About Our Authors


Auerbacher, Inge

Inge Auerbacher was born in Kippenheim, Germany, and she is a child survivor of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She studied chemistry at Queens College of the City University of New York and worked for many years as a chemist in research and clinical work. She has received numerous awards for her writing and her work in promoting tolerance and human rights and has appeared many times on TV and radio, both in the U.S. and in Germany. She is the author of Beyond the Yellow Star to America, and Running Against the Wind.

Ault, Jennifer

Jennifer Ault has spent her career working in the field of giftedness. As an editor, she has worked on the books of some of the most eminent figures in gifted education, parenting, advocacy, and curricula, and her depth and breadth of knowledge of what it truly means to be gifted runs deep. She has a B.A. in English from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Jen is the principal editor for Royal Fireworks Press and has worked on many of the company’s books, including all of the books by Michael Clay Thompson. She is also the author of The Essential Guidebook for Parents of Gifted Children and My Twice-Exceptional Murphy.


Baum, Susan

Susan Baum

Susan Baum, Ph.D., is co-director of the International Center for Talent Development and director of the National Institute for 2E Research and Development at Bridges Academy. Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle and an international consultant, Susan is published in numerous books, chapters, and articles in the areas of twice-exceptional students, primary-age gifted students, social and emotional factors affecting gifted students, and multiple intelligences. She served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and is a past president and co-founder of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS). She is a recipient of the Weinfeld Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in educating twice-exceptional children. She is a co-author of the book Creativity 1, 2, 3.

Bensen, Vidabeth

Vidabeth Bensen studied art in graduate school at Brooklyn College and later taught high school art in Brooklyn and on Long Island, New York. She spent more than two decades living overseas, including in Okinawa and in Morocco, where she worked at the American Embassy in Rabat as a graphic artist. In Germany she worked as an illustrator for the Giessen Military Community. She went back to teaching high school art in an American high school near Tokyo and then taught an elementary art program for gifted students in Seoul, Korea. After returning to the United States, she became an artist in residence for the Durham, North Carolina, schools, a position she held for eight years. She currently runs a screen printing class at Confratute, a world-wide conference in gifted education at the University of Connecticut every summer, and she continues to create original prints, cards, t-shirts, and hand-printed calendars using screen printing. She is the author of A Simple Guide to Screen Printing.

Birchak, Stephen

Stephen Birchak, Ph.D., (affectionately known as “Dr. Bird”) is a widely-known authority and speaker in the field of positive psychology who spent forty years in higher education. Educated at Adams State College in Colorado (M.A.) and the University of Northern Colorado (B.A. and Ed.D.), Dr. Birchak worked at Colorado University, Colorado Northwestern Community College, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Maine at Machias and was a professor of clinical mental health counseling for twenty-six years at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. More than half a million people nationwide have attended his presentations and workshops at school districts and conferences. Dr. Birchak presents a solution-focused philosophy that asks parents, schools, and communities to work together to create peaceful environments. He also emphasizes how we can use positive psychology to strive to make better versions of ourselves every day. He has been honored with the New York State Champion of Character Award and the Friend of Education award by The School Administrators’ Association of New York. His highly influential books include How to Build a Child’s Character by Tapping into Your Own, The Jerk Whisperer, It’s Not a Crisis; It’s an Inconvenience!, and the children’s book The Bird and the Bear.

Black, Robert

Robert Black grew up in Indianapolis, where his parents were both high school math teachers. He attended Park Tudor School in Indianapolis (where his parents taught) from kindergarten through high school. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and mathematics. He has been writing for children since the mid-1980s, when he worked on the Nickelodeon TV series You Can’t Do That on Television. He currently works as quality systems manager in California. He is the author of the math fiction book series Mathematical Nights, as well as a series of biographies about eminent mathematicians throughout history called Mathematical Lives. In addition, he is also the author of the historical novels Liberty Girl, Unswept Graves, and The Eyes of the Enemy.

Briggs, Asa

Asa Briggs, Lord Briggs of Lewes, (1921-2016) was a renowned historian. He is the author of a trilogy of books about the social history in the Victorian era in England.

Briggs, Susan

Susan Briggs studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University. She has written two social history books about Britain, one of which is a history of the BBC until the outbreak of World War II. Lady Briggs is also the co-author with her husband Asa, Lord Briggs of Lewes, of a history of the first twenty years of Punch Magazine. She is the author of The Home Front War Years in Britain, 1939–1945, a collection of hundreds of ephemera from World War II.

Butler, W. Barkley

W. Barkley Butler is a biologist and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that he was head of the Biochemistry Laboratory of the Michigan Cancer Foundation. He has had a lifelong fascination with nature and science, and especially with ants, the study of which he believes provides children with the ideal introduction to the scientific method. He is the author of Amazing Ants: Simple Sidewalk Science.


Champion, Barbara

Barbara Champion has a degree in interpreting and has been working with special needs children since 1999, both through her work and with her own family. Her students include those who are deaf/hard of hearing, nonverbal, autistic, and those with special needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and others. She is the author of the Hand Talk series of books for children, which are designed to teach them sign language.

Chris, Jerry

Jerry Chris, Ed.D., taught English, humanities, and Theory of Knowledge in Southern California for forty years. Throughout his career, he specialized in the extremes of the student ability spectrum—the gifted and talented, as well as reluctant and disadvantaged learners. He served as International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Mission Viejo High School from 1985 until 2008. In 1991 he became the first president of the California International Baccalaureate Organization (CIBO), the prototype for all the sub-regional groups in I.B. In 1998 he co-authored a senate bill that provided funds for teacher training within the California I.B. organization. He also served as an I.B. site visitor, evaluating I.B. school applicants; a Theory of Knowledge workshop leader, training both new and experienced TOK teachers; a TOK examiner; a school exam inspector; and an applicant school consultant. Dr. Chris has presented workshops on a variety of topics—including Socratic seminars, brain-compatible learning, differentiation, and critical thinking—at teacher training institutes and schools throughout North America, including the University of Southern California and Harvard University.

Among Dr. Chris’s many awards are three-time Mission Viejo High Teacher of the Year, California – Orange Region (GATE) Teacher of the Year, Disney Creative Challenge County Teacher of the Year, and the Crystal Apple from NBC. At the 2004 annual California Gifted Conference, he was given the Award of Recognition for a career of dedication to gifted education. He is the author of Classical Ethics in the Modern Classroom, A Beginner’s Guide to the Socratic Seminar, 30 Ways to Bring Philosophy into Every Classroom, 60 Ways to Assure Success for Your Gifted Children, Brain Launch and Other Perfectly Awesome Stories, Dreamers Who Can, and Double Vision.

