BOARD OF DIRECTORS - 2020
Jeanine Buishas - President
Jeanine Buishas is currently the Coordinator of Gifted Services for the DuPage Regional Office of Education. Her advocacy for gifted and talented children is the result of over 30 years of experience in gifted education. In her previous role as an Instructional Specialist for Indian Prairie School District, she supported schools in the development and implementation of a K-8 Gifted/Talented program, led curriculum revision teams in advanced English Language Arts and Mathematics, and facilitated professional learning opportunities for district educators. Throughout her tenure in the district, she served on school and district leadership teams, acted as a liaison to the gifted parent organization, and mentored new gifted-resource and cluster-classroom teachers. Jeanine’s passion for supporting classroom teachers in differentiating instruction and developing a better understanding of the diverse needs of advanced learners continues as she facilitates workshops, conference presentations, and graduate courses. She is a graduate of Western Illinois University with degrees in Elementary and Special Education, and she holds a Master in Educational Psychology/Gifted Education from Northern Illinois University. In addition to her current position as President, she also serves as Co-Chair on the Education Committee of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Susan Corwith is an Associate Director with Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University. Dr. Corwith leads the Admissions & Advising, Assessment, School and Family Services, and Marketing and Communications teams at CTD. She brings to her role extensive experience in program design and evaluation, advocacy and outreach. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in educational leadership and policy analysis with an emphasis on high-quality programs for gifted students. For over 20 years Dr. Corwith has been active in the field of gifted education, working as a K-12 educator, gifted program coordinator, administrator and researcher. Dr. Corwith is also an instructor in the School of Education and Social Policy’s gifted masters and certificate programs and serves on accreditation teams for AdvancEd and CAEP. Prior to joining CTD, she was President of the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to meeting the needs of gifted students. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius - Past President
Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius is currently the director of the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University and a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. Over the past 32 years, she has created programs for diverse groups of gifted learners and written extensively on issues of talent development, particularly on programming for under-represented gifted students and outside-of-school and accelerative models of gifted education. Her most recent work is a monograph written with Rena Subotnik and Frank Worrell, “Rethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education: A Proposed Direction Forward Based on Psychological Science”, published by the Association for Psychological Science, which received the Award for Excellence in Research in 2013 from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation of Mensa International, Limited, She has served as editor of Gifted Child Quarterly, co-editor of the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education and on the editorial review boards of Gifted and Talented International, The Roeper Review, and Gifted Child Today. She currently is on the board of trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and the Illinois Association for the Gifted. She also serves on that advisory boards for the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary and the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington. She is the past- president of the National Association for Gifted Children from whom she received the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2009 and the GCQ Paper of the Year Award in 2011. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Denise Kuchta - Secretary
Denise Kuchta is the Coordinator for Gifted, as well as the Mathematics Instructional Coach at Queen Bee School District 16, where she re-established the gifted program in 2015-2016. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with students in grades 3-8, specializing in mathematics, gifted education and acceleration for math and English/Language Arts, and special education and interventions.
Denise serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, and is the Secretary of the organization. She has served on the Social/Emotional Committee as well as the Networking Committee for several years. She also recently served as the chair of the IAGC Leadership Retirement Committee. Her passion in gifted education stems from life-long giftedness and the unique path students will take from the K-8 system to high school and into adulthood. She is committed to the needs of underrepresented learners and providing opportunities that facilitate life goals. She is also an advocate for educating the parents of gifted children – as well as parental involvement in education.
Denise has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Mathematics, History, Language arts, and Middle school Teaching from Western Illinois University. She has a Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership (Type 75) and an endorsement in Gifted Education from Aurora University.
