Jill Williford Wurman is Grayson’s Director of Research and Development, a position which requires her to be familiar with the most current understanding on gifted education topics relevant to the Grayson community, including academic performance, pedagogy, social-emotional development, longitudinal outcomes, and best practices in gifted education. Each month, she presents a research synthesis to Grayson parents, including both a written article and extensive list of additional materials for further reading. These topics vary widely depending on need and expressed interest, and have included “Characteristics of Gifted Underachievers,” “From Growth to Grit,” “Raising a (Gifted) Reader,” and “Self-Perceptions of Gifted Children.” Additionally, she has spoken to the American Psychological Association’s national convention regarding summer programs for the gifted, and has co-presented on giftedness at SENG’s national conference and at MIT. She is a self-professed “research nerd” who jumps at any opportunity to sit in a classroom and learn.
Ms. Wurman holds an M.A. in English Language & Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B/ in English from Princeton University, whence she graduated Phi Beta Kappa; she has also studied literature at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. She has worked as a publishing consultant and a literary agent, including collaborating on bestselling and award-winning works such as Lalita Tademy’s Cane River (an Oprah’s Book Club selection) and Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala (winner of the Kirayama Pacific Rim Book Prize). She further leverages her personal passion for literature and books in her role as Grayson’s “Ersatz Librarian,” in which role she is responsible for the “care and feeding” of the more than 8,000 books in the school’s ever-growing collection.
Ms. Wurman has taught high school English and also a course of her own design for exceptionally gifted students at Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP). Once a participant in many programs for gifted children, herself, Ms. Wurman is especially familiar with the TIP program, where she has been a student, residential advisor, teaching assistant, and instructor over many, many (sweltering) summers in Durham.
Ms. Wurman lives with her husband, two children, and a raft of orange pens at the ready for editing in Bryn Mawr.