Claassens-Hopstaken, Saskia

Saskia Claassens-Hopstaken is a life coach, trainer, and author in The Netherlands, where she writes books that aim to teach young gifted children strategies for coping with their overexcitabilities and intensities. She is the author of The Intenso Family Goes to a New School.

Crawford, Brian

Brian Crawford is a teacher who has taught students at all levels from sixth grade to college undergraduate. He received his undergraduate degree in French and German from the University of Georgia. He spent a year studying at the Université Jean-Moulin Lyon III in Lyon, France, and has dual master’s degrees in French literature and modern German culture from Indiana University. While an undergraduate and graduate student, Brian took a deep academic interest in the Holocaust and its impact on literature and film. He is a multilingual humanitarian with extensive experience in Rwanda spearheading education initiatives. He is the author of The Weaver’s Scar: For Our Rwanda.


de la Garza, Phyllis

Phyllis de la Garza is an award-winning author of more than a dozen published books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Old West. She is a book reviewer for True West and Chronicle of the Old West, she has been a member of both Western Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and she has been a SPUR Award finalist. She is the author of the historical fiction novels Charissa of the Overland and Camels West, as well as a collection of biographical stories entitled Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West.

DeSiano, Michael

Michael DeSiano holds a Ph.D. in creative arts from New York University, as well as a degree in mechanical engineering. However, his zeal for art led to a life of art making and more than forty years of teaching art at all levels: preschool, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate. He has taught at such notable institutions as Pratt Institute, New York University, and Queens College. His teaching includes a broad range of subjects: painting, sculpture, two- and three-dimensional design, art history, the creative process, and visual thinking.

An advocate for the visual arts, Michael presents workshops and lectures throughout the United States for teachers, artists, and art educators at national, state, and local agencies, including the National Art Education Association. In addition, he works with both gifted and mainstream classroom teachers to instill art into their teaching in a way that motivates and educates students. A dedicated teacher, he served as chair of the Fine Arts Department at Kean University in New Jersey. He also served as president of the University Council for Art Education for three terms, and he was Exhibition Committee Chair for more than a decade. As president, he organized annual conferences held at MOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim, and the New Museum.

During his time as a university professor, Michael authored a book on the principles and elements of art and design, which is widely used today. His writing has also been published in journals. He is the author of the iBook Elements and Principles of Art and Design.

As a working artist, Michael concentrates on natural and cultivated flora through digital photography, mixed media, and painting. His work has been exhibited in galleries in New York City and across the United States.

Dodge, Laurel

Laurel Dodge has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and anthropology and a master’s degree in environmental studies. As a naturalist/instructor, she developed and delivered wildlife education programs at the Darien Nature Center in Connecticut and the Prospect Park Wildlife Center in Brooklyn, New York. Specializing in creating opportunities for families to enjoy wildlife together, she led family nature study workshops for the Orange County Audubon Society in New York. Laurel is also a talented artist, specializing in natural history illustration. She is the author of Nature Study for the Whole Family.


Ellis, Leanne Statland

Leanne Statland Ellis is a teacher of the gifted in Lincolnwood, Illinois. She is a talented musician and has a master’s degree in education. Among her most exciting teaching assignments were the summer science programs in Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, and Midway Island. She has also been a recipient of Earthwatch grants to study in India and Kenya. Her most recent passion, with her current students, is to alert the world to the terrible effect of plastics in the oceans. Her book Tree Huggers encourages children to follow their hearts to make a real difference in the world.


Faigen, Anne

Anne Faigen has a B.A. in creative writing and a graduate degree in literature. She enjoyed a rewarding career teaching high school and college courses in literature and writing before becoming a full-time author. An abiding interest in encouraging young readers to learn about themselves and their world motivated her to write historical fiction. She is the author of Finding Her Way.

Finn, John Michael

John Michael Finn was a professor of physics at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. When he was a graduate student, he was drafted and sent with the Fourth Infantry Division of the U.S. Army to the Central Highlands of Vietnam for two years. His book Ghost Tracks is a collection of flashbacks that he put into historical context and on which he had reflected for thirty years. Sent first as a rifleman, he was later assigned to the Public Information Office. He was the author of more than ninety scholarly papers on nuclear physics, as well as numerous presentations at national and international physics conferences.

Fiore, C. A.

Carmen Anthony Fiore held a B.S. in commerce from Rider University and an M.Ed. from Rutgers University. He was a social worker and later a public schoolteacher and a private tutor. He was an avid Civil War buff, and he gave presentations to Civil War roundtables and supported groups such as the Civil War Trust, which helps to preserve Civil War historical sites. He was also a fan of William Shakespeare’s writings. He wrote short stories, articles, essays, novels, screenplays, and nonfiction. He is the author of Supplement to Shakespeare and Young Heroes of Civil War.

Fisher, Linda C.

Linda C. Fisher spent her career teaching junior high and high school English. Her depth of knowledge and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare led her to write two novels about young Will Shakespeare for children. Despite being fiction, the novels teach factual information about the man and the society in which he lived and which shaped his plays.

Fontenay, Charles L.

Charles L. Fontenay (1917-2007) was a famous American journalist, newspaper editor, and science fiction writer. Among his many science fiction stories and novellas is an award-winning series of eighteen novels for young adults called the Kipton Chronicles.

Forshag, Barbara

Barbara Forshag grew up in New Orleans and later taught language arts and history in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. She achieved National Board Certification and was named 2001 Louisiana Teacher of the Year. The next year, she became an assistant principal and enjoyed five years of administration in a middle school setting. In 1990 she was sent to Confratute, a summer conference at the University of Connecticut. There, she met Vidabeth Benson, who taught her the art of screen printing. After establishing a friendship with Vidabeth and even assisting her at Confratute in subsequent years, Barbara introduced the students in her English classes to screen printing as an enrichment activity when teaching poetry. She is the author of A Simple Guide to Screen Printing.


Gallagher, James J.

James J. Gallagher (1926-2014) spent a lifetime advocating for gifted and exceptional children. He made numerous vital contributions to educational policy on state, national, and international levels. From 1967 to 1970, he served as the U.S. Associate Commissioner for Education and was the first Chief of the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped in the U.S. Office of Education. He subsequently served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Research, and Evaluation for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). He was influential in the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 94-142), which introduced the concept of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) used in public schools throughout the United States to ensure appropriate education of children with special needs. During his federal career, Dr. Gallagher also approved the initial federal funding for Sesame Street, as well as for the development of closed captioning for television programming.

