions of success.
Jen's goal is to support parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, because they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored, patronized, and discredited.It is her hope that her sons never have to deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children.
Todd Kettler, Ph.D.
Todd Kettler, Ph.D., is associate professor of educational psychology in the School of Education at Baylor University. He teaches courses in gifted education, exceptionalities, and creativity. Dr. Kettler previously worked as an English teacher, a gifted education specialist, and a director of advanced academics. He has published research in journals such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Journal of Advanced Academics, Thinking Skills and Creativity, and Journal of Creative Behavior.
Dr. Kettler co-authored A Teacher’s Guide to Using the Common Core State Standards with Gifted and Advanced Learners in English/Language Arts (Prufrock, 2014). His book on gifted and talented learning designs, Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students, won the 2016 Legacy Award for the best scholarly book in gifted education, and his newest book, Developing Creativity in the Classroom: Learning and Innovation for 21st Century Schools (Prufrock) was released in December of 2018.
Dr. Kettler coordinates the gifted and talented education programs for the School of Education at Baylor University which includes preparation of pre-service teachers, as well as advanced graduate degrees focusing on gifted education. He currently serves as the Chair of the Commissioner’s Advisory Council for Gifted Education in Texas and as editor of the Journal of Advanced Academics.
Joy Esquierdo, Ph.D.
Dr. J. Joy Esquierdo is a Professor in the Department of Bilingual and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. She is also the Director for the Center for Bilingual Studies. Dr. Esquierdo’s academic interests center on Bilingual/Dual Language Education, Gifted and Talented Education and the cognitive development of children, especially bilingual children. Her research agenda includes topics that focus on the academic performance of bilingual-dual language students in various areas such as gifted education, content biliteracy development (English and Spanish), and overall best teaching practices for bilingual-dual language learners that focus on academic rigor. She has co-authored two books: Teaching Content to Latino Bilingual-Dual Language Learners: Maximizing Their Learning and A Practical Guide for Student Interns: Meeting the Needs of Latino Students and their Communities. Her most important role is being a mother to two boys, Andrés Joaquín and Rolando Jesús.
Pre-conference Workshop Instructors &
Breakout Session Speakers
Veneranda Aguirre grew up on an Arizona border town. Always searching and learning and feeling awkward, she finally was diagnosed as autistic and only recently began to also explore her giftedness. A writer and well-known charismatic Tucson storyteller, she also earned a law degree and considers New York City here second home.
Nationally known speaker Dianne A. Allen takes her raw experience, education and information and offers exhilarating solutions to life challenges. She works as a mentor, author, speaker, podcaster and life catalyst for bright and sensitive people creating exciting and diverse avenues to opening and expanding possibilities of personal transformation. Dianne has published several books and hosts 2 podcasts.
Kate Arms, J.D., CPCC, ACC
Kate Arms is a leadership and relationship coach at Signal Fire Coaching. She works with gifted and twice-exceptional adults and parents of gifted and 2e kids. She specializes in helping people harness their many passions and sensitivities and use that energy to thrive. She runs Thrive with Intensity and developed the Side by Side Model of Healthy Relationships.
Karen Arnstein is in her second year of a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction for the Gifted through the University of Denver. She holds a California K-8 Multiple Subject credential, but decided to continue research on the identification of and instructional strategies for Twice-Exceptional (2e) students. She and her husband live in Redlands, CA and stay busy with their 11-year-old 2e son whose existential questions continue to keep them mystified.
Meredith Austin holds a Doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. Her current research interests include anti-intellectualism and gifted educational history. In addition to research and academics, Dr. Austin has more than a decade of experience in public education as an educator, curriculum specialist, and program coordinator.
Dr. Kate Bachtel
Kate Bachtel is the founder of SoulSpark Learning, a Colorado based nonprofit dedicated to optimizing the development and well-being of youth and the educators who care for them. Prior to launching SoulSpark Learning, she co-led the opening of Mackintosh Academy's Boulder campus, a K-8 school for gifted learners. Kate holds a Doctorate in Education with an Emphasis in Gifted from University of Denver and a Master's in Education with an Emphasis in Equity and Cultural Diversity from University of Colorado at Boulder. She serves on the SENG Board of Directors and was president for the 2016-17 term.
Dr. Vula Baliotis
Vula Baliotis is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Santa Monica and Torrance, CA. Certified through SENG, she specializes in conducting psychotherapy and consultations with gifted and creative adults, adolescents, and children. She also conducts psychological and educational assessments, specializing in testing gifted youth. Additionally, Dr. Baliotis works with women who are involuntarily childless, professionals in high-pressure jobs, individuals who are estranged from their families of origin, and adopted individuals and their families
Jennifer Bartee is a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Denver, where she studies curriculum and instruction at the Morgridge College of Education. Jennifer’s personal research interest centers around arts education and the potential benefits arts can have on the affective needs of the gifted population. In addition, Jennifer currently serves as adjunct faculty at Arapahoe Community College where she teaches courses on music theory and history.
Heather Boorman is the director of Boorman Counseling in Western Wisconsin. Her work as a therapist focuses on fringy kids and their families, who live with the joys and challenges of atypical developmental needs. Additionally, Heather is the author of The Gifted Kids Workbook and writes & podcasts at The Fringy Bit, to provide REAL support to parents who love a differently wired child.
