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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

Candidates for IAGC Board

board of directors-Candidate Profiles

Election for upcoming term: JANUARY 1, 2023 - DECEMBER 31, 2025

Kenyatta Revelle -- Iles School Principal, (Gifted Magnet School Grades 1-8 and International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Grades 1-5), Springfield Public Schools District #186

Education -- MA University of Illinois, Springfield, Educational Administration; Illinois International Fellow in Japan; BA University of Illinois, Springfield, English and Teacher Education Program

Career Highlights -- 21 years of experience working as an educator or administrator of gifted children; 8th year as principal of a completely self-contained gifted elementary and middle school program for grades 1-8; worked collaboratively to develop and implement our International Baccalaureate (IB) primary years concept-driven program of in-depth inquiry focused on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside; successfully led our school through two IB evaluations; member of the Springfield Public Schools Gifted Program Review Committee for 14 years; organized and facilitated meeting with District and ROE Representative to offer all teachers of gifted students an opportunity to take the Gifted Education Seminar (GES) in Springfield; led workshop to help teachers learn how to apply for the the Illinois Gifted Endorsement; Member of the Springfield Public Schools Equity and Cultural Diversity Committee; first African American female to teach in Ashikaga, Japan (Springfield's Sister City) at the public schools in grades K-9 for three years; selected by the Ashikaga Mayor's Office and Board of Education (in Japan) to teach the first city-sponsored English language course for women who worked at the Ashikaga City Hall

IAGC Positions Held: Current IAGC Board Member; IAGC Education Committee Co-Chair

Other Activities/Awards -- Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln Board Member; Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln Scholarship Committee Chair; Springfield Sister Cities Board Member;  Horace Mann Administrator of the Year Finalist 2019; Horace Mann Administrator of the Year Finalist 2016; Horace Mann Educator of the Year Finalist 2004.

Goals for IAGC -- Provide educators with practical professional strategies. Provide parents and educators strategies to capture curiosity and engage gifted learners. Provide parents and educators resources for advocating for the multi-exceptional learner.

Diana Rea -- District Curriculum Director - DuQuoin Community Unit Schools, Dist. #300

Education -- M.S. Edu Administration - Eastern IL University; B.S. Elementary Education - Southern Illinois University; Anticipated May 2023 Ed.S in C & I with area of focus in Gifted Education from University of Virginia-Curry School of Education; Gifted Teacher Endorsement - Mississippi- Georgia-Illinois; 32 graduate hours - Gifted Education; University of Mississippi , Mississippi University for Women,University of South Florida, University of Virginia

Career Highlights -- Diana Rea is the Curriculum Director at DuQuoin Community Unit Schools. Her experience includes teaching gifted in Mississippi, Georgia and Illinois and serving as a coordinator of gifted programming and coaching teachers of the gifted (1998 - present). In her district, Ms. Rea designed and developed gifted programming, expanding it additional grades with acceleration opportunities including dual- credit avenues for junior high math and designing high school English honors. She implemented 1:1 technology integration and professional development. 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. Ms. Rea has presented at several conferences including the IAGC, ESSA, NCLB, IL Reading Council Conferences, and was a trainer in the Gifted Education Seminar.

IAGC Positions Held: Current IAGC Board member

Other Activities/Awards -- 2007 Illinois Association for Gifted Children Ruth Wright Scholarship Award; 2010 Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Award of Excellence; 2012, 2018 & 2022 Authored and awarded 21st CCLC Grants (competitive application); 2020 Egyptian Region Illinois Elementary Principal of the Year

Goals for IAGC -- Increase the impact of IAGC through representation and a committed voice from the southern IL regions of the state; Advocate for programming, curriculum and instructional practices and programs to help meet the unique needs of gifted and talented students from the diverse areas of Illinois; Lead by promoting professional development opportunities for educators, administrators and parents in the areas of programming, differentiated instruction and SEL needs;  Collaborate with professionals passionate about growing gifted and talented programs with creative strategies for advocating and supporting all stakeholders across the state.