Dr. Gallagher contributed to groundbreaking efforts to establish federal policy and programs for gifted and talented students as well, including The Marland Report, National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent, and the National/State Leadership Training Institute. During his career, he served as president of the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Association for Gifted Children, the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, and the North Carolina Association for Gifted and Talented.

Dr. Gallagher worked closely with then North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt on several initiatives to improve education in North Carolina. He was on the steering committee for the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, the first public residential high school for academically gifted students, a prototype for similar schools across the nation. He also was appointed chair of the North Carolina State Competency Test Commission. He co-founded STAGE, the Statewide Technical Assistance in Gifted Education network, which redesigned gifted education programs in North Carolina.

From 1970 to 1987, Dr. Gallagher served as the Director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the leading institutes dedicated to research in early childhood education. He was a researcher on the Abecedarian Project, one of the first scientific studies to demonstrate important long-lasting benefits in academic performance in a cohort of children from lower socioeconomic circumstances. During his tenure, he served as Director of the Carolina Institute for Child and Family Policy and was director of UNC’s Bush Institute for Child and Family Policy. Until his death, he served as Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Frank Porter Graham Institute.

Dr. Gallagher published more than 200 journal articles and 39 books, including two seminal books: Teaching the Gifted Child and Educating Exceptional Children. He was the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Gold Medal of the American Psychological Association for Psychology in the Public Interest, the John Fogarty Award for Distinguished Government Service, and the Old North State Award (the premier award for public service bestowed by the state of North Carolina). Other awards include the A. Harry Passow International Award for Leadership in Gifted Education from the World Council on Gifted and Talented Children, the Distinguished Scholar and Distinguished Service Awards from the National Association for Gifted Children, the J.E. Wallace Wallin Award for Contributions to Special Education from the Council on Exceptional Children, the North Carolina Department of Education Lifetime Award for Exceptional Service, and the Peabody Award from the University of North Carolina School of Education.

Dr. Gallagher is the author of Leadership Unit: The Use of Teacher-Scholar Teams to Develop Units for the Gifted.

Gallagher, Shelagh A.

Dr. Shelagh Gallagher is an internationally recognized and award-winning expert in gifted education and problem-based learning. Her problem-based learning units have won multiple NAGC curriculum awards. In fact, the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) recognized Dr. Gallagher as its Person of Significance for 2016, describing her as a “transformational leader in curriculum design for gifted and talented students.”

Prior to her current role as a consultant and author, Dr. Gallagher spent thirteen years conducting research and teaching graduate courses in gifted education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also spent three years working at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, one of the nation’s premiere high schools for gifted students. Dr. Gallagher has conducted research, made presentations, and published articles on such topics as the personality attributes associated with giftedness, gender differences in mathematics performance, questioning for higher-order thinking, the developmental needs of gifted adolescents, appropriate instruction for gifted students, twice-exceptional students, and effective curriculum models for gifted learners—especially problem-based learning. Dr. Gallagher served as Chief Consultant during the first year of the Javits Grant Project ExCEL.

Dr. Gallagher has published curriculum for gifted students in grades K-12. While at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, she was the first manager of the project that produced the respected William and Mary Problem-Based Learning (PBL) science units. She then went on to direct two other curriculum grants: Project P-BLISS (Problem-Based Learning in the Social Sciences) and Project Insights, each of which produced PBL curricula.

Dr. Gallagher has received the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Curriculum Division award for her PBL units multiple times, including several years in a row, has served two terms on the NAGC Board of Directors, and continues to serve in leadership roles for NAGC. She is also a Senior Fellow at Yunasa, a summer program for highly gifted youth offered through the Institute for Educational Advancement. She is the recipient of both the Distinguished Service Award and the James J. Gallagher Award for Advocacy from the North Carolina Association for Gifted and Talented for “her outstanding contributions to the education of the gifted and talented; for her lifetime advocacy for gifted learners at the district and national levels, as a scholar, teacher, author, professor, consultant, and parent; and for her service as a former Board member of NCAGT and NAGC.” She also received the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence from UNC Charlotte and the Article of the Year Award from NAGC.

Dr. Gallagher is the author of most of the problem-based learning units published by Royal Fireworks Press, as well as the books Problem-Based Learning in Your HomeschoolProblem-Based Learning in Your Classroom and Concept Development Questioning Strategy.

Dr. Gallagher is available for workshops and presentations. Click here for more information.

Gatto-Walden, Patricia

Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized licensed psychologist who has worked with moderately, highly, and profoundly gifted individuals of all ages. In her consulting practice, she has specialized in three areas: holistic health and well-being, educational consulting for the gifted, and staff and program development. She has helped parents, educators, and administrators understand and accept the multifaceted inner world, needs, and concerns of gifted individuals. It is her belief that home life, education, and counseling of the gifted must attend to the integration and enhancement of the mind, heart, body, spirit, and social self in order to attain contentment and balance in everyday life.

Dr. Gatto-Walden’s career has included university instruction of doctoral-level counseling trainees, counselor supervision, and educational administration. She has extensive experience guiding staff development, program development sessions, problem-solving groups, and workshops. She has been a featured speaker at national and international gifted conferences and educational workshops and has served two terms as chair of the Global Awareness Network of the National Association for Gifted Children. She is a Senior Fellow for the Institute of Educational Advancement, which serves gifted youth through various programs, including Yunasa, a holistic summer camp for highly gifted youth. She was honored in 2016 by SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) with its Clinician of the Year award and received the Annemarie Roeper Award for exceptional service to gifted youth. She is the author of Embracing the Whole Gifted Self and a contributor to Off the Charts.


Haroutounian, Joanne

Joanne Haroutounian, Ph.D., enjoys a career across the fields of music, arts education, piano pedagogy, educational psychology, and gifted education as a teacher, performer, researcher, lecturer, writer, and consultant. Her multifaceted career affords her the opportunity to consult internationally. She is frequently in demand as a clinician and consultant because of the breadth of topics she offers emphasizing the artistic process in performance and across the artistic ways of knowing.

Dr. Haroutounian serves on the music faculty of George Mason University, overseeing its piano pedagogy program and offering doctoral seminars exploring musical talent and artistic ways of knowing. She has presented numerous sessions at the World Congress of Gifted Education, the Music Teachers National Association, and the National Association for Gifted Children, where she served as chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Division from 1995 to 1997. She was plenary speaker at the Pacific Asian Conference on Giftedness in Singapore (2008) and the International Symposium on Gifted Arts in Seoul, Korea (2009), speaking on musical talent identification and gifted/arts education for all students. She returned to Singapore as principal clinician at the International Piano Pedagogy Seminar in July 2009.