Terry Bradley, M.A., has worked with middle and high school GT students for 20 years. She is the former GT Coordinator of Fairview High School in Boulder, CO, and the past-president of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented. She has been a SMPG facilitator trainer, and conducts workshops on Creating and Facilitating Discussion Groups for Gifted Students.
Maggie Brown offers over 30 years of experience working with neuro-atypical people of all ages. Maggie’s training in psychology provides a solid grounding in neurobiology which she uses to assist clients to understand emotional and physiological bases of intensities. She uses training in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy to support clients to heal from relational trauma frequently experienced by the gifted. www.maggiebrown.co.
Dr. Ardene Bunch
Dr. Bunch is a Department Chair of Gifted Testing in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Office of K-12 & Gifted Programs in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. In her 35 years as an educator, Dr. Bunch has worked in various capacities within the VBCPS school division.
Dr. Kate Burton is a psychotherapist, counsellor and owner of Alchemy Therapy, based in Perth, Western Australia. Kate is also an invited academic at the Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research at Edith Cowan University where she is currently conducting research in relation to home-schooled children and their academic, social and emotional well-being; and the provision of examination accommodations for twice-exceptional students in their final year of high school. She is co-founder of the Western Australian organization for the gifted, Gifted WA.
Trent Cash is a rising fourth-year undergraduate at The Ohio State University studying Psychology and Public Administration. Outside of the classroom, Trent has been a part of the SENG team for 2.5 years, and currently serves as the SENG Connect Project Manager and a member of the SENG Youth Council. In his free time, Trent teaches theatre to elementary-aged students in the Columbus Community and conducts research in the Ohio State Department of Educational Psychology.
Jenn Cammel is a rising third-year undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati majoring in communications and journalism. Jenn has served as a communications intern for SENG for the past 1.5 years. Jenn has also worked as an intern for the American Heart Association, helping them to plan and host their annual Heart Ball. She has been writing for the monthly newspaper, North Canton Our Town, for over two years.
Arielle is a recent high school graduate, entering her first year of university in the Fall pursuing a degree in Psychology. She is a sibling to a twice-exceptional younger brother and understands the social challenges teens face today first hand.
"Suffering from social anxiety in my early teens myself allows me to have a deeper understanding of how others in the same situation feel. I love to help those around me to improve, grow, and generally feel better about themselves and to gain confidence in who they are. Meeting and conversing with professionals who are actually supporting neurodiverse children and teens was an eye-opening and inspiring experience, and pushed me to pursue a degree in psychology even further. Sharing the social skills I have learned with my peers has been a privilege."
Tiffany Chhoum, LSWAIC, CDPT, MPH, MSW
Tiffany Chhuom has worked tirelessly for almost 18 years as a mental health and public health professional. While her background is vast in scope, her newest passion is creating safe spaces online for consumers of mental health services. When she isn't speaking at a conference or training hospital administrators on compliance and telemental health, Tiffany is working with gifted, adult trauma survivors to heal from PTSD and addiction via video.
Linda E. Collins, M.Ed., a gifted education teacher at Park Hill School District in Kansas City, MO, specializes in working with 2e students, presents nationally, and enjoys researching and writing about gifted students. Currently, Linda is writing her dissertation at University of Kansas on the topic of identifying underrepresented populations of students; she enjoys spending time with her delightfully diverse family.
Lori Comallie-Caplan is a New Mexico Licensed Master Social Worker, a Licensed Educational Diagnostician with a Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling. Additionally she holds Advanced Certification for Mediation from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Mrs. Comallie-Caplan has 30 plus years of experience in the field of counseling, coaching, evaluation, mediation and educational consultation.
Kathy Anderson Courchene is an Emotional Healing Coach and founder of Gifted 24/7, providing services for the aforementioned favorite client types. After nearly 20 years as a psychotherapist specializing in working with the gifted, Kathy is breaking out of the geographical constraints of her professional counseling license to expand her services as a healer and coach.
Dr. Susan Daniels
Ken Dickson has been a fixture in the field of Gifted & Talented Education for decades. His dedication and passion to the gifted community, and especially gifted students from non-traditional backgrounds, has been continuous with more than 40 years of service in Baltimore County Schools in differing administrative roles. Ken has also dedicated his life to working for equity and cultural inclusion in gifted programming. In 2017, Ken received the NAGC Presidents Award for his service (see left). SENG is proud to bestow Ken with the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018.
Lisa Erickson, MS, LMHC
Lisa Erickson is a licensed mental health provider in Seattle, Washington, who works solely with gifted adults, half of whom have concerns with addiction. She has been a clinician for over thirty years. Lisa taught in a graduate psychology program for 20+ years and now provides continuing education trainings regionally on professional ethics, giftedness, narcissism, addictions, and internationally on giftedness.
Dr. Ellen Fiedler
Ellen D. Fiedler, Professor Emerita of Gifted Education from Chicago’s Northeastern Illinois University, is the author of Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging Across the Lifespan. She has published chapters on gifted adults in Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child and in Living with Intensity, as well as numerous articles in professional journals. Her Ph.D. is in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ellen has provided consultation services via her own company, Wings for Education, Inc.
Terry Filipowicz is vice president of Great Potential Press. She also provides communication, writing, and public relations services to those involved in education and the creative industries. She teaches digital arts, communication, journalism, and technical writing at a college.