Sarah Bright -- Purdue University, College of Education

Education -- BA, University of Toronto, European History and Politics MA, New York University, Near Eastern Studies Graduate certificate, Northwestern University, Gifted education PhD, DePaul University, Education--Curriculum and Instruction

Career Highlights -- Sarah Bright, PhD, is a post-doctoral research associate at Purdue University, where she is working on a federally funded project to increase the enrollment and success of underrepresented gifted students in STEM courses. She is also a researcher at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, where she is working on research projects and related publications that focus on expanding access to underrepresented gifted students, including a project involving the development, implementation, and evaluation of an accelerated English Language Arts course for high potential, socioeconomically disadvantaged 7th- and 8th-graders. Her research interests include expanding access to traditionally underserved populations in gifted programs, fostering the social-emotional learning of gifted students, and examining the impact of instructional technology on gifted learning and teaching. She the co-author with Dr. Katherine Kapustka of Integrating Social and Emotional Learning with Content: Using Picture Books for Differentiated Teaching in K-3 Classrooms (Routledge, 2022).

IAGC Positions Held: IAGC member

Other Activities/Awards -- AERA Annual Conference Proposal Reviewer for the Research on Giftedness, Creativity and Talent; Technology, Instruction, Cognition & Learning; and Multi-Method and Mixed Methods SIGS, 2020, 2021 • Reviewer for Gifted & Talented International • Editorial Advisory Board Member and Journal Article Reviewer, Teaching for High Potential, a NAGC publication (2017-present) • Board of Trustees Member, Science and Arts Academy, a PreK-8 gifted school in Des Plaines, IL, (2021-present)

Goals for IAGC -- I would like to continue my work in the area of expanding access and enrollment of underrepresented students in gifted programs and supporting the social and emotional needs of all gifted students. One of my current research projects involves working with underrepresented gifted students in schools in the Chicago School District, and I would be honored and excited to work with IAGC in helping to expand programs for gifted students throughout the state, as well as providing professional development for teachers so that they can fully supported our gifted students.

Lori Kim -- President at Barrington Council for the Gifted and Talented / Sr. Customer Success Account Manager at Microsoft

Education -- J.D. at The UIC John Marshall Law School and B.S. in Finance at DePaul University 

Career Highlights --  Marketing, Finance, Litigation, Customer Success Account Management

IAGC Positions Held -- Parent participant and partner

Other Activities/Awards -- The Board Member at the Barrington Council for the Gifted and Talented and Pro Bono Network

Goals for IAGC -- Help lift our highly capable children and become an active part of the future where "educational possibilities are limitless and the future for gifted and talented children will once again be a national priority."

Tara Kristoff --  Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning at Rock Falls Elementary School District 13

Education -- EdD from the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign (2021); JD from The Ohio State University College of Law (1996) ; MAT from Dominican University (2006); BA from University of Illinois at Chicago (1993)

IAGC Positions Held -- I have presented in past IAGC conferences on "The Connection of Science and ELA - The Effective Way to Differentiate and to Integrate Instruction."

Career Highlights -- 1) Licensed to practice law in Illinois as well as the federal bar. 2) Dissertation of "Interpretation and Implementation of the Accelerated Placement Act by Illinois School District Leaders" published by the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign in 2021. 3) National conference presenter on ways to integrate science and ELA. 4) Successfully created district systems to address the needs to gifted learners such as through after school programming and acceleration.

Other Activities/Awards -- Active member of the IL ASCD, Illinois Reading Council, Illinois Science Teacher Association, and the Illinois Association for Gifted Children.

Goals for IAGC -- My goals for the Illinois Association of Gifted Children come from my perspective as an active central office district leader. I am extremely pleased to see the number of laws coming from the Illinois General Assembly to help gifted children and their families. My first goal is to obtain the voices and participation of school district leaders when enacting gifted educational policies. My second goal is for IAGC is for the organization to be a leader of professional development in terms of new gifted mandates. What is needed to ensure implementation of the mandates are voices of school districts leaders, especially from rural school districts. In order for any educational policy to be accepted as well as implemented with fidelity by school districts, the voices of school administrators need to be heard and incorporated as part of the debate. IAGC needs to hear firsthand from those who will be the first in line to implement any educational mandate we get passed. In the case of the Accelerated Placement Act (APA), for example, not one school district leader in any Illinois school district spoke to legislators during the readings of the bill either for or against APA. If they did, the legislators would have heard that school district administrators view the APA as a non-negotiable mandate that does not have enough guidance for school district leaders to figure what is needed when they create acceleration policy and/or when they create their acceleration procedures. Furthermore, legislators would have also heard the school administrators’ plea for more needed funding in order to hire more educators to help differentiate for the needs of higher ability students; provide professional development in differentiated instruction to all educators to help them meet the learning needs of higher ability students; and to purchase more resources to help higher ability students academically succeed at their level. Lastly, the school administrators would have told the legislators that compliance with the APA is competing for their limited resources in terms of labor, funding, and time alongside all the other educational mandates passed down from the Illinois General Assembly. Therefore, it is important for IAGC to collaborate closely with school district central office leaders in policy creation, policy agenda setting, and policy debating. Before school district administrators can understand the purpose of any gifted law, consistent and ongoing professional development is needed. They need to learn the components of the mandates as well as how to practically implement it in a school district. Professional development needs to be sustained and continuous through all administrative professional organizations in Illinois such as the Illinois Principal Association (IPA) or through the Illinois Association of Regional State Superintendents (IARSS). Therefore, as new research in the field of gifted education emerges or as new rules and regulations from ISBE are released, school administrators can stay up to date with the latest information to help not only their higher ability students, but all students increase their learning capacity.