Dr. Haroutounian is well-known for editing and writing numerous teaching publications. Her book Kindling the Spark: Recognizing and Developing Musical Talent is a leading resource on musical talent development for researchers, teachers, parents, and college students. She has contributed chapters in Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education, Early Gifts: Recognizing and Nurturing Children’s Talents, and the Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent. Articles by Dr. Haroutounian can be found in Roeper Review, Arts Education Policy Review, High Ability Studies, and The American Music Teacher.

Dr. Haroutounian’s specialized research in musical talent development led to the founding of the MusicLink program, which provides long-term private instruction to promising students in financial need. She is founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit MusicLink Foundation.

Dr. Haroutounian lives in Arlington, Virginia, and has shared almost five musical decades with her husband William, a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra. She is the author of the Artistic Ways of Knowing arts curriculum.

Helmuth, Willard

Willard Helmuth, M.D., is a pediatrician and the medical director of the Union County (North Carolina) Health Department, where he is in charge of the programs for immunizations and infectious diseases. He also has a high-risk pediatric clinic there for economically deprived children. With his wife Loretta, Dr. Helmuth has worked in volunteer clinics in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He is the medical director of the Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center in Monroe, North Carolina, a clinic for the evaluation of sexually or physically abused children. As a medical examiner, he takes part in the medical exams, forensic interviews, psychological evaluation, and counseling for these children. He also works closely with the district attorney and spends time in court as cases are prosecuted. He is the author of Climbing up to the Tree House, Uphill and Into the Wind, and Old Bones.

Humphrey, Sandra McLeod

Sandra McLeod Humphrey was a clinical psychologist, a character education consultant, and an award-winning author of eight middle-grade and young adult books. She had more than thirty-five years of experience working with young people and was the recipient of the 2000 National Character Education Center’s Award, winner of several Mom’s Choice awards, and winner of the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. She is the author of the children’s book Making Bad Stuff Good, which teaches about values and character development.


Kallas, John

John Kallas, Ph.D., the son of Greek parents, was steeped in the immigrant experience. As a boy growing up in Newark, Jew Jersey, he shined shoes, sold newspapers, and taught his father to speak English.

As a young man, he joined the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II, jumped into Normandy the night before D-Day, and subsequently survived the Battle of the Bulge and the jump across the Rhine River.

After the war, John attended night school at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he received a B.A. in fine arts. He later earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from New York University. He worked as an electronics and computer designer until he left to teach at New York University, later becoming a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He retired to concentrate on his playwriting and subsequently had several of his plays produced in New York.

John founded the Manhattan Playwrights Unit and served as chairman of the board of directors for the Greek Theatre of New York. He was accepted as a “Man of The Theatre” member by The Players, was an active member of The Greek Writers Guild of America, and served on the board of directors of The Metropolitan Greek Chorale. He is the author of Growing Up as a Greek-American.

Kane, Michele

Michele Kane, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education and the coordinator of the Master of Arts in Gifted Education Program at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, as well as a member of the Illinois State Board of Education Gifted Advisory Council. She is an active member of state and national gifted organizations, a past president of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, and a past chair of the Global Awareness Network of the National Association for Gifted Children. As a presenter for state, national, and international conferences, Michele’s professional work focuses on the life stories of gifted individuals, especially the affective aspects of giftedness, including social/emotional, spiritual, and creative dimensions. The Illinois Association for Gifted Children named her the 2017 winner of its Bonnie Park Leadership Legacy Award. Michele received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Loyola University in Chicago. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on gifted education. She is the author of Planting Seeds of Mindfulness and a contributor to Off the Charts.

Kaye, Sharon

Sharon Kaye, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, she was a Killam postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She runs a Philosophy for Kids internship program in which undergraduate students teach philosophy to middle school honors students. She has published numerous articles and books, some of which have been translated into Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Slovak. She is the author of the Western philosophy series of curriculum books.

Kemnitz, Milton N.

Milton N. Kemnitz (1911-2005) was an artist and an early civil rights and union activist. He was born in Detroit on March 31, 1911, and his interest in automobiles began at an early age. His mother’s cousin was William Metzger, one of the founding fathers of the automobile industry, and his uncle was William F.V. Neumann, who designed engines and took part in early auto racing. Together, these two helped found the American Automobile Association.

Kemnitz graduated from the University of Michigan in 1933 and took a job as a social worker. He participated in the sit-down strike at the General Motors facility in Flint, and he shared a house with Walter and Victor Reuther and Norman Thomas when they founded the United Auto Workers.

Kemnitz became the secretary of the Conference for the Protection of Civil Rights and remained so when it grew into the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties in 1941, when he moved to Washington, D.C. Eligible for the draft, he signed up as a merchant seaman in the Merchant Marine and went to the war zone on Liberty ships. The National Maritime Union had a program to teach seamen to paint, and Kemnitz took advantage of it, taking classes in New York City when his ship was in port. His earliest works were done at sea of other ships in the convoys.

After the war he settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set about his life’s work of depicting through his art all that he saw around him: houses, birds, people, cars, and landscapes, both urban and rural. His art is well-known to students and teachers using the MCT language arts curriculum, where his illustrations provide both theme and enhancement of the text to delight readers young and old. His art is also featured in two books published by Royal Fireworks Press, and he is the subject of a memoir written by his son, the founder of Royal Fireworks, Dr. Thomas Milton Kemnitz.

Kemnitz, Myrna

Myrna Kemnitz has had a distinguished career in education, beginning as a classroom English teacher and rising to directorships of district-wide state and federally funded programs. She has partnered with curriculum developers, state and city program administrators, school administrators, public and non-public school teachers and parent groups, and homeschoolers. She taught writing for decades in the New York public schools, and she also trained teachers in the instruction of creative writing. In addition, she served as editor of many of the Royal Fireworks Press novels. Myrna currently teaches online courses in creative writing to children. She is the author of the four-volume series Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus, the children’s book Our Friend the Mastodon, and the book What Valley View Has Meant to Orange County, and she is a co-author of Bully Frog: A Teaching Story Package for Early Childhood Understanding of Bullying and the Forlorn Frog’s Fantastic Valentine’s Day teacher package.

