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Transforming LEGACY: A Reflection of Promises Made, Promises Kept, and Promises of Tomorrow

By Dr. Kristina Henry Collins.

Wait here, she said, I’ll be right back. It was her first promise to me; A small one, yes, but She gave it, kept it; left and returned. I smiled watching her saunter away, Grinned as she seemed to gravitate back. She gave me five more, Each like the first, a tiny sparkling word Brought to life in the keeping, Planting in me a seed of hope, Cast on rocky soil, but each took, This one and the next one too, And soon I hoped, and still I hope. Since then she has surely placed A million more, back to back, Giving them first, then keeping them, Until I wonder now whose hope this is:

Mine, because she gave it to me Or in the keeping still hers?

~Gary Witt

Two years ago, as president-elect, I spent much time reflecting on how might I best serve SENG. I laid out what became my vision for transforming SENG’s legacy during my 2020-2022 presidency. Promises made, I outlined four (4) major goals framed within existing, streamlined programming situated within new opportunities for growth and development. It was my goal to lead our organization in a way that ensured preservation, sustainability, and expansion of the mission and vision of SENG, aimed at transforming its legacy and leading the charge to create a synergy of personnel to maximize our potential to see a broader and more global community.

Two years later, here I am, as your outgoing president, reflecting on promises kept, and once again thinking how might I best serve SENG as immediate past president with promises of tomorrow.

Promises Made and Promises Kept

  1. The strategic expansion of our existing board of directors with the selection of four new directors over the next several months.

Over the course of two years, we have added ten (10) new directors, and for the first time in decades, maximized our number of director seats with champions inspired to lead efforts toward our transforming legacy goal. Each of these ten directors are still serving SENG with a retention rate of 100% thus far. Together, we completed a five year strategic plan outlining goals for the board to focus its work through 2025.

2. Formalize a collegiate student co-operative intern program with an extensive

mentoring component.

We had two undergraduate interns earning an income and collegiate credit for their service to SENG. Both of them graduated with one, Trent Cash, moving onward to start his doctoral program and to remain on-board as our first doctoral fellow. He was joined by an additional doctoral student, Nicole Mattingly--joining our ranks with plans to create opportunities for them to integrate their academic studies

3. Re-engage our Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) with specific

transformational responsibilities.

Dr. Ed Amend, Director Emeritus, rejoined us on the board as the PAC chairperson and representative on the board in a non-voting advisory role. His historical value to the grassroot efforts in SENG offered a great framework for transforming SENG’s legacy. He has been joined by Lifetime Achievement Winner, Dr. Joy Lawson

4. Increase our organizational depth chart with “champions” that guide the

direction of our existing programming.

As part of our new membership process, each new member of SENG has an opportunity to identify a committee with which they are interested in joining. In addition, each director chairs and/or co-chairs one of SENG’s committees, serving as mentor and building capacity for further engagement from the membership.

It was through the collaboration of the above mentioned stakeholders that we pursued four (4) major legacy goals of the past two years.

  1. Lead the Gifted Community in Unparalleled Outreach

  2. Broaden SENG’s Scholarship & Editorial Position

  3. Transition our Champion-based Leadership Model

  4. Develop Socio-Emotional Standards to Guide Educational Practices

Of these four goals, we are proud to announce that we have made significant progress aligned with our five year strategic plans. As an example, progress has included, but is not limited to, a more rigorous and outlined plan by a newly appointed co-president model to include a chair of our international council for global affiliate growth and development. SENG has experienced increased exposure to gifted stakeholders throughout the field; in an independent survey conducted by National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), SENG was listed as the #1 organization (among top 5) that stakeholders turn to for information and resources related to the gifted and talented field. SENG’s Diversity Committee has expanded its goals and aims to move beyond a single scholarship to conference, and the committee worked with top gifted scholars of color (IURGGE) to present a two-day SENGinar used to raise over $8,000.00 toward diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within and throughout the gifted community. Most notably, as a presidential goal, SENG has partnered with William & Mary to introduce its first research journal, SENGJ: SENG Journal: Exploring the Psychology of Giftedness will debut March 2022 as the official scholarly publication of the SENG organization. Designed to complement other SENG resources, the journal will publish empirical articles, reviews of research, theoretical explorations, and interviews with thought leaders and experts about the psychology of gifted individuals of all ages. SENGJ is committed to equitable practice. Representative articles will exhibit a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It supports the SENG organization’s purpose of guiding gifted individuals to reach their intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual goals. In the spirit of inclusivity, the journal is open access, free to all readers. For more information, please see SENG Journal: Exploring the Psychology of Giftedness Aims and Scope page. (Also see About This Journal for a complete description of the journal).

I am really proud of the foundation SENG has established for service to the gifted community. I am even more proud of the legacy that has been transformed over the past two years. I am confident in the leadership that remains and the plans that will evolve as a result of their commitment and innovative leadership and forward-thinking vision. I am most proud and look forward to the promises of tomorrow as the current members continue to transform SENG’s legacy, taking the organization to higher heights.

Promises of Tomorrow

Two years from now, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to celebrate a continued opportunity to serve SENG as its Immediate Past President, given an opportunity to fully support the incoming President, Alonzo Kelly, as well as initiate and engage with a personal “passion project” that furthers the goals of the organization. It is through this project that I offer promises of tomorrow – to lead efforts for the development of a volumed series of SENG-published reference books and programming handbooks aimed at solidifying SENG’s position as an innovator leader that drives change and responsively meet the needs of gifted individuals.

So this is not goodbye, for I’ll be right back with a promise to continue to plant seeds of hope.

Yours in Service,

Kristina Henry Collins

Kristina Henry Collins, Ph.D.

Outgoing President (2020-2022)

Immediate Past President (2022-2024)

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