Denise met her husband, Nick, in an undergraduate English course for gifted and talented students. Over the years, her interest in giftedness for adults has been of interest. Together, Denise and Nick have one daughter. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Jill Ko - Treasurer
Jill Ko is a Certified Public Accountant, Controller and Human Resources Manager with Allways Precision, Inc. Jill earned a Bachelors in Science, Accountancy, from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Jill has over 20 years CPA experience in non-profit, for-profit, entrepreneurial, and auditing. In 2008 and 2009, Jill organized the IAGC Springfield Day with hundreds of children in yellow shirts visiting their legislative representatives advocating for their needs to be met. Jill has also served as President of PACE parent organization (now PTAG) in Oswego District 308 and was a member of the Illinois Math and Science Academy Parent Advisory Council. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Dr. Leodis Scott, Ed. D. is the Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at DePaul University, College of Education. Dr. Scott has conducted research in the field of education. He developed a Quantitative Survey for Assessing Parent Involvement and Family Engagement at Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center (a Chicago Public School named as a 2020 Blue Ribbon School). Leodis has presented at IAGC regarding gifted schools at Chicago Public Schools and "Tools for Parent and Family Engagement of Gifted Students." He is an advocate for gifted children whose interests include developing educational leaders, schools, and organizations.
Leodis possesses a Doctor of Education, Columbia University, Teachers College
Association for Gifted Children. (Term concludes 12.31.23)
Diana Rea is currently the Curriculum Director for Du Quoin Community Unit Schools, District 300. She also served the district as elementary principal from 2014 - 2021, and was awarded the Elementary Principal of the Year - Egyptian Region in 2020. She is a successful grant writer, designing unique opportunities for students in K-12 surrounding STEM education and enrichment avenues. Prior to her current position, she served in a previous district as the coordinator for gifted programming, expanding programming and acceleration options to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented students from diverse areas and backgrounds. Mrs. Rea also served as an instructional coach where she co-organized and implemented professional development and coaching strategies to support 1:1 technology integration. Her experience includes teaching gifted in Mississippi, Georgia and Illinois.
Mrs. Rea has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Illinois University. She holds the gifted teacher endorsement and is currently working on a Ed.S degree with specialization in gifted education and curriculum from the University of Virginia.
She served as an Illinois State Board of Education Gifted Advisory Council board member from 2013-2019, and was one of two members to serve Illinois in the national assessment vetting process for the gifted endorsement designation on the Illinois professional educator license. She was also a trainer in the Gifted Education Seminar. Mrs. Rea has presented at several conference including the IAGC, ESSA, NCLB, and IRC conferences. She is passionate about advancing gifted programming through professional development for educators, administrators and families in the areas of programming, differentiated instruction and social-emotional learning. (Term Concludes 12.31.22)
Dr. Sowmya Anjur serves on the faculty of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Sowmya is an American Physiology Society Teacher Fellow, completing her summer research at Midwestern University. She is a Teacher Research Fellow for the Oncofertility Summer Research Fellowship, Northwestern University, Chicago.
Sowmya has three patent applications filed and granted in the U.S. and several countries abroad. She is the recipient several awards and grants including the IAGC Promising Projects Award and the first ever Sudden Cardiac Death Awareness Research Foundation (S.C.A.R.F.) Educational Grant. She is also a recipient of ComEd seed grants and American Physiological Society's Online Teacher Professional Development Award. She received the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Principal's Teaching award and the Lederman Scholar Award.
Sowmya's interests in gifted education include promoting public awareness of giftedness and incorporating this awareness into educational policy. She is an advocate who wishes to lead other schools in the state to convince state officials to include the specific needs of gifted children in state policies, and incorporate competency curriculum to promote equity and diversity in gifted populations. She also hopes to bring the teacher’s classroom perspective to administrators and parents to better enable enrich their understanding of the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted students
Sowmya holds a PhD Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Biochemistry and Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology; M Phil. Agricultural Biochemistry, Bharathiar University, India;MS Clinical Biochemistry, Bharathiar University, India (Term Concludes 12.31.23)
Kevin Kusy is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Professional School Counselor in Illinois. Kevin currently works as a School Counselor at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois. Kevin's primary responsibility is to support the emotional, social development, and wellness of IMSA students. Kevin also provides education around mental health topics to the IMSA community, and helps to promote a better understanding around how school counselors and mental health professionals can best work with talented students. Kevin has previously worked as an international counselor with the dependents of active military members in Japan and Germany, and he has worked at a behavioral health hospital as an inpatient and outpatient therapist with clients who struggled with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-injury.
