AAGC 2015 Conference: Call for Proposals

Gifted specialists, program coordinators, administrators, parents, university faculty and supporters of gifted education will converge Sept 16-18 for the 21st Annual AAGC Conference at McWane Science Center.

We need YOU to make our 2015 Conference the best ever! Please consider submitting a session proposal sharing your ideas for meeting the needs of gifted learners.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Igniting Gifted Potential.”

The deadline for proposal submissions is June 1, 2015. This is an earlier deadline than in past year’s due to a new exciting addition to our conference: our own AAGC conference app! This app will be free for download on mobile devices to all attendees and will provide access to the conference program offerings, information about vendors and exhibitors and other exciting features.

Please send your completed proposal to Patti Wood at pfwood@samford.edu by the June 1 deadline.


AAGC Conference Sept 2015 Call for Proposals form


AAGC President Gwendolyn Jones Discusses Gifted Education Month

FOX10 News | WALA


January is Gifted Education Month in Alabama

2015 GEM proclamation

In recognition of our theme for 2015, we have compiled a calendar of events for the month of January to assist with advocacy efforts. It, along with a letter from AAGC President Gwen Jones, is available for download here.


AAGC Informational Brochure with Membership Form

The AAGC informational brochure is now available for distribution. Please feel free to print if out and share it at community meetings and events.

The brochure has great information about AAGC for parents, administrators, and general education teachers to join, become engaged, and advocate for gifted students!

Please pass this form out before Gifted Education Month arrives so we can ALL ignite gifted potential!

Click to download: AAGC Brochure


President’s Message

GwenMy name is Gwendolyn Jones, the recently elected president of the Alabama Association for Gifted Children. It is a distinct honor for me to serve in this role. Since this organization was chartered in March of 1996, it has been a dominant force in advocating for the educational rights and affective needs of gifted and talented children.

Considering that our students are gifted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not just the day and time they receive gifted services, we need to build an awareness of their unique learning needs that are so often difficult to address in the general education classroom. As we build an awareness of their unique needs we need to let our voices be heard for full funding for gifted education. We understand that our voices have the power to influence our legislators to swing the pendulum in favor of those students that deserve experiences that meet their present and future academic needs. An appropriately served gifted child will, as an adult, benefit all of society.

The Alabama Association for Gifted Children will continue to build on the foundation previously established by the leaders of this organization. Their dedication and diligence toward promoting “best practices” for gifted children and youth will provide the template for this organization’s future.

Gwendolyn Wms Jones
AAGC President

“However gifted an individual is at the outset, those gifts will be stillborn if his or her talents cannot be developed because of his or her social condition and surrounding circumstances.”
Simone de Beauvoir


AAGC 2014 Conference Handouts

To download handouts from the AAGC 2014 Conference, please click the links below.

*Please note: This page will be updated with all handouts as they are received.

Dr. Jane Newman: Designing Advanced Curriculum Units
Designing Advanced Curriculum Units handout

Amy Waine: Cultures Around the World
Cultures Around the World handout
Cultures Around the World slides

Shirley Farrell & Liz Cochran: Tie a Green Ribbon ‘Round the School
Tie a Green Ribbon ‘Round the School handout
August 28 2014 Green Ribbon School Webinar Pillar 1
Propane Mower Incentive Program

Shirley Farrell: Infographics Tell It All!
Infographics Tell It All! handout

Shirley Farrell: Think Like a Scientist Through Real-World Projects
Think Like a Scientist Through Real-World Projects handout

Hilary McKinney: Process for Funding Gifted Projects & Programs
Process for Funding Gifted Projects & Programs handout

Hilary McKinney: Kinetic Flow Art -Add some flow to your life!
Kinetic Flow Art -Add some flow to your life! handout

Jason Mayfield: Overcoming the Plateau Effect in Gifted Adolescents (Also known as Overcoming Middle School “Blahs”)
Overcoming the Plateau Effect in Gifted Adolescents handout

Traci Guidry: Duke TIP
2014 TIP Overview
2014 Origins of Talent Search
Program Grid_blue

Dr. Elizabeth A. Romey for Barbara A. Romey, Phenix City Schools: Beautiful Minds: Insights on Secondary Gifted Education
Beautiful Minds handout

