Meet Our Research Advisory Board
We are deeply committed to providing the best possible educational environment for gifted students, and our curriculum and programs are designed around research-based best practices in gifted education. Grayson families and students also benefit from the ongoing work of our Research Advisory Board, composed of internationally-recognized luminaries in gifted education and child development. These thought leaders are at the forefront of discovery about how gifted children learn and grow best, and their ongoing support for our programs is a tremendous asset to our school.
Susan Assouline, Ph.D.
Dr. Assouline is the director of the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and has a faculty appointment as professor of school psychology at the University of Iowa. She is especially interested in identification of academic talent in elementary students and is co-author of both editions of Developing Math Talent: A Comprehensive Guide to Math Education for Gifted Students in Elementary and Middle School.
As well, she is co-developer of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, a tool designed to guide educators and parents through decisions about grade-skipping students, and co-author of A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. She is a leading expert on the decision-making process for acceleration and has consulted on several hundred acceleration cases. She has conducted numerous workshops for parents and teachers on acceleration, development of mathematical talent, and twice-exceptional students.
Wendy Behrens, M.A.
Wendy Behrens, M.A. Ed., is the Gifted and Talented Education Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education, where she leads and advises educators, administrators, and parents. She provides technical assistance to and collaborates with institutions of higher education, educator networks, and others interested in promoting rigorous educational opportunities.
Prior to her service to the state, Behrens worked as a district gifted services coordinator and a consultant for the Science Museum of Minnesota. She presents frequently on the nature and needs of gifted learners, instructional strategies, comprehensive service design, and policies that support highly able learners. She has been an invited speaker in the United States, Middle East, East Asia, and Europe. Behrens is President of the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, and received the President’s Award from NAGC in 2013. She is an elected US delegate to the World Council on Gifted, and a member of NAGC Policy Task Force, Development and Fund Raising Committee, and advisory councils for the Center for Talent Development, and the University of St. Thomas. Behrens co-authored the 2013 Prufrock Press and NAGC co-publication Exploring Critical Issues in Gifted Education: A Case Studies Approach and a soon-to-be-released book of case studies on differentiated instruction.
Elissa F. Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Elissa F. Brown is the Director of the Binghamton University Community Schools, Regional Network. From 2012-2021, she was the director of the Hunter College Center for Gifted Studies in New York City and served as a distinguished lecturer and program leader in Special Education. She supported all NYC schools with professional development, research, serving on task forces, and worked with educators on ways to differentiate instruction and build systems capacity in schools.
Elissa, formerly, worked at the North Carolina Department for Public Instruction and served as the state director of Section 504, special projects, gifted education, and state department liaison for institutions of higher education. She has been a district curriculum & instruction coordinator, a high school principal, and a teacher at elementary, middle and high school levels. She has served as an adjunct professor at several universities, including Rutgers, Vanderbilt, and Duke University. She is a published author in curriculum intervention, program evaluation, and assessment for learning. She consults and presents widely. Elissa resides in Binghamton, NY.
Stephen H. Chou, Psy.D.
Dr. Chou is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice and a supervising clinical psychologist and the Director of Training at the Summit Center serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor with the Alliant International University–California School of Professional Psychology at its San Francisco Bay Area and Hong Kong campuses.
Dr. Chou’s broad-ranging specialties include child and family psychology as well as multicultural and community psychology, with a particular focus on gifted, talented, and twice-exceptional children and families. Dr. Chou frequently presents at state, national, and international conferences on a variety of topics in giftedness and is on the Board of Directors of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). Dr. Chou is delighted by the myriad of fascinating mind, heart, and soulful presentations of gifted and talented children, youth, and their families — not only with their intelligences, but also with their unique socio-emotional development over the lifetime.
Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D.
Dr. Colangelo is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Iowa. He is also the Myron & Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education and Director Emeritus of The Belin-Blank Center.