Kevin possesses a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology specializing in Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He is enrolled in a doctoral program at Northern Illinois University for Counselor Education and Supervision. He is the current student representative for the the Illinois Counselor Educators and Supervisors and a graduate committee member for the North Central region of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. His current research interests are around multicultural counseling, talented students, universal mental health screening, and school counselor supervision. (Term Concludes 12/31/21)
Randolph ("Randy") Lange, Ph.D., is the Talent Development Coordinator for District 102 in La Grange Illinois. He developed the K-8 Talent Development Program in District 102, including curriculum for accelerated mathematics, language arts, and social-emotional learning; identification protocol; building parent support networks; and providing professional development and mentoring for teachers of high ability learners. Before joining District 102, he served as a catalyst in developing a more equitable identification protocol in his former district (Indian Prairie School District 204) based upon his dissertation findings. He also teaches courses through the Belin Blank Center to prepare educators to work with gifted and talented students.
Randy currently serves on the Convention Planning Committee for the IAGC. He has been awarded "Most Influential Educator" multiple times through the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, as well as the Educator Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa.
Randy holds a Doctorate from the University of Iowa, Curriculum & Instruction (Cognates: gifted education, educational measurement, and curriculum studies); a Masters from the University of Iowa in Educational Administration, and a Bachelors from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in Elementary Education. (Term concludes 12.31.22)
Rhoda Rosen is an associate director at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, with oversight of advanced enrichment programming for young learners and parent education. She has a background in art history and cultural studies and received a BA and MA from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosen draws on her background in the arts to help ensure that arts integration and the fostering of critical thinking skills are a central component of the unique interdisciplinary offerings of CTD’s weekend programs; and to contribute research to the field of Creativity. She continues to teach at the college level at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. (Term concludes 12.31.21)
Pam Shaw is a music teacher and violinist by training. She has multiple part-time positions which allow her the flexibility to manage the ups and downs that come with parenting two twice-exceptional teens. She is a Music Appreciation instructor for Illinois Virtual School, a substitute teacher, and a private music teacher specializing in violin, viola, cello, and piano. As a Certified K-12 Master Reviewer, Pam leads course reviews and facilitates online professional development for Quality Matters, a global non-profit organization committed to quality assurance for online learning.
Pam currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Gifted Community Center as the Far North Suburban Coordinator and Social Media Editor. She was a member of the Illinois State Board of Education’s Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted and Talented Children from 2016 to 2018.
Pam received a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and will be completing a Master of Education in Special Education with an emphasis on gifted education from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2020. Her Illinois teaching endorsements include K-12 music, 5-8 language arts, 5-8 general science, and K-12 gifted education. (Term concludes 12.31.23)
April Wells is the Coordinator for Gifted, Academies, Advanced Placement and World Languages in Illinois School District U-46, where she facilitated the comprehensive redesign of the District’s gifted programming in 2012-2013. April serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, and has presented at conferences including IAGC, National Association for Gifted Children, the Statewide Conference for Teachers Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students, and the College of William and Mary Center for Gifted Education. Her interests emphasize equity pedagogy, underrepresented learners, developing a gifted continuum of services, and providing instructional supports that allow students to maximize their pursuits. April is honored to support legislative efforts at the state level aimed at developing systemic supports for high ability learners. April has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from DePaul University, a master’s in Teaching and a master’s in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University. April is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Chi Alpha Omega Chapter in Schaumburg, IL. (Term Concludes 12.31.21)
Patricia Steinmeyer is the Executive Director of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. Patricia ("Patsy") presents and writes on a variety of topics pertaining to the supporting advanced learners. She is an educational consultant who, over the past 14 years, has served as a teacher, gifted coordinator, presenter, and an assistant principal. Patsy is the author of the blog, P.S. – Just Learning: Journeys in Education, a series of reflections exploring topics related to teaching, educational leadership, and gifted education. She possesses a B.A. from Yale University, a M.A.T. and an Ed. S. from National-Louis University, and a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.