Kemnitz, Thomas Milton

Thomas M. Kemnitz, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Royal Fireworks Press. He is also a historian and the author of many books for students. He has traveled the world in his search for the truth about history, documenting his experiences with literally hundreds of thousands of photographs, many of which grace the pages of various Royal Fireworks books, especially in the MCT language arts curriculum.

During the past few years, Dr. Kemnitz has concentrated on writing about the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome to supplement the vocabulary component of the MCT language arts curriculum. He currently teaches ancient Greek and Roman history and literature in the Royal Firework Online Learning Community. Dr. Kemnitz received his B.A. in history and literature from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in history from the University of Sussex in England. He is the author of Polaris: A Guiding Star of 403 Skills for Homeschooled Children, An Issue This Nation Cannot Ignore: Barack Obama’s Speech on Race, and Milton N. Kemnitz, 1911-2005: A Memoir, which he wrote about his father. In addition, he is the editor of National Action Conference for Civil Rights, April 19-20, 1942, in which is reprinted the original conference documents created by members of the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, who were protesting racial and religious discrimination, among other injustices.

Klass, Ingrid

Ingrid Klass holds a Master’s in the History of Religion from the University of Chicago, with a focus in South Asian philosophy and languages (Sanskrit and Pali). Her B.A., from Carleton College, is in religion, with a concentration in South Asian studies. She has studied Sanskrit at Harvard, and while a student, she lived in Sri Lanka for one semester, studying Buddhism. She has taught courses in Asian philosophy, world religions, Buddhism, Fundamentalism, and Asian humanities at the college level. She is the author of the Eastern philosophy series of curriculum books.

Krause, Kristin

Dr. Kristin Krause is a teacher and a biologist. She holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in biology. After earning her doctorate from Dartmouth College, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she learned to slice a fruit fly’s eye into 5,000 extraordinarily thin pieces. She spent two years as a crew member on tall ships, which led her to write Last Voyage of the Hornet: The Story that Made Mark Twain Famous.


Lane, Kenneth A.

Kenneth A. Lane, O.D., was raised in the Philadelphia area and served for four years in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1969 and attended the University of Houston College of Optometry from 1973 to 1977. He founded the Lane Learning Center in Lewisville, Texas, in 1985 to help learning-disabled children with vision therapy. Vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems that interfere with reading, learning, and educational instruction.

Dr. Lane, a pioneering developmental optometrist, developed a questionnaire called the Lane Academic Readiness Screen, or LARS, that helps parents, teachers, and other caregivers assess whether a child has vision or reading problems that can be improved through the practice of structured activities. The LARS identifies specific problems and then points adults toward scientifically developed activities designed to help the child improve his or her reading speed and proficiency. Dr. Lane structured those activities into workbooks, which are organized into packages to address specific reading problems. The LARS and the workbooks form an entire vision therapy program.

Lively, Aubrey

Aubrey Lively has a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Dallas and a Master of Education in teaching from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has taught everything from preschool (Montessori) to post-graduate courses in business English, as well as high school English, college math, and Spanish. She is the author of A Fairly Creative Guide to Telling Tales: An Introduction to Creative Writing.

Loe, Steve

Steve Loe received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He has worked as an English teacher, associate principal, and principal. He and his wife live just outside of Kansas City with their four children. He is the author of The Glimpsing Book and The Hot Hurry of Mercurial Fleeting.


McAnallen, Rachel

Known simply as Ms. Math to children across the country, Dr. Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than sixty years, she travels the globe teaching math at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Rachel has served as a department chair, a school board member, and a high school administrator. She claims that the latter position is responsible for the majority of her gray hairs. She has a passion for teaching, reading fictional mystery novels, and making mathematical modular origami, though not always in that order. A lifelong learner, Rachel received her Ph.D. from the Neag School at age seventy-five. She approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style. She believes that mathematics is a language to be spoken, a music to be heard, an art to be seen, and a dance to be performed. Rachel loves to dance. She is a co-author of the Awesum Alex series of math books for children.

McCall, Edith

Edith McCall taught for many years and worked as a reading consultant in elementary schools in La Grange, Illinois. During that time, she developed a strong interest in the people whose pioneering spirit built the United States of America. When she turned to writing as a full-time occupation, that interest was the basis for much of her work. She is the author of many books and articles for children and adults and a co-author of elementary school social studies textbooks. Her passion was writing books for children about many of the historical figures who helped to build America into what it is today—the early pioneers of this country, many of them largely unknown. For reference, she used original source material and even her old diaries. Her purpose was to make the true stories about the people who discovered and shaped America come alive to younger readers. She is the author of the series of children’s books called Adventures on the American Frontier, as well as the children’s historical novel Abe and the Wild River.

McIntosh, Jason

Jason McIntosh received his doctorate in gifted, talented, and creative studies at Purdue University, with research interests in program evaluation and curriculum development for gifted learners. Prior to his doctoral studies, he served as a gifted pull-out teacher, program coordinator, and regular classroom teacher for a combined total of fifteen years. He is nationally board certified in the area of middle childhood generalist and has received two master’s degrees in elementary education and the art of teaching. Jason serves on the executive committee for the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) and the Local Arrangements Committee for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and has worked with the Diné, Lakota, and Ojibwe tribes to identify and serve high-potential native students. He is the author of the award-winning Feats and Flops curriculum and the Quests and Quandaries curriculum, also an award winner.

McKinnell, Patti

Patti McKinnell is the founder of The Logan School for Creative Learning, located in Denver, Colorado, whose mission is “to cultivate the curiosities of gifted children.” Her book One School, Many Paths to Success documents the school’s history and approach.

Mull, David Kenneth

David Kenneth Mull is a native of Ohio and taught in the Akron Public School system for thirty years. He has run a dozen marathons, has ridden in more than twenty week-long bicycle tours, and with his wife, Alice, is an intrepid traveler. He is the author of a series of novels for pre-teens and teens called Charlie Cliché’s Oft’ Told Tales, as well as the novel The Death of Old Man Hanson.


Neville, Christine S.

Christine S. Neville, Ed.D., works as an advocate for highly gifted children through the Cheetah Project. She has worked at all levels of public schools, beginning as a classroom teacher, a resource teacher, and then a supervisor for gifted and talented programs. She is published in High IQ Kids: Collected Insights, Information, and Personal Stories from the Experts. She served as a high school principal in Clarke County and Charlottesville, Virginia, and in Camden, Maine. Her doctorate is from the University of Virginia, where she helped start the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) for gifted students and taught graduate-level courses in gifted education. She founded and served as Director of the Mary Baldwin College Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) and became Head of School after opening the Academy for Gifted Children in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has presented locally, regionally, and nationally on classroom management, school leadership, and most aspects of gifted education.She is a co-editor of Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child.

