NAGC Announces the 2019 Javits-Frasier Scholars
September 23, 2019

Increasing Equity in Access and Quality of Service for Gifted Children in America’s Schools

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Javits-Frasier Scholars Program recognizes passionate, innovative educators who work in districts that serve students from low-income and minority populations that are historically underrepresented in gifted education. Today NAGC announced the 2019 cohort:

Name School City, State

Melissa Argano

Gibson Elementary School

Winston-Salem, NC

LaJuana Broden-Scott

Whitehaven High School

Memphis, TN

Rebecca Burnette

Ooltewah High School

Chattanooga, TN

Vidushi Chaudhry International Community School Decatur, GA
Rachel Forbes Francis C. Hammond Middle School Alexandria, VA
Alejandro Gomez Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School Alexandria, VA
Melanie Haigh Scallon Oviatt, Orchard Hills, and Lakewood Elementary Schools Norwalk, IA
Ife Payne Belmont Elementary School Baltimore, MD
Kaitlyn Roark North Frederick Elementary School Frederick, MD
Izabel Villagomez Rossevelt Charter Academy Colorado Springs, CO

The Javits-Frasier Scholars will network with and learn from leaders in the field of gifted education at the NAGC 66th Annual Convention in Albuquerque, NM, November 7-10, 2019.

“These scholars are often working within a system that provides little time to keep up with the latest research, and the Javits-Frasier program gives them a unique opportunity to gather insight and strategies that will enhance their skills and knowledge,” said Jonathan Plucker, NAGC Board President. “Most important, the Javits-Frasier Scholars are critical to increasing equity in access and quality of service for gifted and talented children in our schools.”

According to federally-funded research, students who are living in poverty, are learning English as a second language, and are from racial and ethnic minority groups are 250 percent less likely to be identified for, and served in gifted programs, even when they perform at a comparable level to children in the program.

The 2019 Javits-Frasier Scholars shared their thoughts about learning they had won the award, including quotes from some of the world’s greatest writers and a scientist:

“I was so excited and honored to be chosen. After the excitement set in, my first thought was my scholars. I can't wait to learn and bring back tools to better my instruction for them,” said Melissa Argana, a teacher at Gibson Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC.

The state of Tennessee has two teachers who will be heading to Albuquerque. LaJuan Broden-Scott, a teacher at Whitehaven High School in Memphis reflected with a Shakespeare quote, "This above all; to thine own self be true.” Rebecca Burnette, a teacher at Ooltewah High School in Chattanooga, eagerly shared the news with her class.

Vidushi Chaudhry, a teacher at International Community School in Decatur, GA, said she felt “like the stars were aligning to help my school create an equitable, diverse program that serves all our students, especially the refugee and immigrant ones.”

Two teachers from Alexandria City (VA) Public Schools were selected: Rachel Forbes, Francis C. Hammond Middle School, and Alejandro Gomez, Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School. Forbes shared a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow,” and Gomes said he was “very grateful to NAGC for recognizing our experiences, work, and dedication to education.”

Melanie Haigh Scallon, a teacher at Oviatt, Orchard Hills, and Lakewood Elementary Schools in Norwalk, IA, said, “I am very excited to have been awarded the Javits-Frasier Scholarship to attend the NAGC Conference in Albuquerque this fall! Since January, I have embraced new learnings through classes to attain my Gifted and Talented endorsement, and this experience will culminate my studies while adding to the thrill of teaching K-5 gifted and talented students.”

Two teachers from the State of Maryland were selected. Ife Payne, a teacher at Belmont Elementary School in Baltimore, shared a Mark Twain quote, “Sing like no one is listening, love like you never been hurt, dance like no one is watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.” Kaitlyn Roark, a teacher at North Frederick Elementary in Frederick, said, “When I found out that I was selected for a Javits-Frasier Scholarship I honestly couldn't believe it! I knew a lot of people had applied for this scholarship, and I was just in disbelief that I was selected.”

Izabel Villagomez, a teacher at Roosevelt Charter Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, shared an Isaac Newton quote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”


The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is a membership organization whose mission is to support those who enhance the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy, community building, and research. 

CONTACT:  Cathleen Healy,

Follow NAGC on Twitter and Facebook.