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New for 2010 - Gifted Education Essentials  


Thursday, November 11
Reaching for the Stars: Perspectives on Finding the Next Generation of STEM Innovators


An illustrious scientist and explorer of sea and space, Kathy Sullivan has made history with her pioneering journeys to the world’s frontiers. Today, as Director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics Science Education Policy, she guides research, service and public outreach efforts aimed at catalyzing changes in science education that will equip young Americans for 21stcentury life. One of six women to join the first class of space-shuttle astronauts in 1978,Sullivan is a veteran of three shuttle missions.During a Challenger flight in 1984, she became the first American woman to walk in space. She helped launch the Hubble Space Telescope aboard Discovery in 1990 and served as; Payload Commander aboard Atlantis in 1992.

Also on the panel: Niescja E. Turner, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. In addition to her research in energy coupling in magnetic storms, storm dynamics, and ring current evolution, Turner is committed to developing the next wave of STEM talent. She is a graduate of the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts and has hopes of parleying a two-week summer academy at the Florida Governor's School program into a full blown STEM school on the Space Coast. Run jointly with astronaut Sam Durrance, the school’s focus is on space exploration, covering history, observational astronomy, orbital mechanics, rocket propulsion technology, the search for extra-solar planets, and astrobiology. While at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, CO, she wrote a full-length, interactive planetarium show "Kids In Space: Exploring Our Solar System." The show opened in 2000 and is currently shown to ~ 7000 audience members annually.

Joining us from the University of Georgia, where he is a Biochemistry and Science Communications Major is Joseph Stunzi. At age 12, Joseph became the youngest person to research at Emory Hospital and University in a medical study analyzing the effects of cell phones on pacemaker patients’ hearts. Since then, Joseph has competed in more than seven international and national level science competitions; his pinnacle achievement being named “America’s Top Young Scientist of the Year” by the Discovery Channel.  His research has spanned enzymatic hydrogen production, disease prevention in poultry, and electromagnetism’s relationship with brain cancer. Currently, Joseph’s focus has shifted towards science education and inspiration in middle and high school students through the nonprofit organization he founded, IENCE. IENCE aims to ignite a passion for science, technology, and engineering through inspiration, innovation, and integration-based multimedia content. While the majority of this content will be distributed on the Internet and in the classroom, IENCE’s newest venture is a documentary being filming in Switzerland this spring. 

The panel will be moderated by Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, a position she has held since 1998. An educational psychologist, Benbow has focused her scholarly work on gifted education and the development of mathematical talent. She co-directs, with David Lubinski, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a longitudinal study examining the developmental trajectories of over 5,000 individuals throughout the life-span. The study has been continuously funded since 1981. She is particularly interested in identifying the educational experiences and interventions most conducive to developing intellectual talent and excellence in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.



Kathryn D. Sullivan

Niescja Turner

Niescja E. Turner


Joseph Stunzi

camilla benbow

Camilla Benbow

Saturday, November 13

Mindsets, Praise, and Gifted Education: How Our Messages Can Help or Hinder the Development of Talent

Carol S. Dweck
Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

carol DweckCarol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation and author of the bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Dweck's research about intelligence and motivation, and how they are variously influenced by fixed and growth mindsets, has attracted attention from teachers trying to help underperforming students, parents concerned with why their daughters get turned off of math and science, and even sports coaches and human-resources managers intent on helping clients reach higher levels of achievement.

Before joining Stanford's faculty in 2004, Dweck taught at Columbia for 15 years as well as at Harvard and the University of Illinois. Her work has been featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe; she has appeared on The Today Show and 20/20.

Sunday, November 14

Teaching for Adversity: Facing Challenges and Making a Difference

Ron Clark
Founder, Ron Clark Academy, Atlanta, GA

Ron ClarkNo wonder this energetic and charismatic powerhouse is known as “America's Educator.” Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie, and the founder of the Ron Clark Academy. A guest on numerous network and cable television shows, Clark wrote The Essential 55 which includes his 55 expectations of students - as well as all individuals - young and old.

The Ron Clark Academy, an inner-city school serving students from across metro Atlanta, is a privately funded institution is unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on worldwide travel. Teachers from around the world visit the Academy to observe the innovative and "out-of-the-box" methods for achieving student success.

At the NAGC Convention, Clark will share the uncanny adventures he has had in the classroom and deliver a heart-felt message relevant to each of us. It is a message of hope, dedication and the never-say-never attitude required to achieve goals and dreams.

Saturday, November 13
E. Paul Torrance Creativity Lecture

The Gifted Empire Strikes Back: What Role Does Gifted Education Play in the 21st Century?