Ley-Anne Folks is a Canadian educator specializing in twice-exceptional learners. In her interdisciplinary M. Ed (Gifted with ADHD), she investigated the role of executive functions (EF) in learning and developed classroom support techniques for gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) students with EF deficits.
Joanne Foster Ed. D.
Joanne Foster is a parent, teacher, gifted education specialist, university lecturer, educational consultant, and award-winning author who has worked in the field of gifted education for over 30 years. Dr. Foster is co-author (with Dona Matthews) of the acclaimed Being Smart about Gifted Education, and Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids. She is the sole author of Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination, and Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate. Her newest book is ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.
Janneke Frank holds a PhD in gifted education from the University of Calgary. Her research centered on teacher effectiveness in gifted education, specifically exploring inspirational teachers of gifted students through the Dabrowskian lens. She has extensive experience as a teacher and administrator in schools that offer programming for the gifted. Janneke served as Director of the Centre of Gifted Education at the University of Calgary. Her passionate advocacy for gifted students inspired her work as Principal at Westmount Charter School.
Joe has served as a teacher, school administrator and system administrator for 50 years. Joe served as Education Manager in the Ministry of Education in Alberta, Canada. In 2010 he was hired as the Superintendent of Westmount Charter School, his current position.
Dr. Terrance Friedrichs
Terry Friedrichs has earned doctorates in gifted and special education from the University of Virginia (1990) and in critical theory in education from the University of St. Thomas (2005). He currently directs a private practice in assessing and teaching 2e students in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written extensively about advocacy for 2e students in publications such as Twice-Exceptional Newsletter and Twice-Exceptional News, and in Distinguishing Characteristics of Gifted Students with Disabilities (Prufrock, 2001).
Beth Frizzell serves as a TAG Specialist in Round Rock Independent School District. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Gifted and Talented. She writes about giftedness on her blog (onbeinggifted.com) and on Twitter: (BethFrizzell@onbeinggifted).
Shannon Fruge, M.C.D., CCC-SLP
Shannon is a speech pathologist, an IMSLEC Instructor of Teaching, and served as the founding director of the Learning Center at the Episcopal School of Acadiana. Her work continues to focus on the specialized needs of gifted individuals with EF challenges, dyslexia, and language-based learning difficulties.
Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D.
Patricia is a nationally recognized psychologist, who has worked therapeutically with gifted, highly and profoundly gifted children, adolescents and adults for over three decades. In her adjunct gifted consulting practice, she specializes in helping parents and educators understand and embrace innate gifted characteristics, and provides strategies to ensure holistic health and well-being. Her foundational book, Embracing the Whole Gifted Self, 2016, personalizes giftedness. She is a featured and keynote speaker at gifted international and national conferences, and a two term past Chair of Global Awareness Network for the National Association for Gifted Children. She is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Educational Advancement and co-founder of “Yunasa”, a holistic summer camp for highly gifted youth.
Lindsey Gorman is an 11th-grade scholar at EA Young Academy and currently serves as the president of the student-founded charitable organization Aphelion. As a founding member of this 501(c)3 non-profit organization, she has worked diligently over the past four years to coordinate fundraising events and establish Aphelion structure.
AnaMaria has over twenty-five years of experience helping adults, families and children live a healthier life. She has worked in a range of settings from shelters for battered women, to juvenile halls, schools, outpatient clinics and private practice. She has also served as a consultant, developer of Social Emotional Learning curricula, and trainer for educators and paraprofessionals. For more than a decade now, AnaMaria has immersed herself in research and practice with gifted, twice-exceptional, High Functioning Autism and related developmental disorders. AnaMaria has interdisciplinary training on multiple intervention models such as Integrated Peer Playgroups, Early Start Denver Model, Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) Model, Social Thinking with Michelle Garcia-Winner, Sensory Processing and most recently the integration of cognitive behavioral therapy and kundalini yoga for the treatment of trauma, anxiety and depression.
Dr. Joanna Haase
Joanna Haase is a psychotherapist in private practice, who works with gifted individuals and their families to help them understand, navigate and embrace the joys and challenges of giftedness. She has over 28 years of experience in treating clients with eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
Norma Hafenstein, Ph.D.
Dr. Hafenstein is the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. She is co-principal investigator for the Right4Rural Project, a Jacob K. Javits federally-funded initiative to identify and serve giftedness in traditionally underrepresented groups in rural Colorado. Her research interests include identification of giftedness, social/emotional development, and program effectiveness.
Dr. Lisa Hancock
Lisa Hancock is a clinical psychologist who works at Summit Center where she provides neuropsychological assessments, counseling, and therapy to children, teens, families, and adults. She specializes in working with twice-exceptional children, and with individuals who are highly gifted. Dr. Hancock is the co-founder of the California Gifted Network where she works with administrators to design and implement educational and social programming for gifted children; provides teacher in-service training; and conducts parent education workshops.
Norma Hafenstein, Ph.D.
Norma Hafenstein is the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. She is co-principal investigator for the Right4Rural Project, a Jacob K. Javits federally-funded initiative to identify and serve giftedness in traditionally underrepresented groups in rural Colorado. She advises graduate students and teaches courses including Psychological Aspects of the Gifted, Program Development, Leadership and Communication and Research as Problem Identification, Intervention, Application and Defense.