He is author of numerous articles on counseling gifted students and the affective development of gifted and acceleration. He has co-edited three editions of The Handbook of Gifted Education, and co-authored A Nation Empowered. He has served on the editorial boards of major journals, including Counseling and Development, Gifted Child Quarterly, The Journal of Creative Behavior, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, and The Roeper Review. Dr. Colangelo has received many prestigious awards recognizing his research and service to the field of gifted education, including the Distinguished Scholar Award by the National Association for Gifted Children (1991); the Alumni Achievement Award presented by the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1995); the State of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (2000); the Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service from The University of Iowa (2008); and the International Award for Research presented by the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (2013).
C. Matthew Fugate, Ph.D.
Prior to earning his Ph.D. from Purdue University, Dr. Fugate worked as an elementary teacher in the Houston Independent School District, where he also served as a Gifted Coordinator and Magnet Coordinator. His current research focus is twice-exceptionality, and he is also part of a team focused on increasing research, identification, and services for gifted Native American populations.
He has presented to parents, teachers, and schools across the United States and internationally on topics such as creativity, curriculum compacting, identification, twice-exceptionality, underserved populations, and Total School Cluster Grouping. Dr. Fugate was the Graduate Student Representative to the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Special Interest Group for Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent; he currently serves on the Editorial Board for AERA’s online journal, Gifted Children. Dr. Fugate has been recognized by Purdue University with the College of Education’s Dean’s Doctoral Scholarship, the Feldhusen Doctoral Fellowship, and the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship; Dr. Fugate has also served on several NAGC committees and was the recipient of the NAGC Graduate Student Award in 2013.
Brian Housand, Ph.D.
Dr. Housand is an Associate Professor and Co-Coordinator of the Academically and Intellectually Gifted Program at East Carolina University, where he received the 2014 Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education.
Dr. Housand earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education with an emphasis in both gifted education and instructional technology. He currently serves on the NAGC Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large. He frequently presents and works as an educational consultant on the integration of technology and enrichment into curriculum. Currently, his research focuses on ways in which technology can enhance the learning environment and the creation of a definition of creative-productive giftedness in a digital age.
P. Susan Jackson
P. Susan Jackson is the Founder and Therapeutic Director of The Daimon Institute for the Highly Gifted in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, and Co-founder (with Miraca Gross, Australia and Vanessa Wood, USA) and Chair of the Board of the International Gifted Consortium, dedicated to the fullest understanding and optimal development of the Highly and Profoundly Gifted, worldwide.
The Daimon Institute supports the learning needs and overall development of the highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted populations. Her clinical work spans 28 years, comprising over 70,000 hours of psychotherapy wholly with this exceptional population. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters in the Gifted Education literature. Her Integral Practice for the Gifted™ model addresses multiple aspects of human functioning – cognitive, emotional, spiritual, physical and talent-based dimensions – and explains how advanced cognition influences all of these elements, the Self and the expression of talent.
In 2010, she produced a short documentary entitled “Exceptionally Gifted Children” which has received wide acclaim internationally. In 2013-2014, the Daimon Institute produced “Rise: the Extraordinary Story of the Exceptionally Gifted,” a 60-minute film on the lives of 12 exceptionally and profoundly gifted persons from all over the globe. RISE has been shown in over 30 countries on five continents and has received wide acclaim.
Former Chair of the Social and Emotional Network and Communications Liaison for both the Parenting and Curriculum Networks and the Counseling and Guidance Network of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), she is also a member of the advisory board for SENG. She is recognized as an international expert in the field of the exceptionally and profoundly gifted and regularly presents with other leading experts at international conferences. She is a photographer, poet, and nature lover with a passionate interest in advanced development, optimal mental health, and well-being for these extraordinary children and adults.
Ruth Lyons, Ph.D.
Ruth Lyons is an Educational Consultant and owner of Gifted Pathways. Ruth earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Gifted Education and Talent Development from the University of Connecticut.
She has over 17 years experience in academia as a classroom teacher, a Principal, an Adjunct Professor, and a District Director of Gifted Education Services. Ruth was an integral member in the creation and design of the Renzulli Academy in Hartford, CT. She was Renzulli Academy’s first Director and saw the school through its growth model. Since returning to Maine, Ruth has served the State as President of the Maine Educators of Gifted and Talented (MEGAT); now the organization’s Past President, she has worked with numerous school districts offering professional development and curricular development.
D. Betsy McCoach, Ph.D.
Dr. McCoach is a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, and program chair of the Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Program.
