2016 Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Joyce van tassel-baska

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

Elizabeth Beasley

Elizabeth H. Beasley, director of Summer and Special Projects for Rutgers University–New Brunswick, oversees one of the largest university summer academic programs in the country as well as a growing Winter Session. Her commitment to gifted education finds expression in the special programs she develops and directs for gifted precollege students, including Rutgers Summer Scholars, the Top Universities Preparatory (TUP) bridge program for international students, and the new Pre-Engineering Summer Academy. She also administers professional development programs for K-12 educators, including the Summer AP Institute, the Rutgers Gifted Education Conference, and the Rutgers Gifted Education Certificate Program, for which she won a special Trailblazers Award from the NJAGC and an UPCEA Outstanding Program Award. Ms. Beasley earned her B.A. in psychology at Douglass College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. candidacy in social psychology at Northwestern University.

Elissa Brown

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.

Lenore Cortina

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.

Debbie Dailey

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.  

Michelle Falanga 

Michelle Falanga is currently the Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the Millstone Township School District.  During her tenure in Millstone, Michelle has been a classroom teacher for 2nd and 3rd grades in addition to teaching students and working with colleagues through the variety of gifted services and programming offered.  Michelle holds her B.S. from The College of New Jersey with certifications for both Early Childhood and Elementary Education; a Masters degree in Educational Psychology with a focus in Gifted Education; and a graduate certificate in Gifted Education from Rutgers University.  She has served on the Rutgers University Gifted Education Advisory Board, on the board for the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children, as both a Trustee and as a Past President, and as a Gifted Youth Coordinator for Central NJ Mensa.  

Jennifer Hoffman

Dr. Jennifer Hoffman is a coordinator/instructor of gifted programming as well as science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) studies at the Waldwick Public Schools in New Jersey.  Previously, she has worked as a speaker for the Gifted Child Society Parent Seminar Series, clinical faculty member at Montclair State University, instructor at the Gifted Child Society, and science teacher at the Dwight Englewood Summer Connections Program and the Woodcliff Lake Public Schools.  She has served as a presenter, book reviewer, and research and evaluation network member for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).  After acquiring her B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and M.S. from Long Island University, she graduated from the Rutgers University Gifted Education Graduate Certificate Program and completed her Ph.D. in literacy for diverse and at-risk learners at St. John’s University, focusing on gifted/advanced readers.  Dr. Hoffman has written articles that have been published in various national journals and a book.  She frequently presents at educational conferences.

Angela Housand

Dr. Angela Housand is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and consultant to schools and districts across the country. As a former teacher, Dr. Housand brings an applied focus to her programs for in-service and pre-service teachers. Over the years, her work has been presented internationally and published in the Journal of Advanced Academics, Gifted Child Quarterly, High Ability Studies, and other professional periodicals. Dr. Housand’s efforts directly support teachers as they challenge gifted students to achieve advanced levels of performance and become productive members of a global society.

Jessica Manzone

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

Dr. Matthew Mingle is the superintendent of the Warren Township Public Schools. 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 an M.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of Scranton and a B.A. in History Education from the University of Delaware.