BOARD OF DIRECTORS - 2020
Office Manager: Amy Biasbas
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)
Diane Beedy is currently retired and serving on the board for the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. Previously she was a teacher for middle school students. Ms. Beedy was a consultant for the Educational Service Center and served ten counties in Central Illinois. She served as an educational consultant in science and gifted education for the Regional Office of Education (ROE) #11 in Charleston, IL and served districts in eight counties. Ms. Beedy also was the Director of Professional Development for the Regional Office of Education #39 in Decatur, IL serving Piatt and Macon counties. She served ROEs for twenty-five years. For five years she worked with teachers through Illinois for the Illinois State Board of Education developing curricula for the Illinois Standards in science and math. She was the Director for the Illinois Association for Gifted Children and retired from this position in November of 2019. Ms. Beedy received in 2012 the Leadership and Service Award from the College of Education & Professional Studies from Eastern Illinois University and Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Schools of the State of Illinois from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents. She earned her master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Illinois University with certifications in science, social science, language arts, and reading education. She is also a member of the National Association for Gifted Children. (Term concludes 12.31.20)
Dr. Adrienne Coleman, a Diversity & Inclusion speaker/researcher, serves as the Multicultural Education Specialist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). In this role, she is responsible for promoting a culture that appreciates, affirms, and includes students, faculty, and staff from a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds, who have high talent and interest in mathematics and science. She previously worked at Rutgers University as a Program Development Specialist, Research Assistant and Adjunct Faculty with the Bloustein School of Public Health as well as at Illinois State University as a Health Educator. She has served as an AmeriCorps member and has been part of the United States delegation team that assisted Moldova (Eastern Europe) in addressing issues of human trafficking and inadequate health education.
Dr. Coleman is the recipient of the NAACP 2016 Trailblazer in Education Award, the 2013 - 2016 Leon Lederman Scholar’s Awardand the IMSA 2012 E = MC2 award. Her areas of interest include public health, social justice/diversity education and higher/gifted education. She is a qualitative researcher who has examined the motivation of Black and Latino students to engage in the STEM education and careers. Her research has informed STEM programs throughout the nation. She hopes to contribute to the education and economic development of students from underrepresented populations by continuing her research on the motivation of culturally and linguistically diverse students engaged in STEM, ultimately strengthening and diversifying the STEM education to career pipeline.
Dr. Adrienne Coleman possesses a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University and a Master of Science Degree in Health Education as well as a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Foundation both from Illinois State University. (Term Concludes 12.31.22)
Newenka came to the field of giftedness out of concern for her two gifted children. A former management consultant with Accenture, she put her management skills to work advocating for their needs. She started the Gifted Education Cooperative, GECO, which supported the needs of gifted children and their families in her community. As a member of the IAGC advocacy committee, Newenka organized the first Take Our Gifted Children to Springfield Day, where hundreds of yellow-shirted gifted children, their parents and teachers descended upon our capitol to meet their representatives. Newenka is a founding member and the past president of the Chicago Gifted Community Center, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to facilitating educational and emotional support for gifted children and their families. Newenka is also an experienced SENG Model Parent Group facilitator and frequent presenter on topics related to raising gifted children. Newenka joined the IAGC Board of Directors in 2016. As a board member she has focused on the needs of parents and on the technology needed to manage the organization. She would love to hear what parents feel IAGC should be doing to support their needs and the needs of their children. (Term Concludes 12.31.20)
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 12.31.20)
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)