Dr. Elizabeth A. Romey: Thinking about Feelings, Feelings about Thinking: Counseling Skills for Gifted Teachers
Counseling Skills for GT Teachers handout

Dr. Elizabeth A. Romey: Teacher Pleasers, Teacher Freezers: Making the Most of the TABs
Teacher Pleasers, Teacher Freezers: Making the Most of the TABs handout

Bette Kersting Bell, Ph.D.: Simple Steps to Conference Presentations
How to Make a Successful Presentation
Anybody Who Ice Breaker handout
Grant Example – Mathbusters handout
Research Presentation Example An Effective Use of Technology in Gifted Education handout

Jerry Nash: Chess and Critical Thinking
Chess and Critical Thinking handout

Carol Yarbrough: Promoting Diversity and Creativity in Computer Science
Promoting Diversity and Creativity in Computer Science handout

Dr. Kathy VanFleet & Kathryn Ratley: Mastering the Matrix: IQ Testing, Screeners, and the Bell Curve
Mastering the Matrix: IQ Testing, Screeners, and the Bell Curve

Katie Fancher: How Engineering Programs Can Enhance Critical Thinking Skills
Engineering Resource list
How Engineering Programs Can Enhance Critical Thinking Skills


AAGC Conference Schedule

Download the AAGC conference schedule here: AAGC Program 2014


AAGC Conference News


The 2014 AAGC conference is quickly approaching and I wanted to send you a few quick reminders:

1. AAGC Election-

There will be an election held at the AAGC business meeting during the conference for the board positions listed. Please read the following bios submitted for consideration. Ballots will be handed out at the meeting and you must be a member who is in good standing and present to vote.

Candidates for AAGC Board
September-2014 Term


Dr. Dylan Ferniany is the coordinator for gifted education in Birmingham City Schools.
Dylan taught gifted education at the elementary and middle school levels in Homewood
City Schools for seven years. Dr. Ferniany earned an Ed.D. in Leadership, Policy, and
Organizations from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College where she gained an
understanding of gifted education in a broader policy context. Dylan is involved in a
number of extracurricular civic organizations. She founded and led Young Education
Professionals-Birmingham and now serves as the Vice President of Development. In
addition, she serves on the production team at TEDxBirmingham as the K12 Relations
Coordinator. Dylan is passionate about identifying and nourishing talent of both students and teachers in Alabama.

Vice President

LaRita Giles is a graduate of Birmingham Southern college and received a Masters of
Gifted Education from Samford University in 2013. She is a National Board Certified
Teacher and a school based volunteer mentor for National Board candidates. LaRita
served as a BEA representative for her school for six years and is presently initiating a
community based outreach program for Women in the Woodlawn Community (Women
Wellness) and volunteers her services for Kairos Outside Ministries. Other professional
accomplishments include National Writing Project Fellow (2010), member of Central
Park Elementary Literacy Team, and published author (“101 ways to use Time” for Kids Magazine). She continues to write and respond to various professional publications and is researching board and meeting policies to gain insight into meeting procedures and organizational setups for success. She is interested in working to provide more
opportunities and to augment the programs made available to the gifted students of

Rita Sparks is a veteran gifted specialist of eight years. A wife and the mother to two
gifted young adults, she is currently employed at Thompson Intermediate School in
Shelby County, where she teaches gifted students in Grades 4 and 5. After ten years as a
general education teacher, she found her life’s purpose when she began teaching 4th and
5th grade gifted education classes. She received her gifted education certification from
Samford University in 2008. Having two gifted children inspired Rita not only to
challenge the well-adjusted gifted child, but also to provide support to gifted students
who struggle academically and social-emotionally. Rita is loyal, dedicated and hard
working. She embraces challenge and is always ready to learn something new!