Novak, Jordan P.

Jordan P. Novak is a children’s book author and illustrator living in New York’s Hudson Valley. She started making her own picture books as a hobby in kindergarten and never stopped. One day, a friend suggested that she share her books with the world, and thus began her journey into publishing. She loves to visit schools and talk about reading, writing, and illustrating (and play a little music, too). She is a co-author of the children’s books Breath Magic and The Secret Code of Senses, the sole author of the early learners book Be a Tree, and the illustrator of the first three books in the Western philosophy curriculum by Sharon Kaye.


Peterson, Esther Allen

Esther Allen Peterson is the author of several books, the first of which won a Christopher Award. She became interested in the lives of the original homesteaders in America when her minister husband served four churches in North Dakota. She began to write historical fiction about two families who immigrated to the U.S. from Norway to become homesteaders, which ultimately became the Homesteaders series of books. She is a storyteller in the style of Willa Cather; her stories are not true, but they are real. Esther’s passion is writing, but she also loves to share her interest in the early homesteaders at schools, historical societies, libraries, churches, and community gatherings.

Piechowski, Michael M.

Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D., received his M.Sc. in plant physiology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, his hometown in Poland. After a year of study in Belgium, he came to the United States, obtaining a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He taught at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, where he met Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski. They worked together for eight years. Not interrupting their collaboration, Piechowski returned to the University of Wisconsin to obtain a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Subsequently, he taught at the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, and Northland College. He is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Educational Advancement and Professor Emeritus, Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin, where he introduced an experiential course in transpersonal psychology. He is a contributor to the Handbook of Gifted Education and the Encyclopedia of Creativity. His studies of self-actualizing people and moral exemplars led him to the study of emotional and spiritual giftedness. He has taught at the Honors Summer Institute at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, and has lectured in New Zealand and Australia. He has been involved for many years with the Yunasa summer camp for highly gifted youth, organized by the Institute for Educational Advancement. Dr. Piechowski has been honored with a SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of “Mellow Out,” They Say. If I Only Could and a co-editor of Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child.

Postma, Michael

Michael Postma, Ed.D., is a consultant, speaker, and author dedicated to the holistic development of both gifted and twice-exceptional children through his company Agility Educational Solutions. During the last two decades, Mike has worked in the field of gifted education as both a teacher and an administrator and was the principle architect of the Minnetonka Navigator Program in Minnesota, a magnet school for highly and profoundly gifted students. He is the director of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted).

Mike received a B.A. in History from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; an M.A. in Gifted and Talented Education; and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (Critical Pedagogy) from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the father of four children, three of whom are twice-exceptional. He is the author of The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students.

Purvis, David

David Purvis, Ph.D., is a university academic and a classroom teacher dedicated to improving and energizing science teaching for children. Known as “Dr. Dave,” he has taught science to students of all ages, from elementary and middle school science classes to high school biology classes, all the way up to college science education classes. He developed and wrote the ninth-grade physics and tenth-grade chemistry curricula for the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City and was a science consultant and teacher for the Columbia University School. He has a doctorate in microbiology. He is the author of the widely popular Dr. Dave’s Science Teaching Manuals.


Raven, John

John Raven is one of the world’s most original thinkers in education. He is the author of The Tragic Illusion: Educational Testing, Managing Education for Effective Schooling, The New Wealth of Nations, and Competence in Modern Society.

Ricci, Dorothy

Dorothy Ricci, Ph.D., taught history and foreign language in Milford, Connecticut, and is an alumna of the summer program of the Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies in Mystic, Connecticut. She also studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain and has nurtured a lifelong interest in Spanish history and art. She is the author of Through Goya’s Eyes and The Secret of the Silent Sea Gull.

Risby, Bonnie

Bonnie Risby is a former teacher of high school French and English, junior high school English, science, math, and history, and gifted and talented education at the middle school level. After having limited success locating suitable curricula for a multi-level gifted pull-out program, she began creating and later publishing her own materials. Besides being a classroom teacher, Bonnie has also been a psychotherapist specializing in family counseling and is currently a businesswoman. She is a co-author with her son Robert of a series of books called Logic-Math Exercises for Children.

Risby II, Robert K.

Robert K. Risby II teamed up with his mother Bonnie in 1988 to create a successful series of reproducible materials for primary learners. He also won the Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award for Excellence in Classroom Products in 1994 for a two-book series on maps skills. He is a co-author with Bonnie of a series of books called Logic-Math Exercises for Children.

Roeper, Annemarie

Annemarie Roeper. Ed.D., (1918–2012) was an intrepid pioneer in the field of gifted education, with a focus on the emotional development of each child’s unique individual Self. An educational consultant for more than fifty years, she specialized in the educational needs of gifted and creative children.

Annemarie was born in Vienna to parents who founded a series of schools focusing on the “psychoanalytic understanding of human development and a desire to educate children to build and thrive in a pluralistic, democratic society”—principles that helped to shape her ideas about what education should be. Her family was Jewish, and when the Nazi party came to power, she and her father fled Austria in the spring of 1937 with the help of George Roeper, continuing on to the United States in 1939. Annemarie married George, and in 1941 they founded the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, one of the nation’s oldest and best-known private schools for gifted children. Annemarie and George wanted the Roeper School to be a place that, by teaching personal motivation and encouraging critical thinking skills and analysis, would educate children so that they would not follow leadership blindly, as the Roepers believed had happened to many people in Germany.

Annemarie received her honorary doctorate in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1978. She edited the Roeper Review, a national journal on gifted child education, and authored several books and hundreds of articles on giftedness. She received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the 1999 National Association for Gifted Children’s President’s Award, an honor rarely bestowed. She is the author of Educating Children for Life, and her last printed chapter appears in the book Off the Charts.

Rounds, Cody

Cody Rounds works with people of all ages on building life skills through mindfulness techniques. After graduating from The College of New Jersey, she began working with individuals on controlling their stress, focus, and emotional state using their thoughts and perspectives. In 2018 she co-founded BeetleDoo Kids, an initiative to bring mindfulness-based curricula to the American educational market. Cody is a co-author of Breath Magic and The Secret Code of Senses.


Seron, Jen

Jen Seron is a homeschooling parent and experienced teacher who lives in New York City. She has worked across all sectors and has a diverse educational background that includes a research-based M.S. in plant sciences (horticulture), where she specialized in ecophysiology; a study in climate change on rice for the Environmental Protection Agency; a B.A. in philosophy; and an M.F.A. in visual communication (illustration) from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author of the Full Circle Science curriculum for young children.

