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2017 WCGTC Biennial World Conference

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3.9.1 Professional learning in gifted education: Models, research, and practice

Recognised as the most important school-based factor for student learning, teacher quality is essential for gifted students. Teacher training programs around the world, however, rarely include “giftedness” or “gifted education.” While effective professional training comprises the “critical component of improving the quality of education” (Jones & Dexter, 2014, p. 368), teacher training targeting the nature and needs of gifted learners—and how to meet those needs—often has been optional or unavailable. This symposium presents exemplary models and research-based practices with applications for professional learning that meet the cognitive and affective needs of diverse gifted students.


Laurie Croft
University of Iowa
United States

Laurie Croft is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa and Associate Director for Professional Development at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Croft has made numerous presentations at state, national, and international conferences; parent groups, teachers, and school boards. She coordinates a comprehensive program of online classes that comprise an endorsement in Gifted Education, and she serves as the College of Education Honors Advisor. Laurie is currently a United States delegate to the WCGTC.

Connie Phelps
Emporia State University
United States

Connie Phelps is Professor and Director of Gifted Education at Emporia State University where she trains gifted facilitators in grades K-12 to meet state and national standards. She directs the Great Plains Center for Gifted Studies and co-edits the Emporia State Research Studies. She serves as Past Chair of the Professional Development Network in NAGC and was an alternate delegate to WCGTC. She leads state and national accreditation reviews; presents at state, national and international conferences; serves on the Future Problem Solving Program International Board of Advisors and coordinates the Inventions component of the International Torrance Creativity Legacy Award.

Wendy Behrens
Minnesota Department of Education
United States

Wendy Behrens is the Gifted and Talented Education Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education. She presents frequently on the nature and needs of gifted learners, instructional strategies, service design, and policies that support highly able learners. She has co-authored several books and is an invited speaker in the United States, Middle East, Far East, and Europe. She is President of the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, a CEC-TAG Board Member, delegate to the World Council, and an advisor for the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University and the Grayson School.

Kimberley Chandler
College of William and Mary
United States

Kimberley Chandler is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Curriculum Director at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary. She has served in various roles in gifted education and now provides professional development training for teachers and administrators. Kimberley has edited and contributed numerous curriculum materials from the Center for Gifted Education. She co-authored the book Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students and co-edited Effective Program Models for Gifted Students From Underserved Populations. Kimberley is the Network Representative on the NAGC Board of Directors and editor of the CEC-TAG newsletter, The Update.

Christine Weber
University of North Florida
United States

Christine L. Weber is an Associate Professor of Childhood Education, Literacy, and TESOL at the University of North Florida, with a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A & M University. Dr. Weber has been a member of the Editorial Review Board for Gifted Child Today since 1998. Her recent books with co-authors Cecelia Boswell and Wendy Behrens include Differentiating Instruction for Gifted Learners: A Case Studies Approach (2016) and Exploring Critical Issues in Gifted Education: A Case Studies Approach (2014). She also co-authored a book chapter “Gifted Students and Advanced Readers” in Ebooks for Elementary School (2015).

Dina Brulles
Arizona State University
United States

Dina Brulles, Ph.D., is the Director of Gifted Education at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Arizona also the Gifted Program Coordinator at Arizona State University. The gifted programs Dina oversees incorporate innovative uses of technology, enfranchise underrepresented populations and provide extensive professional development opportunities. Dina serves on the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Board of Directors as the school district representative. Dr. Brulles co-authored the books, Differentiated Lessons for All Learners, The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How To Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement For All, Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classrooms, and Helping All Gifted Children Learn.


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