2018 Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Brian Housand, is the coordinator of the Academically or Intellectually Gifted program at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. Housand earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Connecticut with an emphasis in both gifted education and instructional technology. He served two terms on the National Association for Gifted Children’s Board of Directors as a Member-At-Large. Along with his wife Dr. Angela Housand and Dr. Joe Renzulli, he co-authored Using the Schoolwide Enrichment Model with Technology. He is also the author of Fighting Fake News! Teaching Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in a Digital Age. Brian has worked in education as a classroom teacher, a teacher of the gifted, and a university professor for over twenty years. As a speaker and consultant, he has presented in 36 states, Canada, Australia, and South Korea. Brian is a lover of technology, Star Wars, video games, and fonts, and he proudly identifies himself as a geek. You can learn more on his website at brianhousand.com and by following him on Twitter @brianhousand. 


Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, an internationally renowned leader in gifted education, has published 31 books and over 500 refereed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly reports, and consulted on gifted education in all 50 states and around the world. As the Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary, she developed a graduate program and a research and development center in gifted education. She also initiated and directed the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. Prior to her work in higher education, Dr. VanTassel-Baska served as the state director of gifted programs for Illinois, as a regional director of a gifted service center in the Chicago area, and as coordinator of gifted programs for the Toledo, Ohio public school system.  Dr. VanTassel-Baska holds B.A., M.A., M.Ed., and Ed.D. degrees from the University of Toledo. Dr. VanTassel-Baska developed the curriculum for the Rutgers Gifted Education Certificate Program, and continues with the program as consultant and conference keynote speaker.

Concurrent Session Presenters


Dr. Elissa Brown, a distinguished lecturer and director of the Hunter College Gifted Center, was previously the director of teacher and leader education programs and gifted education at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. From 2002-2007, Dr. Brown 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, Dr. Brown coordinates and teaches the Advanced Certificate Program in Gifted & Talented at Hunter College 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.


Dr. Lenore Cortina, Faculty Director, coordinates the gifted education certificate faculty, oversees curriculum quality and currency, and teaches gifted education courses for Rutgers. She is also the owner/director of Ingenuity Academic Talent Center, LLC, a private supplemental gifted education center in Flemington, NJ. Dr. Cortina brings significant school district experience to the certificate program, having served as supervisor of instruction and teacher of the gifted and talented (K-8) for Delaware Township School, and as an elementary teacher for the Flemington-Raritan School District. She earned her doctorate in K-12 School Administration at Seton Hall University, focusing her dissertation research on gifted education, and a sixth year diploma in gifted education from the University of Connecticut. She also holds a master’s degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University, and a bachelor’s of science from the University of Bridgeport.

Dr. Alicia Cotabish

Dr. Alicia Cotabish is the Gifted Education Program Coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas. Previously, she served as one of two Principal Investigators of STEM Starters and the program coordinator of the Arkansas Evaluation Initiative in Gifted Education (AEI), both federally-funded Jacob K. Javits projects housed at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.   She is the Immediate  Past-President of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators and serves on the board of the Council for Exceptional Children – The Association of the Gifted (CEC-TAG).  She has authored and co-authored 4 books and more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, and products focused on K-20 STEM and gifted education. Her recent research has focused on STEM and gifted education, and examining the effects of virtual coaching on the quality of gifted and teacher candidates using Skype and Bluetooth Bug in-the-Ear (BIE) technology.


Debbie Dailey, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Teaching And Learning at the University of Central Arkansas where she is the Coordinator for the Gifted and Talented Program and director of a summer camp for talented youth, STEMulate Engineering Academy. Prior to moving to higher education, Debbie was a high school science teacher and gifted education teacher for twenty years. Debbie has authored and co-authored multiple journal articles, books, book chapters, and products focused on K-12 STEM and gifted education. She has delivered numerous professional development workshops and presentations at local, state, national, and international venues. Debbie currently serves as the secretary for the Council for Exceptional Children—The Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG) and is a selected member of the Professional Standards Committee for the National Association for Gifted Children.  


Dr. Jessica Manzone is currently a Post Doctoral Research Assistant on several Department of Education grants and an adjunct Professor in the MAT Program at the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education.  Jessica has been a primary teacher in Baltimore City, Maryland, as well as an instructional coach and professional development consultant.  She has provided professional development in the areas of gifted education, curriculum design, and instructional strategies for school districts and for the California Association for the Gifted.  Her presentations at the CAG and National Association for the Gifted conferences include Differentiation in the Primary Grades with an Emphasis on Play, Introducing a Scope and Sequence for the Teaching of the Prompts of Depth and Complexity, and the Use of Pedagogical Practices to Create Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Learners.  Jessica's interests are also in differentiated pedagogy, the learning-to-learn strategies.


Matthew Mingle is the superintendent of the Warren Township Public Schools and an adjunct professor in Montclair State University's gifted education graduate certificate program. Previously, he served as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Madison and supervisor of social studies in Hillsborough. In both positions, he was responsible for overseeing the districts' gifted and talented education programs. In addition, he currently serves as president of New Jersey ASCD. Matt earned his Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership and his graduate certificate in gifted education from Rutgers University. His doctoral dissertation was titled "The Role of the Teacher in Gifted Education Nomination Decisions." Matt also earned a M.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of Scranton and a B.A. in History Education from the University of Delaware.