Shaw, J. M.

Jim Shaw has a B.S. in education and an M.Ed. in guidance and counseling from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He was an English teacher and a counselor for thirty years in Michigan’s Utica Community Schools. His publications include the Utica Schools Middle School Curriculum Guide and an eight-part audiobook. He is the author of the novel Molly’s Stallion.

Sisk, Dorothy A.

Dorothy A. Sisk holds a Ph.D. from California Coast University, an Ed.D. from UCLA, an M.A. from the University of California, Long Beach, and a B.A. from the University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio. She serves as an endowed chair in the education of gifted students at Lamar University. Dorothy is an international consultant focusing on gifted education, creativity, and leadership development. She has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, the University of Indonesia, Moscow University, the University of Belo Horizonte, the University of Victoria, the University of Guam, Chulabanaga University in Thailand, and Harokopio University in Athens, Greece. She is the author of Leadership: A Special Type of Giftedness and a co-author of Planting Seeds of Mindfulness.

Smutny, Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin Smutny, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Gifted, a Northern Illinois University Partner, and Director of the Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity. She directs programs for thousands of gifted children every year and teaches courses on gifted education for graduate students. She is editor of the Gifted Children Journal, contributing editor of Understanding Our Gifted and the Roeper Review for gifted education professionals, and a feature writer for the Gifted Education Communicator. She has written many books and articles on gifted education.

Joan has received a number of awards honoring her contributions to the field, among them the NAGC Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the field of education, the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Research Award, the California Association for the Gifted President’s Award, the E. Paul Torrance Award in Creativity (conferred by NAGC), and the Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s Sally Walker Distinguished Service Award. She is the author of Manifesto of the Gifted Girl and The Lives of Great Women Leaders and You.

Spielhagen, Frances R.

Frances R. Spielhagen, Ph.D., is Professor of Education, co-founder, and co-director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Development at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York. She served as Chair of the NAGC Education Committee from 2009 to 2011. Dr. Spielhagen was a Latin teacher for more than thirty years before becoming an academic. She has presented her work in Latin at the American Classical League, the Classical Association of New England, the New Jersey Classical League, the Association for Teachers of Foreign Language, and the National Association for Gifted Children. As a young scholar, she wrote a Review Book for the College Board Achievement Test in Latin. She is the author of the Fabulae Caeciliae series of Latin texts, in which she presents the teaching of Latin through a natural, inductive approach.

Sullivan, Paul

Paul Sullivan grew up learning to love nature, travel, and books. In the 1980s, he traveled to South America, Central America, Europe, Africa, and the Arctic. He kept notes and wrote about his experiences. He bases his stories on places he has been and things he has seen and learned. He is the author of several novels, most of which combine history and the natural world.


Thal, Michael

Michael Thal grew up on Long Island in the suburbs of New York City. After graduating from the University of Buffalo, he earned his master’s degree in education at Washington University, St. Louis. He moved to Los Angeles and continued his education, earning another master’s degree in reading. He became a teacher but was forced to resign when he suffered sudden acute hearing loss. He channeled that experience into his writing; he is the author of the novel Goodbye, Tchaikovsky.

Thompson, Michael Clay

Michael Clay Thompson spent thirty years as a classroom teacher, middle school head, and academic. Now he is an author and a consultant, and he still teaches English language arts to some fortunate students in the Royal Fireworks Online Learning Community. An acclaimed speaker and workshop presenter, through his teaching, books, and presentations, he has inspired thousands of students and educators with a new love of language and literature.

Michael received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, studied for gifted education accreditation at Mars Hill College, and obtained his M.A. from Western Carolina University. During his teaching career he taught in schools in Indiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and as an online instructor in language arts for the Northwestern University Gifted Learning Links program. He has been a faculty member of the Wake Forest University Summer Institute for Gifted Education, the University of North Carolina/Charlotte Summer institute for Gifted Education, and The Cullowhee Experience. He has served on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of Gifted and Talented and on the regional Board of Advisors to the North Carolina/South Carolina Future Problem Solving Program. He was formerly a consultant to the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, consultant and Lead Scholar for the National Javits Project for Language Arts, and President of the Indiana Gifted Association.

Michael has written more than 100 books, all with Royal Fireworks Press, most notably his award-winning MCT English language arts curriculum.

Thompson, Myriam Borges

Myriam Borges Thompson, Ph.D., a native Spanish-speaker from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an educator, a researcher of Latin American literature and history, and a writer. After a long absence, she returned to her native island to pursue her doctoral studies in the Department of Estudios Hispánicos at the University of Puerto Rico. Her doctoral research was about Carmen Hernández de Araújo (1824-1877), a founding member of Puerto Rican literature, poet, novelist, theologian, and one of the first Latin American women writers and playwrights.

An experienced classroom teacher, Myriam has taught Spanish in elementary school through high school and college. She contributed articles to Our Gifted Children magazine, including “Identification of Gifted Hispanic Students” and “One Gifted Child, Three Environments.” She is co-author of the chapter “Reflections on Foreign Language Study for Highly Able Learners” in Developing Verbal Talent, published by the College of William and Mary. Fascinated by the Spanish classics of the Golden Age, she likes to reread Cervantes’s Don Quixote every few years. She has spent the last decade researching the work of nineteenth-century Latin American women writers. She is a frequent presenter at conferences, including the Great Homeschool Convention conferences. Myriam is a contributor to her husband Michael Clay Thompson’s Caesar’s English I and Caesar’s English II and is the translator of Amor Ideal (Ideal Love) by Carmen Hernández and the author/translator of With the Eyes of a Woman: Carmela Eulate’s Stories of Family and Marriage.

Tice, Christopher

Christopher Tice is an artist and an illustrator. He has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the SUNY Plattsburgh and is the principal illustrator at Royal Fireworks Press. His work is featured in too many books to list, although highlights include Michael Clay Thompson’s Poodle Knows What?, the Awesum Alex and Friends series of math books, the mid-level Western philosophy curriculum books, the Eastern philosophy curriculum books, the Latin curriculum books, the What To Do? series of problem-solving books, and an assortment of books for early learners, such as The Intenso Family Goes to a New School. Chris also narrates books that are designed for dyslexic readers, including the Adventures on the American Frontier: Dyslexia Versions collection of books and the Lennie Miller Dyslexia Series of mathematical novels by Robert Black, all of which he also illustrated.

Tolan, Stephanie S.