Sylvia has a Master's Degree in Education and more than 25 years of teaching experience in general and gifted public school classrooms. She was co-creator of the SuperThinkers program for gifted students in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Sylvia has also been an executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Virginia. She is now retired, pursuing creative writing, and serving on several boards of directors.
Tina Harlow, MSW, LCSW
Tina Harlow is a therapist, speaker, consultant, blogger (guidingbright.com) and founder of Guiding Bright in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Tina utilizes creativity and fun to help gifted children and families gain a better understanding of themselves and each other while emphasizing the strengths in their neurological differences. In addition to her private practice, she works for Gifted Development Center in Denver and serves as coordinator of the Colorado Consortium of Schools for the Gifted.
Dr. Melanie Hayes
Dr. Melanie Hayes has made it her life’s work to help gifted and twice exceptional persons find their niche and work to their strengths. She is an expert in the needs of gifted/2e persons and works with a wide range of clients to help them thrive. Dr. Hayes holds a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on giftedness and twice exceptionality. She received the Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work with 2e persons and is a past winner of Comcast’s Innovations for Entrepreneurs for her work using technology to overcome educational roadblocks with 2e students. Dr. Hayes created Big Minds, a school for 2e children that lets them learn without limits through mentoring and supporting their intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. She also has 2e twins, so she is intimately familiar with the joys and hardships of raising and educating exceptional children.
Mark Hess is in his 31st year of teaching the last 20 specifically with gifted learners. He is the Pikes Peak Association for Gifted Students president and a state board member of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented. As Portable Gifted and Talented, Mark trains teachers and has published more than 200 units specifically designed for gifted learners. Mark is also a Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Ambassador and has written lesson guides for the National Math and Science Initiative.
Emily Hester is a senior at EA Young Academy. She is twice exceptional, with autism and sensory processing disorder. Emily plans to major in computer science with a focus on cybersecurity in the fall. In her spare time, Emily enjoys singing and composing music.
Stephanie Hallock Hicks is a Family Support Specialist with the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, one of Virginia’s Parent Training and Information Centers. She specializes in Twice Exceptional students and in building positive futures for children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life.
Dr. Mary Hidalgo
Mary Hidalgo is dedicated to supporting families of gifted/talented and 2e learners. Born and raised in Southwest Louisiana, Dr. Hidalgo received both her Bachelors and Masters Degree as well as her gifted certification at McNeese State University. She later received an Educational Specialist Degree and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana State University.
David Holland, has 40 years experience as an educator in various roles and settings, of which 20 years were in gifted education. David has a Masters in Education and coursework for a PhD in gifted education.
Desiree Houkema is working for the National Talent Centre of the Netherlands (NTCN) which aims to contribute to the optimal development of gifted children and adults in the Netherlands. She has a background in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence, and is an ECHA Specialist in Gifted Education.
Markus Hunt is the Head of School at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, Colorado, USA. The school serves a gifted population of K-8 students. The Logan school offers a dynamic curriculum that teaches the way children learn by giving them hands-on experiences fueled by their own curiosities. Creative learning is driven by individual units of study (designed by student and teacher), inquiry, reflection and primary source experiences.
Molly Isaacs-McLeod, J.D., L.L.M.
Molly A. Isaacs-McLeod is an attorney mediator, educator, and president of Gifted Unlimited, LLC. Gifted Unlimited, LLC provides quality, researched based, professional information reaching across the lifespan for gifted individuals and those who support them through publications, podcasts, services, and regional gatherings. Molly has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Gifted Education, the Council on Gifted and Talented Education for Kentucky, and the Board of Directors for SENG.
Noel Jett, Ph.D.
Noel Jett earned her Ph.D. in Gifted Education from the University of North Texas in 2018, but has been a member of, and advocate for, the gifted community as long as she can remember. She is also an instructor for OnlineG3 where she teaches psychology classes to bright kids of all ages from all over the world.
Michele Kane, Ed. D.
Michele Kane has been an advocate for gifted learners and gifted education for more than 25 years. She is professor at Northeastern Illinois University, where she coordinates the Master of Arts in Gifted Education program. Michele is a contributing author to Off the Charts, Giftedness and Creativity, and Living with Intensity. Her most recent co-authored book, Planting Seeds of Mindfulness, was released in 2018.
Albert Kaput’s work and passion is guiding gifted children who dropped out the regular school-system. His experience with counselling more than 500 gifted dropouts has grown over the last 25 years, in a regular school and in the Centre for Creative Learning (CCL), a private institute that started in 2000. He has his own practice for advising, guiding, and counselling gifted children, and their parents and teachers.
DeeDee Kates, M.Ed., M.A.
DeeDee Kates is currently a school psychologist on the Central Coast of California. She has provided consulting on student support, classroom differentiation, and tiered supports at the classroom and school levels in this setting, as well as related presentations in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. Prior to relocating, DeeDee had over 20 years in the field of education as a classroom teacher and private educator, encompassing Gifted, Twice Exceptional, and Special Education in the Los Angeles area.
Maria Katsaros-Molzahn, Ed. D.
Maria Katsaros-Molzahn has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a focus on Underrepresented Gifted and Talented Students from Concordia University. Along with her academic credentials, Maria has worked in the field of gifted education for the past 23 years as an educator in Oregon, Wisconsin.
Kiesa Kay, poet and playwright, edited Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice Exceptional Student, and co-edited High IQ Kids, which received the Legacy Award as the Best Book for Educators and Parents in its publication year. She is the mother of two twice exceptional learners. Kiesa has conducted online seminars for parents and students for the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Her most recent play, Love Makes a Home, has been presented in three states.
Alonzo Kelly is a dynamic Executive Coach, Professor, 3x Best Selling Author, and Radio Host, having gained international and global attention as a premier consultant and strategist. He has appeared on America’s Premier Experts which airs on major networks across the country including ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. He holds a bachelors in Accounting, three masters degrees (Public Administration, Human Resource & Labor Relations, Business Administration), and is nearing completion of a PhD in Multidisciplinary Human Services, and DBA in Business Administration.
Barry Kennedy has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineer from Arizona State University and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineer from Purdue University, student in cognitive neuroscience, former Sherwood City Counselor, authored two books published by McGraw-Hill, former adjunct professor at Portland State University, University of Portland, Portland Community College, and Oregon Institute of Technology.
Melinda Khachaturian is the National Director of Admissions & Outreach at College Living Experience (CLE). CLE is the leader in post-secondary transition and support services for young adults with exceptionalities. Melinda has worked with college students from around the world since 2002 and is the sister to an amazing person with many exceptionalities.
Peter Khu, a parent board member, values the goal of creating a collaborative environment where students at Westmount Charter School are supported to reach their highest personal potential. Peter is the father of two spirited gifted children who have thrived within the school's inside out paradigm.
Heather is a Canadian middle school teacher. Her practice focuses on the education of the gifted, with a content specialization in math and science. She is also inspired by the practices of Reggio Emilia and therefore interprets curriculum and builds her instruction through a student-centered, negotiated and generative approach.
Adam Laningham has over 18 years of experience in the field of education. Having been recognized as the Arizona Gifted Teacher of the Year, Adam has taught at several schools and multiple grade levels, run numerous gifted programs, and is currently serving on the Board for the Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented. Adam is currently the Gifted Services Coordinator for a large and diverse school district in the Phoenix area that provides a wide range of services and programs to over 5,000 gifted identified students in preschool - 12th grade. Mr. Laningham frequently travels throughout Arizona and the southwest meeting with parents and educators to help support our gifted learners.
Dr. Andrea Lein
Andrea Lein is the Head of School at The John Dewey Academy, a therapeutic college preparatory boarding school for gifted and twice exceptional students. Andrea has worked as a clinician, researcher, and educator for nearly 20 years. She earned her M.Ed. (Educational Psychology, Gifted) and Ph.D. (Clinical & School Psychology) at the University of Virginia, where she also worked at the National Research Center for the Gifted & Talented.
Lindy Lyda, a 9th-grade scholar at EA Young Academy, began her service with Aphelion as a founding member. She has served on the executive board in various roles including her current term as event coordinator which requires planning events and reaching out to other organizations to expand Aphelion's impact. A natural leader, Lindy currently serves as the president of NJHS and the past president of her school's environmental conservation club, SEEDS.
Lois Letchford, M.A.
Lois Letchford specializes in teaching children who struggle to read, working with students of all ages in Australia and Texas. Her creative teaching methods vary depending on the reading ability of the student, employing age-appropriate, rather than reading-age-appropriate, material. She completed a Master's in Literacy and Reading from the State University of New York at Albany. Reversed: A Memoir is her first book.
Nathan Levy, author of the series Stories With Holes, has over forty years experience as a teacher, principal, author and educational consultant. Nathan has traveled extensively nationally and internationally working with educators, parents and children on how to improve creativity, thinking and spontaneity in adults and children.
Folly Jee Ligh is a certified SMPG facilitator and the parent representative on the board of directors of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT). Her current interests include learning more about giftedness and its relationship with cognitive neuroscience, creativity, emotional intelligence, and motivation.
Joi Lin received her B.S. in Mathematics and secondary education from the University of Northern Colorado and M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Northcentral University. She is a former middle school math teacher and advocate for equitable education. She is currently in the first-year of the Ed.D. program for Gifted Education Leadership at the University of Denver.
Paula Majeau (M.Ed) is a certified teacher with a Master's degree in Special Education. After graduating from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, she entered the Army where she served as a helicopter maintenance test pilot. She is currently as the Learning Specialist at the Episcopal School of Acadiana in Lafayette.
Nora Malueg is a 17 year old high school graduate who lives in Burnsville, Minnesota. Nora has volunteered in the broadcasting station Bloomington Educational Cable Television for almost 6 years, and hopes to continue working in this field. She is a lifelong Girl Scout, earning her bronze and silver awards, and is working towards her gold award. She is a 2019 graduate from Perpich Center for Arts Education in the Visual Arts department, and has been accepted into her university of choice.
Carol Malueg is a Master Facilitator and Trainer for Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). She has worked on three Javits Grant projects focused on improving identification of and services for gifted at-risk students. Carol is co-founder of absentmindedlearner.com and is an Independent Educational Consultant in gifted and twice-exceptional education. Carol serves as past-president of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented.
Jessie Mannisto is the editor in chief of Third Factor, a magazine that applies Kazimierz Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration as a tool to understand and empower those who seek to better our world. She has served as a leadership analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she wrote psycho-biographic assessments of foreign leaders for US policymakers. www.jlmannisto.com.