Almost daily, news sources report declines in programs for gifted and talented students; and new developments in theory and research in both gifted and general education and the field of creativity have caused me to reexamine the purposes and role of gifted education. Historically, many of the innovations first developed or adopted in gifted education have been “appropriated” by general education – indeed, general education has stolen our thunder! I view as favorable the adoption of things like thinking skills, creative problem solving, and problem-based learning into the highly publicized 21st Century Thinking Skills movement, but we now need to reexamine what makes our field necessary and unique. Infusing some of our favorable practices into general education testifies to the leadership our field has taken in the past, but it is now time to ask once again:

  • What do we stand for?
  • What is unique about gifted education?
  • What are our ideas and responsibilities for remaining true to our mission to targeted students and the preparation of highly specialized teachers of the gifted?
  • Do some of our “sacred cows” and misguided national policies need to be reexamined?
  • What are our responsibilities for improving general education? And are there policies, programs, and practices of gifted education that can be infused into general education?

Following a keynote by Joe Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, a panel of responders will react to the ideas and issues presented.

creativity renzulli color

Joe Renzulli,
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT

 Robert Root

Robert Root-Bernstein,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

 creativity Gallagher

Jim Gallagher,
University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

 Creativity Horne

Arthur M. Horne,
University of Georgia, Athens, GA

"I have often described our field as 'the secret laboratory of American education.' It’s time for us to again put on our lab coats! This session is intended to examine how we can continue to maintain our role as innovators and creators and how we can address some of the issues and questions above. I hope it will be a start for the agendas of future think tanks, position papers, and political action that may hold promise for restoring our leadership role."
--Joe Renzulli

Sponsored by Scholastic Testing Service

sponsor STS

Friday, November 12
Mini Keynotes

NAGC presents three Mini Keynotes facilitated by experts on Friday morning that reflect the larger issues affecting the field of gifted education.

Best Practices for Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students

The achievement gap is a persistent and pervasive problem in American education. Advanced minority and low-income children under-achieve compared to their counterparts; young gifted children who are poor are less likely to remain achievers, and minority children are under-represented in all types of gifted programs. In this session we focus on solutions to the achievement gap for gifted students. Individuals from a variety of program types -- in-school, school-within-a-school, and outside-of-school, and at various levels (elementary, middle, and secondary), will talk about  successful strategies for curriculum and instruction, working with parents, training teachers, and providing supports to students. The emphasis will be on what works and how teachers can transfer these strategies to their local schools and classrooms.

Miriam Taylor 

Carol Horn 

Gilman Whiting 

Miriam Morales-Taylor,
Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, CT

Carol Horn,
Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, VA

Gilman Whiting,
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

William Schofield 

Joyce VTB 


William Schofield,
Hall County School System, Gainesville, GA

Moderator: Joyce VanTassel-Baska,
College of William &  Mary, Williamsburg, VA


Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation: The New World Order

The world economy has shifted from an industrial one to a knowledge economy that thrives on the creation of knowledge, information, and innovation. In fact, some scholars refer to today's economy as a creative economy--or one that is fueled by human creativity.  In this session, we explore the latest thinking about creativity, innovation, and imagination from several leading scholars of creativity. What does it mean to be creative in today's world? What is the relationship between creativity and innovation? What are the roles of context, emotion, motivation, and personality in developing creativity--and especially schools? How can we educate gifted children for creativity and innovation?


Mark Runco 

Sandra Russ 

Robert Root 

Paula OK bw

Mark Runco,
Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Sandra Russ,
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Robert Root-Bernstein,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Moderator: Paula Olszewski-Kubilius,
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL



Using Technology in the Classroom to Differentiate for Gifted Learners

Our gifted students were born into the digital age while most of their instructors are “digital immigrants” trying to keep up with and use technology tools that emerge daily and ensure that their students are competent in the new digital literacies. Web 2.0 and Google tools have the power to help teachers respond to gifted students' needs for individualization, faster pacing, academic challenge, creative expression, and contact with other gifted students. In this session, leaders with expertise in technology and curriculum and instruction share their knowledge about how to use technology to differentiate for gifted learners.   

Kevin Besnoy 

Del Siegle 

Jann Leppein 

Kevin Besnoy,
Northern Kentucky University,
Highland Heights, KY

Del Siegle,
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Jann Leppien,
University of Great Falls,
Great Falls, MT

Brian Housand

Elizabeth Shaunessy


Brian Housand,
East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Moderator: Elizabeth Shaunessy,
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL