Signature Series

Signature Session

A Research-Based Approach for Promoting Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation

Friday, November 10
1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Location: 217 A

Most educators are painfully aware of the six words that drive almost the entire curriculum and instruction in their schools. “That which is evaluated gets done.” What would happen if schools were held as accountable for promoting imagination, creativity, and innovation (ICI) as they are for achievement-test-driven instruction? This session will describe a research project that developed an instrument schools can use to determine the nature and extent of resources devoted to ICI. Suggestions will be made for roles that gifted education specialists can play in encouraging all teachers to infuse ICI opportunities into their curriculum and instruction.

Joseph S. Renzulli

University of Connecticut

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli is Director of UConn’s Renzulli Center for Creativity, gifted Education, and Talent Development and a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology. The American Psychological Association named him among the 25 most influential psychologists in the world. He received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Award for Innovation in Education, considered by many to be “the Nobel” for educators, and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted. His work on the Three Ring Conception of Giftedness, the Enrichment Triad Model and Curriculum Compacting and Differentiation were pioneering efforts in the 1970s, and he has contributed hundreds publications to the professional literature. Dr. Renzulli has received more than $50 million in research grants and several million dollars of additional funding for professional development and service projects.

Dr. Renzulli established UConn’s annual Confratute Program which has served more than 35,000 teachers from around the world since 1978. He also established the UConn Mentor Connection, a summer program that enables high-potential high school students to work side by side with leading scientists, historians, and artists and other leading edge university researchers. He is also the founder along with Dr. Reis of the Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy in Hartford, Connecticut which has become a model for local and national urban school reform for high potential/low income students.

His most recent work is an online personalized learning program that provides profiles of each student’s academic strengths, interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression. This unique program has a search engine that matches multiply coded resources with student profiles. Teachers also use the program to select and infuse high engagement enrichment activities into any and all standardized curriculum topics. []


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Laurel Brandon

Research Assistant
University of Connecticut

Laurel Brandon is a doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program at the University of Connecticut under the advisement of Sally Reis and works as a graduate research assistant with Joe Renzulli and Ron Beghetto on the Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation Index and Portfolio project. She also serves as a student on-site coordinator for Confratute and is an Innovation Fellow working with the First Year Programs and Learning Communities department to develop curriculum for the Innovation Zone Makerspace for first- and second-year undergraduate students. Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Laurel taught gifted cluster, pull-out, and self-contained classes (grades 3-6) for 6 years. Her research interests include enrichment pedagogy, interest and talent development, and positive psychology.


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Lauri B. Kirsch

Supervisor, K-12 Gifted Programs
Hillsborough County Public Schools

Lauri Kirsch is the Supervisor of Gifted Programs for Hillsborough County Public Schools (Florida), the nation's eighth largest school district. In 1994, Dr. Kirsch discovered her passion: gifted education. Since that time, her involvement in gifted education has been through a multitude of roles, allowing her to learn and lead from a variety of perspectives. As an educator since 1981, her experiences have included gifted teacher, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, doctoral student, conference presenter, researcher, administrator, and gifted advocate. Through these experiences, Dr. Kirsch has found that leadership is the critical element for success in any organization, from the classroom, to a school district, to a state affiliate group. Lauri served two terms as NAGC's State Board Representative and served as NAGC Treasurer from 2012-2014. She is a past President of the Florida Association for the Gifted and currently serves on the Board of the Florida Gifted Network. Lauri was recognized by NAGC as the recipient of the 2014 NAGC Coordinator Award. As the parent of two grown gifted daughters, she has navigated the unchartered waters that are integral to parenting the gifted. Kirsch says her goal is to share a common sense message that may inspire and guide others in supporting the children who will be the leaders in our world’s future.


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Jenny M. Klimis

ESE Specialist/Gifted, Retired
Pinellas County Schools


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Sally Krisel

Director of Innovative and Advanced Programs
Hall County School District

Dr. Sally Krisel is Director of Innovative and Advanced Programs for Hall County Schools in Gainesville, GA, where she promotes engagement and achievement for all students by developing high-level programming options for gifted students and extending as appropriate the pedagogy once thought to be the exclusive domain of gifted education to a larger group of learners. In the last ten years, the system has implemented three International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs; and it has launched two dozen charter schools and “niche” programs of choice, all of which are based on a philosophy of talent development.

Dr. Krisel served for ten years as Georgia’s State Director of Gifted Education. Previously she was Director of Student Assessment and Gifted Education for Clarke County School District in Athens, Georgia, and Program Coordinator at the University of Georgia (UGA) site of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT). Krisel was instrumental in designing and conducting the training sessions of the Staff Development Model piloted by the NRC/GT to help teachers recognize and respond to indicators of potential giftedness in economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient students.

President-Elect of NAGC, Dr. Krisel is also a part-time faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology at UGA. She is author of numerous book chapters and articles in the field, and she has been recognized by UGA’s College of Education and NAGC for her contributions. In 2004 Krisel was named the winner of the UGA College of Education Professional Achievement Alumni Award and NAGC’s Community Service Award. She was selected as the Career Achievement Award winner from Columbia College in 2017. Sally is a Past-President of the Georgia Association for Gifted Children and winner of the GAGC Leadership Award, Margaret Bynum Award, and Mary Frasier Equity & Excellence Award.


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Ronald Beghetto


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Dina M. Brulles

Director of Gifted Education
Paradise Valley Unified School District

Dina Brulles, Ph.D., is the Director of Gifted Education at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Arizona where she has developed a continuum of gifted education programs, preschool through high school. The programs and services Dina oversees incorporate innovative uses of technology, enfranchise underrepresented populations and provide extensive professional development opportunities. She is also the Gifted Program Coordinator at Arizona State University.

Dina currently serves on the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Board of Directors as the School District Representative. She has also served as president of her state gifted association, vice president of SENG, on NAGC Task Forces and on leadership teams of NAGC Networks. Dina was a co-recipient of the inaugural 2014 NAGC Gifted Coordinator Award and also the first NAGC Professional Development Network Award in 2013.

Dina co-authored the books, Differentiated Lessons for All Learners, The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How To Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement For All, Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classrooms, and Helping All Gifted Children Learn, along with other publications and teacher training courses. Dina assists school districts in developing, supporting, and evaluating gifted programs with an emphasis on integrating current educational initiatives. Having implemented and supervised the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model, she has become a recognized expert in that practice.


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A Research-Based Approach for Promoting Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation


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