Simenona Martinez is an American actress, singer, writer, recording artist, songwriter, music producer, behavioral scientist, public speaker, entrepreneur, and artist: visual, political, performance, abstract romanticism, poetry and film writing.
Kristi Mascher, M.Ed.
Kristi Mascher is an experienced and credentialed teacher in the areas of K-12 Gifted Education, Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. She attained her M.Ed. in Special Education: Gifted Education from the University of Missouri and is a current doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Gifted & Talented Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, she is a faculty member within Missouri Southern State University's Teacher Education program.
Dr. Amanda Mayeaux
Amanda Shuford Mayeaux is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Dr. Mayeaux received the Rayma Harchar Outstanding Research Paper Award from Louisiana Educational Research Association (2014) for her research. Dr. Mayeaux has published a book with Stenhouse Publishers and has several publications on effective teaching & learning
Ginnie McKnight is a self-taught painter and film director. In her first attempt of a group art exhibit, several of her oil paintings were accepted for exhibit on billboards in New York City's Times Square. In her first attempt as a film director, she created a short documentary about her life as a foster care youth and published painter. This inaugural short documentary film Moving Home was accepted into the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Ginnie McKnight directed, edited, produced, and scored the film on her own.
Mandi Melendez, LMFT, LPC, RPT, NCC
Mandi is co-founder of Nurture Family Counseling. She is the President of the Texas Association for Play Therapy. She holds a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with an emphasis in Play Therapy from Texas State University, as well as a Master of Arts in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Texas. Mandi works from an attachment focused perspective and has additional expertise in Child Parent Relationship Therapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, and Thera-play. Areas of particular interest are gifted children and adolescents, attachment issues, interpersonal neurobiology, sand-tray therapy and mindfulness based practices.
Dr. Paul Michalec
Paul Michalec received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder in Multicultural Social Foundations of Education. He has 30 years of teaching experience in formal and informal settings. Professor Michalec is a nationally trained Courage to Teach facilitator. He leads retreats on renewal and resiliency for K-12 educators, physicians, higher education faculty, and religious leaders.
Dr. Ana Miro
La doctora Ana G. Miro Mei's cuenta con 38 anios de experiencia y posee estudios de bachillerato, maestria y doctorado en las areas de Educacion Especial y Elemental, Curriculo/Ensenanza y Liderazgo Educativo. Imparte catedra en el Recinto de Rio Piedras de la Universdidad de Puerto Rico desde el 1991. Ha trabajado como maestra en el sistema publico y privado en diversos niveles en Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos. Ha servido como perito educativo en casos de querellas y demandas de Educacion Especial. Posee varias publicaciones e investigaciones. Ha sido la investigadora principal o directora en proyectos relacionados con dotados con doble excepcionalidad.
Heidi is the founder of Seed Starter, an educational placement consulting practice in which she advises families on finding appropriate schooling options. In 2016 she co-founded FlexSchool Inc., a disruptive education company focused on creating a reproducible model of small schools for gifted/2e students. She holds an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola New Orleans and an A.B. in English from Stanford University.
Niki Mott, M.A., M.Ed.
Niki Mott is a retired public schools advisor for gifted students currently teaching at the university level and spreading the word on connecting authentically as an internationally certified Facilitator for Speaking Circles and Relational Presence. Her experience with gifted spans almost 40 years as the parent of two sons, one severely gifted and the other twice exceptional (2e).
Stacy Mueller is currently the GT Academy Specialist at Sablatura Middle School's GT Academy, in Pearland, Texas. Pearland ISD’s GT Academy is a school within a school for gifted students 5th through 8th grade. She has worked with gifted students as a teacher and gifted specialist for seventeen years.
Sheila Mulbry currently serves as a TAG Coordinator with Lockhart Independent School District. She is a constant advocate for gifted students and their special needs, and has presented staff development on gifted education for the past 15 years at local, district, and state levels. She obtained BA degrees in Humanities and Elementary Education, and holds ESL and Gifted Endorsements from the State. Sheila is involved with the TAGT Education Committee.
Sara Newman, LCSW
Sara Newman is a licensed clinical therapist and agency owner with over 20 years of experience serving youth, adults and community organizations. Through her work she has founded two agencies that serve vulnerable youth and families through mentoring, crisis stabilization, parenting support and psychotherapy.
Cori Paulet, M.A.
Cori Paulet holds an MA in gifted, creative, and talented education from the University of St. Thomas, MN. Cori is an educational consultant, SMPG facilitator, and writing coach. She has written and edited for educational television, websites, and multimedia. She designed and implemented curriculum for writing a personal narrative/college application essay to economically disadvantaged and culturally diverse learners in urban high schools, and continues to coach students in writing one-on-one.
Paula Prober is a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. Over the 35+ years she has worked with the gifted, Paula has been a TAG teacher and presented at universities, webinars, and conferences. She consults internationally with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. Her popular book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth was published by GHF Press. She blogs at rainforestmind.com.
Susan Rakow, LPCC, Ph.D.
Dr. Rakow is a clinical mental health counselor with Dr. Sylvia Rimm's Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, OH. In addition to her private practice, she works as a counselor at Menlo Park Academy for Gifted Learners where she is currently implementing an EF curriculum in grades K-8. Susan is the author of numerous articles and two books: Educating Gifted Students in Middle School: A Practical Guide (2nd edition) and Teaching to the Top (NMSA).