Julie Witt --  Instructional Specialist for Advanced Learners, Wheeling CCSD21

Education -- University of Iowa (BA)- Liberal Arts (Education), Northern Illinois University (MS)- Special Education, Northern Illinois University (MS)-- Instructional Technology/School Library, Roosevelt University (MS)-Educational Leadership.

Career Highlights -- I have taught in the following positions: Special Education teacher, Middle School Language Arts/Social Studies teacher, Middle School Library Media Specialist, Elementary Instructional Coach. I am now the Instructional Specialist for Advanced Learners for the District.

IAGC Positions Held -- IAGC member

Other Activities/Awards --  I have won the District 21 Recognizing Excellence Award twice in my tenure in the district.

Goals for IAGC -- I would love to be part of the committee in order to help spread educational opportunities for parents, students and teachers to meet the academic and social emotional needs of this diverse group. I am also passionate about finding identification tools and resources to support our twice exceptional and under served populations.

Brenda Swartz -- Loyola University Chicago: Stritch School of Medicine

Education --   Psy.D. Midwestern University, 2012

Career Highlights --  I am a lifespan neuropsychologist and parent of a gifted child (and wife of a gifted husband)

IAGC Positions Held --  I am a new member of IAGC

Other Activities/Awards -- Member: National Academy of Neuropsychology, Previous board member of Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey-pediatric specialty, Task force and member American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine

Goals for IAGC -- Promote understanding and advocacy for support for individuals who are gifted and promote more understanding of giftedness in public and private schools in our area and beyond

Tara Thomas  -- Academic and Enrichment Coordinator and Coordinator of the Gifted and Honors program

Education -- B.A. Wayne State University, MAT Trinity University, Ph.D. candidate DePaul University

Career Highlights -- Starting the Honors and Gifted program at Zion School District 6, becoming member of Phi Beta Kappa, Chairperson of Shop with a Cop (2021 and 2022), Facilitating many Professional Development Sessions, Organizing the Women of the Year programs (2021 & 2022), Organizing the Law Day Program (2020,2021, 2022), Being asked to be the key speaker at Alabama A&M 2022 to speak on the importance of identifying and serving gifted students. Asked to join Zion Community BPAC , becoming President of the NAACP branch of Lake County IL., I was asked to become a member of the AAUW (an honor) and I am an executive board member of the United Way of Lake County

IAGC Positions Held --  I have not held a position, but I would like to be more involved. I am very committed to enhancing and enriching gifted students. My school district, prior to my position, had a limited Honors and Gifted Program. Via the leadership of the IAGC, I have developed official guidelines, procedures and implemented an official Honors Program. I plan to continue my affiliation with IAGC by acquiring innovative strategies to engage our students' efforts towards success.

Other Activities/Awards -- I am an Executive Board Member of the United Way of Lake County, I am a previous member of Wayne State University board for Minority Medical Students, I am a member of AAUW, I am the advisor of the Youth Change Makers of Zion School Dist.6.  I received the Leadership Award of Lake County in 2019, I am a member of Phi Beta Kappa (a fraternity of Excellence), I am a member of the National Honors Society of Concordia University Chicago (I am currently in a certification program), I am the organizer of Jack and Jill North Oakland Macomb Chapter,

Goals for IAGC -- I would like to see IAGC conduct more Professional Development Sessions in Urban Schools to assist teachers to identify Gifted Students

cast your vote by 11/08/22


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