Debbie Dumais has taught gifted education classes at Fultondale Elementary School for
nine years, previously teaching fifth grade science for nine years. She was also
Laboratory Supervisor at UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hematology
Laboratory Instructor for the Medical School before her public education positions. She
is a graduate of UAB, BS and MA, and received her gifted certification from Samford
University. She is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), one of only eight statewide. She currently serves as AAGC By-Laws Chairperson. She also is FES Science Olympiad Coach, Jefferson County Master Gardener, North Arts Council, National Science Teacher Association (NSTA), Birmingham Audubon Society, Environmental Educator Association of Alabama; to name a few. She is a published author of over twenty professional genealogical articles and six professional medical abstracts in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). She has received over $10,000 in educational grant monies and various awards, such as UAB’s Outstanding Alumni Award and Boy Scouts of America’s “Outstanding Scouter Award” for volunteerism. As a gifted child, parent of gifted children, and gifted specialist, Debbie is passionate about gifted education and driven to help others across the state of Alabama who inspire future generations and to create a collaborative effort to “unfold” the gifts and talents of gifted students, enabling them to reach their potentials.

Teresa Lucas, a graduate of TR Miller High School located in Brewton. AL, attended
Jefferson Davis Community College, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Auburn at Montgomery with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, earned a Master’s
degree in Gifted Education from the University of South Alabama. She currently serves
as the enrichment teacher in the Brewton City School where she is also Coach of the Scholars’ Bowl, Gifted Network Secretary, and serves as the Historian and President of Alpha Delta Kappa. Having been the Secretary of the Gifted Network for four years, Teresa feels that this experience would provide an avenue to promote common goals, share varied experiences, and voice statewide concerns with a group dedicated to meeting the needs of gifted students.

2. Contests, Awards & Grants

Just a reminder to be mindful of approaching deadlines for several contests! For more information please visit www.alabamagifted.org. If you know a teacher, administrator, coordinator or student who needs to be recognized please read the nomination instructions on our website. Thanks to all who submitted grant proposals and awards so far!

3. Tutwiler Hotel

Do you need to book a room for the conference? The Tutwiler is the official conference hotel that has plenty of rooms reserved for the conference! Please call Roxanne for more information!

4. Parent Day

Please invite parents of gifted children on Friday, September 19th because we will be celebrating Parent Day during the conference! There will be special sessions and activities dedicated for parents!

5. Door Prizes

Fabulous door prizes will be given away each day of the conference! You must be present to win with a matching ticket. Cameras, I Pads, and more to be given away!

I look forward to hearing informative keynote speakers, special guests, and Dr. Bice at the conference! If you haven’t gotten your registration form and payment submitted… hurry! The conference will be here before you know it!


Amy Waine
AAGC President
@sniarb onTwitter


2014 AAGC Board Nominations

AAGC BALLOT September, 2014

Candidates for AAGC Board – September 2014 Term


AAGC 2014 Conference Program Agenda

Please use the agenda listed below with your professional leave requests for your school system. We have outstanding sessions with diverse topics! See you at the conference!

Alabama Association for Gifted Children McWane Science Center
2014 Program Schedule (Draft)

Wednesday September 17, 2014 – 7:30am-4pm
Morning Keynote Speaker: Jerome Morris, PhD: Gifted Youth from Minority Populations Afternoon

Breakout Sessions:

  1. Zentangle: Beginners and Advanced Workshops (Debbie Dumais)
  2. Team Building for Gifted Students (Maggie Johnston, McDowell Educational Programs)
  3. Infographics Tell It All! (Shirley Farrell)
  4. Cultures Around the World (Amy Waine)
  5. Surviving Your First Year as a Gifted Teacher (Traci Ingleright)

Thursday September 18, 2014  7:30am-4pm
Morning Keynote Speaker: Brian Housand, PhD: The Geeks Have Inherited the Earth Breakout Sessions:

  1. The Top 40 Tech Tools Countdown (Brian Housand)
  2. Coding: It May Be the Closest Thing We Have to a Superpower (Brian Housand)
  3. Overcoming the Plateau Effect in Gifted Adolescents (Jason Mayfield)
  4. Creativity x 4 (Carolyn Coil)
  5. Using Common Core Standards with Gifted Students (Carolyn Coil)
  6. Identifying Gifted English Learners (Kathy Nichol)
  7. Measuring Student’s Ability, Performance, and Growth: Using CogAT for Student Achievement (Dr. Dash W/Jinny Hurdle)
  8. Stock Market Game: Virtual Learning, Real Results (Wanda McAbee)
  9. Quirkles: Science Plus Literacy Equals Fun (Lynn Hawking)
  10. Mastering the Matrix: IQ Testing, Screeners and the Bell Curve (Kathy VanFleet/Kathryn Ratley)
  11. Move Over Zombies, Here Come the Mummies! (Teresa Zimmer)
  12. Chess: Engaging Students in Critical Thinking (Jerry Nash)
  13. Muggins Math: Aerobics for the Mind (Sue Schuler)
  14. Duke University Talent Identification Program (Traci Guidry)
  15. Creating Public Service Announcements in the Gifted Education Classroom (Kevin Besnoy)
  16. Funding Your Program: Applying for Grants and Other Fundraising Techniques (Hilary McKinney)
  17. Think Like a Scientist Through Real-World Projects (Shirley Farrell)
  18. “Mutts on a Mission” Inspire Life Lesson and Life Skills (Patti Wood/Dianne Burch)
  19. Learning with Usborne and Kane/Miller Books (Karen Baize)
  20. Farm to Classroom (John Nee, McDowell Farm School)
  21. Creative Dramatics (Shelley Patterson/Keller Davis)
  22. Creating Concept-Based Units from Topic to Evaluation (Jane Newman)
  23. Powerful Strategies for Improving Critical Thinking and Writing (Nathan Levy)
  24. Edmodo:WhereLearningCanHappen24/7(SheilaMostafavi/SueAusman)
  25. Surviving Your First Year as a Gifted Teacher (Traci Ingleright)

Friday September 19, 2014 (Sessions designated for Parents are asterisked)  7:30am-4pm

Morning Keynote Speaker: Carolyn Coil, EdD: Encouraging Achievement: Igniting a Passion for Learning*

Breakout Sessions:

  1. Stock Market Game: Virtual Learning, Real Results (Wanda McAbee)
  2. Happy Brains: Personalizing Environments for Optimal Brain Function (Laurie Sherrill)*
  3. Tie a Green Ribbon ‘Round the School’ (Shirley Farrell)
  4. Gifted Education Advocacy, Networking, & PD…21st Century Style (April Coleman)
  5. Parent/Student Advocacy: Getting the Gifted Message Out to State Legislators (Wendy Tibbs)*
  6. Beautiful Minds: Insights on Secondary Gifted Education (Barbara Romey)
  7. Thinking about Feelings, Feelings about Thinking: Counseling Skills for Teachers (Elizabeth Romey)
  8. Teacher Pleasers, Teacher Freezers: Making the Most of the TABs (Elizabeth Romey)
  9. Educating Gifted Students for a Sustainable World (Melinda Staubs)
  10. Hydraulics + Simple Machines = Fun While Learning! (Michael Hallman)
  11. Computer Science Principles: Promoting Diversity and Creativity in Computer Science (Carol Yarbrough)
  12. LiteraryNonfiction:PassporttoNewAdventuresinWritingandReading(KayeHagler/LaraWeeks)
  13. Stuff Not Fluff: Strategic Teaching and Best Practices in the Gifted Classroom (Shannon Colburn)
  14. Hook, Line and Sinker: The Importance of Tapping into Student Interests (Shannon Colburn)
  15. Peeps in Peril: Unpacking NASA’s Museum in a Box (Jennifer Kennedy)
  16. Adventure is Out There! My Time as an Einstein Fellow (Jennifer Kennedy)
  17. Simple Steps to Conference Presentations (Bette Kersting Bell)
  18. Kinetic Creativity with Flow Arts (Hilary McKinney)
  19. How to Conduct a Night Sky Observation Session for Children (Elizabeth Bero)
  20. Creating Community Connections (Rita Sparks/Susan Mitchell/Nicole Naro)*
  21. Advocating for Gifted Kids: It’s Elementary! (Wendy Tibbs/Dylan Harbour/Kathryn Harbour)
  22. Ductivity…A Student’s Spin on Creativity (Susan Mitchell/Rita Sparks/Nicole Naro/Marlee Roach)
  23. Powerful Strategies to Reach Gifted and Highly Capable Students (Nathan Levy)