Carol Raymond, M.Ed.
Carol currently serves as the Director of Assessment and College Advising at EA Young Academy. She also provides private psycho-educational assessment, consulting, and educational advising through Beyond Potentiality, LLC. Her passion is implementing methods to meet the social and emotional needs of her students through challenging and appropriate academic pursuits.
Deborah Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and speaker. In 2016 she founded TiLT Parenting, a website, weekly podcast, and social media community for parents like her who are raising differently wired children. A regularly contributor to Psychology Today and ADDitude Magazine, Debbie's newest book is Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World (Workman Publishing, 2018).
Benita J Robertson, M.A.
Benita is a management consultant in the Washington, D.C., metro area moonlighting as a career coach. After discovering the emotional and social impacts of giftedness in adulthood she has committed to living authentically as her gifted self and encouraging gifted adults to enhance their self-knowledge, identify strengths find meaningful and fulfilling lives. Benita has a BA in English and a Masters Certificate in Public Administration from American University.
Amanda M. Rudolph has been an educator for over twenty years completing her doctoral work at University of Arkansas. Since then she has worked at Stephen F. Austin State University as a professor in Secondary Education.. Her current research focus is gifted education specifically the socio-emotional needs of students and the implications of those needs in the classroom. She has published two books, one on classroom management and one on education reform.
Laila Y. Sanguras is a former middle school teacher who received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of North Texas. She is the author of Grit in the Classroom: Building Perseverance for Excellence in Today’s Students, Educators Quick Reference Guide to Grit in the Classroom, and Raising Children with Grit: Parenting Passionate, Persistent, and Successful Kids.
Tiffany has a lifetime professional educator license from the State of Wisconsin to teach grades 1st through 8th, with specializations in science and social studies. In addition to published works, she also draws upon her own experiences growing up as a gifted child and living as a gifted adult, giving her a holistic view of giftedness throughout the lifespan.
Dr. Wendi Schirvar
Dr. Wendi Schirvar is a researcher and practitioner specializing in socio-emotional needs of gifted kids and their families. She has worked and trained at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, and the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, serving children ages 3-21. She is a nationally certified school psychologist, legislative liaison for the Minnesota Council of Gifted & Talented, and the Minnesota SENG state liaison.
Patricia Sciortino, M.S. Special Ed, B.A. Psychology
Pat Sciortino brings her unique expertise in using humor to motivate learning and skill development. Based on 14 years of experience working with gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) students in Los Angeles and New York, this award winning, social, thinking curriculum creatively engages learners by tapping into their unique senses of humor while introducing and strengthening social/emotional and executive functioning skills. Patricia was named 2014 VIP Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women.
Dr. Thomas Shaff
"Psychology was always my favorite subject after science and art. I earned my BA in experimental psych, MA in Gifted, Creative and Talented Education and Ph.D. in Ed Psych. I have gifted kids, a creatively gifted wife, and the desire to excel at whatever I do. I gave a lot of time to the gifted council of my school district for test selection, parent awareness, school board awareness and writing district policy. But my most enduring interest is helping gifted kids become talented adults after high school and college."
Nancy has lived the life of parenting a profoundly gifted daughter for 20 years and has served for many years on the Board of the Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted, a non-profit organization benefiting profoundly gifted families. Nancy has spoken with her daughter, Noel Jett, Ph.D., at local, national, and international conferences.
Amber Siler, M.A., PsyD
Amber Siler licensed clinical psychologist in private practice at Bravely Blooming, LLC. She obtained her M.A. (2006) and Psy.D. (2010) in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her practice primarily serves twice-exceptional children and adults with ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, and neuro-cognitive differences that impact relationship satisfaction and adjustment to life stressors or traumatic losses.
Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D.
Julie Skolnick is the founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, providing compassionate guidance and strategies for parents and educators of 2e children, and mentoring 2e adults. She is the producer of the 2 Days of 2e Virtual Conference, Secretary to the Maryland Superintendent's Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, SENG Maryland liaison, SMPG facilitator, member of the NAGC Simultaneous Supports Committee, member of the Advisory Council for The G Word, a frequent speaker, and prolific writer publishing the monthly newsletter, Gifted & Distractible. Julie is also the mother of three twice exceptional children who keep her on her toes and uproariously laughing.
Audrey Smith, M.A.
Audrey holds a Masters degree in assessment, which has been helpful in designing program responses to the needs of gifted students.
Fiona Smith, M.A.
Fiona is the Director of Gifted Minds Pty Ltd based in Sydney, Australia. She is a registered psychologist and has a Masters in Gifted Education. Over the last twenty years, Fiona has assessed over 3,500 gifted children, adolescents and adults. She travels all over Australia and has done assessments in China and Hong Kong. She has spoken at state, national and international conferences since 1998. Fiona counsels gifted clients and has done research in creativity and mental health and well-being issues seen in creative young adults in Australia. Fiona also counsels parents with gifted children.
Naomi Smith is a product of a gifted education. She grew up in both southern Idaho and southwest Louisiana. She began the gifted program after moving to Louisiana in fourth grade. Graduating from high school in 2015, Naomi went on to earn a B.A. in English with minors in Spanish and International Studies: Global Diplomacy in December 2017. Naomi is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from McNeese State University.
