Conceptual Foundations

Super Sunday Session

Revolutionizing Gifted Education through Mastery-Based Instruction

Sunday, November 12
9:15 AM - 10:15 AM
Location: 211 AB

The movement to implement mastery-based instruction has been gaining momentum across the U.S., particularly in rural locales, but little attention has been given to how it could solve many of the problems inherent in our current practice of gifted education. Properly implemented, mastery-based instruction can provide an appropriate level of challenge to gifted students, while eliminating the need for other methods of identification. The focus in such a system shifts to ensuring all students have what they need to move through material at their own pace. Equity concerns may also be addressed, as all students are given equal access. These benefits will not be seen, however, without adequate planning, amenable policies, provisions for advanced learners, and support for students in underrepresented populations. In this panel, researchers and practitioners discuss the opportunities and concerns of pursuing mastery-based instruction as gifted education.

Jennifer RIEDL. Cross

Director of Research
Center for Gifted Education, College of William & Mary

Jennifer Riedl Cross, Ph.D. is the Director of Research at the Center for Gifted Education. With a doctorate in educational psychology, specializing in cognitive and social processes, Dr. Cross has served as the assistant or managing editor of several gifted education research journals, including Gifted Child Quarterly, Roeper Review, and Journal for the Education of the Gifted. She is also the co-editor, with Tracy L. Cross, of the Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts and Talents. She guest edited, with James Borland, a special issue of Roeper Review on the topic of gifted education and social inequality. Her research in the field emphasizes the social aspects of gifted education, from individual coping with the stigma of giftedness to attitudes towards giftedness and gifted education.


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Stephen T. Schroth

Professor of Early Childhood Education
Towson University

Stephen T. Schroth holds a PhD in Educational Psychology/Gifted Education from the University of Virginia, where he studied with Carolyn M. Callahan and Carol Ann Tomlinson. Past-Chair of the NAGC Arts Network, Dr. Schroth is a Professor of Early Childhood Education and serves as Graduate Program Director at Towson University. The author of over 375 books, monographs, chapters, articles, and other publications, he served as a classroom teacher, gifted coordinator, and arts prototype school coordinator for a decade in the Los Angeles Unified School District. His research interests include the development of artistically talented students, differentiated instruction, effective instructional and leadership practices, and working with English language learners.


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Elissa Brown

Distinguished Lecturer
Hunter College-CUNY

Dr. Elissa Brown is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director, of the Hunter College Center for Gifted Studies and Education at Hunter College. Previously, she was the Director of Teacher & Leader Education Programs and Gifted Education at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. From 2002-2007, she was the Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. She has served as a state director of gifted education, a federal grant manager, a district gifted program coordinator, principal of a specialized high school and a teacher of gifted students. As a professor, Elissa coordinates and teaches the Advanced Certificate program in Gifted & Talented and has served as an adjunct professor at several universities, including Rutgers and Duke University. She is a published author in the field of gifted education and presents widely. She was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the N.C. Association for Gifted & Talented, the 2007 Dean’s award at the College of William & Mary, and the 2004 Early Leader award from the National Association for Gifted Children. She has 3 grown children and lives in East Harlem.


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Meg E. Hines

Lecturer, Gifted Education
University of Georgia

Dr. Meg Easom Hines is a Lecturer and the Coordinator of Gifted and Creative Education (GCE) Online Programs in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. Dr. Hines has worked in the GCE Program teaching graduate courses and conducting practica/internship experiences in gifted education since 2005. Before her position at UGA, Meg was an instructor at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, teaching graduate courses for in-service and pre-service educators in the School of Education. Meg also worked as an elementary public school teacher for eight years in Atlanta, GA, Augusta, GA and Charleston, SC. Meg consults with teachers, administrators and policy makers in the local schools on creativity, differentiated instruction, curriculum design and innovative programming. Her research interests include the underachievement of creative students and how creative problem solving and critical thinking meet the needs of this special population. Meg is a recipient of the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) 2003 Doctoral Student Award. Currently, Meg serves as a member of NAGC’s Special Populations network and as a member of the editorial review panel for Teaching for High Potential, one of NAGC’s leading journals for practitioners.


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Brian C. Housand

Associate Professor
East Carolina University

Brian Housand is an associate professor and co-coordinator of the Academically and Intellectually Gifted Program at East Carolina University. Brian proudly identifies himself as a GEEK. In 2014, he received the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education at ECU. Dr. Housand earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut with an emphasis in both gifted education and instructional technology. He currently serves on the NAGC Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large. Brian frequently presents and works as an educational consultant on the integration of technology and enrichment into the curriculum. He is currently researching ways in which technology can enhance the learning environment and is striving to define creative-productive giftedness in a digital age. His website is or follow him on Twitter at brianhousand


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Sneha Shah Coltrane

Director, Division of Advanced Learning & Gifted Education
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Sneha Shah-Coltrane is currently the Director of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). She works with public school districts, teachers, policy-makers, families, colleges/universities, and other advocates of gifted education to ensure that the needs of gifted learners are most effectively met in the state of North Carolina. She has been in this position since 2009.

Before joining NCDPI, Sneha was an elementary school teacher, gifted education specialist, professional developer, author and researcher. As Co-Director of Project U-STARS~PLUS, Using Science, Talents and Abilities to Recognize Students, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Sneha worked with school teachers and district personnel across the country to better recognize and respond to outstanding potential in young students. In all of her work, she strives to meet and better understand the needs of advanced students, including those from culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse backgrounds, through various lenses including policy and teacher development.

Sneha also serves the gifted community in multiple roles, including having been Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Division of the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) and served on the Board of Directors of The Association of the Gifted, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of State Directors for Gifted Programs (CSDPG).


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Revolutionizing Gifted Education through Mastery-Based Instruction


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