Shelagh A. Gallagher: Biography

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Dr. Shelagh Gallagher is an internationally recognized and award-winning expert in gifted education and problem-based learning.

At the 2017 National Association for Gifted Children annual conference in Charlotte, Dr. Gallagher and co-author Laura Shantz were awarded the 2017 NAGC Award for Outstanding Curriculum for their problem-based learning unit The Penguin Predicament. This is not an unusual occurrence; Shelagh Gallagher’s problem-based learning units have won multiple NAGC curriculum awards. In fact, at the 2016 NAGC conference in Orlando, Dr. Gallagher, Dana Plowden, and Sara Townsend were awarded the 2016 NAGC Award for Outstanding Curriculum for Fit to Print. That same year, the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) recognized Shelagh 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.

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