Scott has spent over two decades working as a counselor, supervisor, consultant, trainer and a business owner in a variety of settings. His work is based on the eclectic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), Feeling State Addiction Protocol [FSAP - EMDR], DeTur-EMDR, Chronic Pain - EMDR, and Brain-spotting therapy to treat various concerns (e.g., trauma, childhood abuse, spousal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, combat trauma, addiction, loss, and migraine headaches), Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy (i.e. Five Path, Seven Path, Ego State Hypnotherapy, Simpson Protocol), Progressive Relaxation for Stress Management, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Client-Centered Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Object Relations Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.
Matt Stevens is a Manager in the Financial Aid Department at Los Angeles Film School. He is also the principle researcher for Comallie-Caplan Counseling, Coaching and Consultation. Matt’s entrepreneurial spirit is demonstrated in his multi-potentiality. He continues to follow passions in photography, videography, vocal performance, developing educational videos and writing.
Mark Talaga, M.A.
Mark Talaga is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Masters from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Utilizing his expertise in working with the gifted, especially those that struggle with learning issues, he has opened the Detroit Center for Identity Potential to serve the gifted population of Metro Detroit.
Tracy Tanner completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas. She received her Master's in Counseling from St. Edward's University. Tracy co-founded and co-directs a thriving group practice, GT Therapy Group, in the heart of Austin. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Tracy leads a team of clinicians who provide individual, group, couples and family therapy to people across the lifespan, and oversees the therapy services the team provides that support the needs of the gifted.
Dr. Susan Daniels is co-founder and Educational Director of the Summit Center, a psycho-educational clinic in the Bay Area specializing in the needs of gifted, creative, and 2e students – as well as Professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling at California State University, San Bernardino. Dr. Daniels specializes in the social and emotional development of gifted children and adolescents, intensity and sensitivity of gifted individuals across the lifespan.Dr. Daniels is also a Co-founder of Camp Summit a residential summer camp for gifted youth.
Dr. Nicole A. Tetreault
Dr. Nicole A. Tetreault is a neuroscientist, researcher, author, meditation teacher, and speaker who specializes in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. As the founder of Awesome Neuroscience (nicoletetreault.com), she is dedicated to translating the promise of neuroscience and positive psychology for people to live the best quality of life. Dr. Tetreault has authored many peer-reviewed scientific papers on the topics of gifted experience, neuroinflammation in autism, brain evolution, neuroanatomy, brain development, behavior, and cell function.
Celi Trépanier, M.Ed.
Celi Trépanier is the author of the book, Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, and writes for her popular blog, Crushing Tall Poppies. Her writing has been featured in Education Week and various state gifted associations’ publications. She also writes for Fractus Learning and Noodle Education.
Claudette Van Ravenstein
Claudette Van Ravenstein is GT District Coordinator for Harmony Houston North schools. She began teaching full-time in 2010, first as the technology teacher for K-3 at Harmony School of Excellence. In 2011, she started providing pull-out services for K-5 students. Claudette moved into her current role in 2014. She has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she's pursuing a M.Ed. degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Technology.
Carla is the Director of the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin University.
Heather Vaughn is the K-12 Educational Outreach Coordinator for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life located at The University of Texas at Austin. With most of her career devoted to curriculum development and teacher training, she has served as a district administrator, a district specialist, and an educator in the classroom. Ms. Vaughn holds graduate degrees from both the University of Mississippi and the University of Georgia.
Michelle Vignon, M.S.
Michelle Vignon is a gifted specialist who helps elementary gifted students realize their potential by providing pull-out services in the Title 1 district where she works. The services that she provides focus not only on the academic but on social-emotional development so that the gifted child can be successful in all areas of life. Ms. Vignon received her Master's in Science from Purdue University focusing on gifted and talented/high-ability. This is her eighth year working as a gifted specialist.
Dominic is the Counsellor at Gifted Minds. He has a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. His role is to work with gifted children, adolescents and young adults in resilience based-training to help with any negative aspects of social or emotional over-excitabilities and sensitivities. Growing up a gifted student himself, he has an understanding of the frustration and boredom that can be a factor in some academic situations and institutions and the social and emotional ramifications that can ensue. Using Person-Centered and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with mindfulness and strength-based techniques, Dominic works with the client to create balance between the intellectual and social spheres.
Clifton Wigtil, M.S., M.A.
Clifton Wigtil is a Senior Clinical Assessment Developer at Pearson where his main focus is working on the latest revision to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. He has a Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences with a Clinical Concentration from James Madison University, and a Master of Science in Education in Educational Psychology with a Gifted Education Concentration from Purdue University.
Eric is a registered psychotherapist, educator, writer, and (re)searcher currently pursuing a PhD at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, in the field of social and cultural health studies. Eric’s dissertation explores how gifted adults experience ecological self (i.e., nature connectedness) and how such experiences relate to both mental health and pro-environmental behavior. Eric also operates a nature-infused counseling & coaching practice and is an adjunct professor of geography and environmental studies at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. You can learn more about Eric and his work through his website.
Matthew Zakreski, PsyD
Matthew Zakreski is a high energy, creative clinician who utilizes an eclectic approach to meet the specific needs of his clients. He specializes in working with children and adolescents, as well as their families, in providing therapy and conducting psychological evaluations. Dr. Zakreski served as the school counselor for The Grayson School, the only school in Pennsylvania that solely serves the needs of the gifted. He is currently in private psychological practice.