She has co-authored over 75 journal articles, book chapters, and books, including Instrument Development in the Affective Domain (3rd edition), and Beyond Gifted Education. Dr. McCoach served as the founding co-editor for The Journal of Advanced Academics, and and as co-editor of Gifted Child Quarterly. She serves as a Co-Principal Investigator and Research Methodologist on several federally-funded research grants, and she served as the Research Methodologist for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented for over seven years.
Karl A. Morris, Ph.D.
Dr. Karl Morris is an academic and technologist with over 20 years experience in the fields of computer science and information systems. He spent many years in the public and private sectors, where he undertook roles such as analyst, mobile and web application developer, project manager, and consultant. As a consultant and product lead, he has worked with organizations with local and multinational teams.
Dr. Morris holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus on software engineering and autonomous systems. His research interests include mobile computing and application development; home automation and smart grids; large-scale data management; and cryptographic currencies. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Temple University’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences, and the founder and principal consultant of Morris and Company Consulting, LLC.
Jack Naglieri, Ph.D.
Dr. Naglieri is Research Professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, Senior Research Scientist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. He holds a Diplomate in Assessment Psychology, earned his license as a School Psychologist in Virginia and Ohio, and holds School Psychology certifications in New York, Georgia, Arizona, and Ohio.
Since the late 1970s, Dr. Naglieri has focused his efforts on theoretical and psychometric issues concerning intelligence, cognitive interventions, diagnosis of learning and emotional disorders, and theoretical and measurement issues pertaining to executive function and resilience. Dr. Naglieri is the author or co-author of more than 300 scholarly papers, book chapters, books, and tests related to exceptionalities such as mental retardation, specific learning disabilities, giftedness, autism, and Attention Deficit Disorder. Dr. Naglieri developed more than 30 tests and rating scales, including the Cognitive Assessment System first and second editions (1997, 2014), the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test-Second Edition (2008), and the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability (2006).
Jean Peterson, Ph.D.
Jean Peterson, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC, and counselor educator, has focused most of her clinical work and research on children and adolescents with exceptional ability, often exploring the experience of development with longitudinal and qualitative methods and often focusing on populations that do not fit common stereotypes and are therefore not often studied.
Among her nearly 100 publications are Gifted at Risk: Poetic Profiles, The Essential Guide to Talking with Gifted Teens, Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them, Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, and Portrait and Model of a School Counselor. Her first career was in K-12 education as a classroom and gifted-education teacher and counselor. Her research interests include school counselor preparation, as well as social and emotional development of high-ability children and adolescents, particularly of populations underrepresented or under-studied in the field of gifted education. Currently, she is Professor Emerita in Counseling & Development in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue University, where she has been on faculty for nearly 20 years.
Jonathan Plucker, Ph.D.
Dr. Plucker is the inaugural Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development at Johns Hopkins University, a joint appointment between the Johns Hopkins School of Education and the Center for Talented Youth. Previously, he was the Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, where he taught in the Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology programs.
A prominent education policy scholar and talent development scholar, he is co-author of Mind the (Other) Gap: The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education (2010) and Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass (2012). He has also worked extensively in creativity, intelligence, and education policy, and has authored over 100 papers and edited two books: Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education, with Carolyn Callahan; and Essentials of Creativity Assessment, with James C. Kaufman and John Baer. A recipient of NAGC’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2013, Dr. Plucker studies high-achieving students from an education policy and psychological perspective, with a focus on creativity, 21st-century skills, and excellence gaps.
Karen Rogers, Ph.D.
Dr. Rogers is a Professor of Gifted Studies in the Special Education & Gifted Education Department, College of Education, Leadership, and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she has taught and conducted research since 1984. She is author or co-author of five books (with another four in the works), many journal articles, multiple publications, and book chapters.
She took a brief hiatus from her work at St. Thomas to become Director of Research for the Gifted Education Research and Resource Information Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia and has lectured at universities all over the world. Her research interests include twice-exceptionality; research synthesis techniques; cognitive development; gifted program design, development, and evaluation; student assessment; and arts education. She has served both the Council for Exceptional Children-The Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG) and NAGC in various leadership and task force roles over the years. Most recently, she was given the NAGC Distinguished Scholar Award for 2015.
Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D.
Dr. Shoplik is a Senior Research Specialist with The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa. She earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Texas A&M University and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins University. She also was an assistant professor and director of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at the University of North Texas.
Previously, she founded and led the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students (C-MITES) at Carnegie Mellon University, where she conducted research and developed programs on behalf of academically talented youth, and also led the annual Elementary Student Talent Search and summer programs and Weekend Workshops for academically talented students in ninth grade and younger. Her research interests include identifying mathematically talented students younger than age 12 and studying their characteristics and academic needs. She has published many articles on gifted education in scholarly journals. Together with Susan Assouline, she wrote Jane and Johnny Love Math: Recognizing and Encouraging Mathematical Talent in Elementary Students and Developing Math Talent. She also co-edited A Nation Empowered and is a coauthor of the Iowa Acceleration Scale with Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Jonathan Lipscomb, and Leslie Forstadt.
Jeffrey T. Spanke, Ph.D.
Dr. Spanke is an Associate Professor of English at Ball State University. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and English, M.A. in American Studies, and Ph.D. in English Education from Purdue University.
Dr. Spanke has been published in numerous English education and literacy Journals and is active in both the Indiana state and National Council for Teachers of English associations and frequent presenter at national conferences. He is the co-author of From the mouths of babes: Authentic audiences for young, talented writers (2015). Gifted Child Today, 38(3): 177-186.
Idris Stovall, Ph.D.
Idris Stovall, Ph.D. is a civic-minded mathematician and proud Pittsburgh native who split time growing up between there and Harlem NYC. He graduated from Academic High School in Jersey City, earned his B.S. in mathematics from Hampton University, and earned his doctorate in computational methods for solving differential equations from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Dr. Stovall is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from that department, and has dedicated his career to building innovative STEM partnerships and programs, teacher professional development, and training the next generation of mathematical scientists – particularly those that are underrepresented minorities.
Dr. Stovall has served as Director of the Moelis Access Science Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. He has also served as Director of STEM Youth and School Programs and Mathematician at The Franklin Institute, a premier science center working with motivated youth from across the greater Philadelphia region. His work has included advising the curriculum and teacher professional development in the Educational Consortium for the Advancement of STEM in Egypt (ECASE) project, which earned him an invitation to the White House’s 1st Annual STEM Mentorship Symposium in 2015.
Dr. Stovall is Founder of the Mathematical Sciences Institute. MSI’s mission is to provide “plumbing for pipelines” through MS Innovations, Educator Professional Development, and Dissemination, Research, and Evaluation. MSI houses the Dudley Weldon Woodard Program for Excellence in the Mathematical Sciences, which was piloted in 2014. The goal of the Woodard Program is to create a talent pipeline from grade school to graduate school and beyond – ultimately to careers, innovation, and leadership in the mathematical sciences and related fields. Dr. Stovall is also a member of the Department of Mathematics at The University of Pennsylvania. Idris is a dedicated husband and father of two wonderful daughters who enjoys sports and music of all sorts.
Frank C. Worrell, Ph.D.
Professor Frank C. Worrell holds a Ph.D. in School and Educational Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. and an M.A. in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Currently, he is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as Director of the School Psychology program, Faculty Director of the Academic Talent Development Program, and Faculty Director of the California College Preparatory Academy.
His areas of expertise include academic talent development/gifted education, at-risk youth, cultural identities, scale development and validation, teacher effectiveness, and the translation of psychological research findings into school-based practice. A member of the editorial boards of several journals, Dr. Worrell was Editor of Review of Educational Research through 2016 and has also served on committees of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). He received the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence from UC Berkeley, and was one of two recipients of NAGC’s 2013 Distinguished Scholar Award. His most recent book is Achieving college dreams: A university-charter district partnership (Oxford University Press, 2016), co-written with Rhona S. Weinstein, Ph.D. Additionally, he has recently published chapters in multiple scholarly works on identity development in gifted children; the science of talent development in gifted children; parent involvement; the role of domains in the conceptualization of talent; and racial/ethnic and gender identity in gifted classrooms.