Stephanie S. Tolan is an award-winning author and a passionate advocate for the rights of gifted children and adults. One of the original members of the Columbus Group, she helped bring the concept of asynchronous development to the gifted community. A Senior Fellow at the Institute for Educational Advancement, she participated in designing Yunasa, a summer camp experience for highly gifted children that focuses on helping them balance mind, body, spirit, emotions, and social self. She was named a SENG Educator of the Year and a North Carolina Gifted Association Outstanding Parent of the Year. She has written and published poetry, plays, and more than two dozen books for children and young adults, including the 2003 Newbery Honor-winning Surviving the Applewhites. For adults, she wrote the now-famous essay “Is It a Cheetah?” about gifted children, which has been translated into more than forty languages. She is a co-editor of Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child and the author of Out of Sync: Essays on Giftedness and the novel A Good Courage.

Townsend, Tom

Tom Townsend is a writer, a historian, and a film producer. He is one of the best-known authors of young adult fiction, and many of his books are used in school systems, particularly in the Southwest. He attended high school at the Munich American School in Germany, where his father was an Army officer. A screenwriter as well as a novelist, Townsend has written more than two dozen books. He has won awards from the Friends of American Writers and the Houston International Film Festival, and he has been included on the Bluebonnet Master List. He is the author of three historical fiction novels set during World War II: Nadia of the Nightwitches, Gypsy Prince: War Horse, and Evil Toy Tanks. He is also the author of the Fairie Ring Series of children’s novels.


Valentine, Deborah

Deborah Valentine is a former teacher and newspaper correspondent. She has written more than 500 feature and news articles and numerous children’s stories, which she uses in her author-in-residence programs in schools. She has spoken at the Illinois State Gifted Conference, the Accent on Better Curriculum Conference, the Illinois Young Author’s Conference, the Gifted Student Institute Spring Conference, and the Annual Writing Conference at Georgia State University, among many others. She holds professional membership in the National Speaker’s Association and serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Speaker’s Association.

Honored twice as Teacher of the Year, Deborah earned a B.S. in education from North Texas State University and an M.Ed. from Troy State University. She edits a column devoted to young authors in the Atlanta news magazine Youth View. She holds memberships in the Society of Children’s Book Writers (SCBW) and the Chicago-based Children’s Reading Round Table (CRRT). The original manuscript of her first book was selected for the de Grummond Children’s Literature Research Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of Educational Play: Math Games and Activities for Your Child.


Warren, Sandra

Sandra Warren is an award-winning author and educator who has written books and articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers on a range of topics, including gifted education, parenting, educational activity guides, and biographies. She has also published work in both audio and video formats. She is the author of the children’s illustrated story/activity books If I Were a Road and If I Were a Table, the open-ended storybook/activity book The Great Bridge Lowering, and a double-fronted book for adults called Parents of the Gifted Guide to Teachers/Teacher’s Guide to Parents of the GiftedTeacher’s Guide to Parents of the Gifted/Parents of the Gifted Guide to Teachers. She has also compiled a book of poems by gifted children called Reflections on Being Gifted.

White, Willard L.

Willard L. White, Ph.D., is a teacher trainer in gifted education, a consultant to school districts in program development and developing curricula for gifted and advanced students, a presenter at state and national conferences, and an instructor at Florida Atlantic University. He has been Executive Secretary of the Michigan Alliance for Gifted (MAGE) Annual Conference and Coordinator of Gifted Programs in Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the few states that mandates special programs for gifted students. He is the author of America’s First Gifted Program: Hollingworth and the Speyer School Experiment, a result of work undertaken for his doctorate when he had access to forty boxes of painstakingly-recorded data on highly advanced students from the Speyer School experimental program for rapid learners in New York City, 1935–1940, the first program for gifted students in America.

Whitney, Carol Strip

Carol Strip Whitney, Ph.D., is the founder and instructor for Gifted Education Services of Ohio, which serves gifted children in grades K-12. She also started the first Highly Gifted Magnet Program in the state of Ohio. She is a licensed educational therapist who specializes in twice-exceptional gifted learners.

Carol completed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in curriculum for addressing the social/emotional needs of gifted children. With more than forty-five years of experience working with these children, she is a four-time presenter at the National Association for Gifted Children and a frequent presenter at the Ohio Association for Gifted Children, where she was honored as the Ohio Gifted Educator of the Year on two occasions. She also has received the Ashland Inc. Golden Apple Teacher Achievement Award and has been named outstanding mathematics teacher by the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Teacher of the Year by her school’s teaching staff, and State Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Association of Gifted Teachers. Carol has taught cognition, learning styles and creativity at The Ohio State University and gifted courses at Ashland University.

Carol has served as a consultant across the country in the development of gifted children. She was a keynote speaker for the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Mississippi State Gifted Conference, as well as a presenter at the state gifted conference in California, and in 2019 she gave a keynote for the full faculty of the Columbus College of Art and Design. She presented new research on the gifted brain at OSU Newark and has presented to parents of gifted students in several Ohio communities. She has led parent groups throughout the state of Ohio and has appeared on radio and television discussing the subjects covered in her books.

Carol has been published in Roeper Review, Instructor, and Gifted Child Today and was selected to teach and consult at the Governor’s Summer Institute at Denison University. She established successful gifted programs in two of Ohio’s fastest-growing school districts and has consulted with many other communities as they research and establish their gifted programming. She has served on the board of the Ohio Association for Gifted Coordinators and received the Communications Award from the Educational Facilities Center in Chicago. She was chosen by then-Treasurer of the State of Ohio Richard Cordray to receive the state’s first Personal Financial Literacy Award. She has written multiple books on gifted children and gifted education. She is the author of From Stress to Success.

Williams, Carol Ann

Carol Ann Williams has channeled her lifelong fascination with the presence of mathematics in art, music, and nature into a rewarding career in education. Her passion led her to roles as a gifted education specialist, K–8 teacher, college professor, enrichment consultant, and curriculum writer. Individuals who inquire with Carol about the ubiquity of mathematics in the natural world have been affectionately advised to pull up a chair. She is a co-author of the Awesum Alex series of math books for children.

Wyatt, Leslie J.

Leslie J. Wyatt is a two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. A member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), she served as 2010 SCBWI Missouri Mentor and has presented at literature festivals, SCBWI writing conferences, schools, and homeschool co-ops. She has written two historical novels and more than 200 stories and articles that have been published in national magazines. Her work is varied, but the themes of justice, individuality, and heritage run throughout them. She is the author of River Rats and The Flight of the Cliff Bird.

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