Presenters | Speakers

 Presenters | Speakers


Dr. Gillian Eriksson (Program Coordinator), read more..

Gillian Eriksson, Ph.D. is the Coordinator of the Gifted Education Certificate and Ed.D. and M.Ed. Gifted Track Program, the Lead Instructor in Gifted Education and Multicultural Education, and also teaches Curriculum, Global and Comparative Education. She earned her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology, focusing on Curriculum, Research and Evaluation, and Special Education of Gifted at the University of Connecticut. She has an international reputation as a specialist in underserved gifted and talented students; has served as the South African delegate and the USA elected delegate to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children for 3 terms (2007-2013). She is the UCF PI for Project ELEVATE (Jacob K. Javits Federal Grant, 2015-2020) and previously served as the Project Coordinator of Project Step-Up, a Javits Grant at Lamar University, Texas (1993-1994). She was the Co-Pi on the Working on Gifted Issues (WOGI) Grant at UCF for the Florida Department of Education (2002-2003) and rewrote the Teaching Special Populations of Gifted Training Manual used by school districts in 2007. She coordinates the UCF Semester Teacher Education Abroad Program (High Ability Studies) and has conducted study and internship abroad programs to The Netherlands, England, and South Africa. She was the Director of the Schmerenbeck Educational Center for Gifted at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, for 11 years. She served on the UCF Morgridge International Reading Center Council; has received awards for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; UCF Women of Excellence for Global Achievement (2016); Teaching Excellence (TIP Teaching Incentive Program); Internationalization; Minority Mentorship and a Fulbright scholarship. She received the 2015 Board of Educational Affairs Golden Psi Award of Excellence (American Psychological Association) for developing the Gifted Curriculum at a charter school for gifted learners. Her textbook addresses underserved gifted (Wallace, B; Eriksson, G.I. (2006) Diversity in Gifted Education: International Perspectives on Global Issues. Oxon, UK: Taylor & Francis) and she is widely published and a consultant editor of Gifted Education International (Sage).


Dr. F. Richard “Rick” Olenchak, read more..

Dr. F. Richard “Rick” Olenchak currently serves as Department Head and Professor of Educational Psychology and Research Methodology at Purdue University. He was previously the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs at the University of Houston. His Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, emphasizing Giftedness and Talent Development, was completed at the University of Connecticut. He later completed a post-doctoral internship in psychology at a secure medical facility for adolescents. Using the psychological and educational research foundation underscoring the social and emotional aspects of gifted and talented individuals, his inquiry focuses on this population’s affective development and psychological uniqueness. Of particular interest are appropriate identification processes and accommodations for children and adolescents who have the potential for gifted behavior but who are not easily identified and seldom served educationally. His research concentrates on ways that parents and schools can unmask and develop potential in children and youth, and it embraces issues that serve to camouflage talents in young people, including concomitant attention, learning, and behavioral problems, as well as poverty and gender-based stereotypes. Viewing giftedness and talent less as a permanent set of traits and more as a collection of flexible behavioral characteristics, his research lends support to the notion that, while a certain degree of native potential is surely requisite, gifted-like behavior can be nurtured in many more individuals than has traditionally been believed. Having taught grades 2 through 11, including teaching at a specialized school for gifted students, Dr. Olenchak has served as a K-12 Director of Gifted Education in two school districts, as well as director of two federal grants in gifted education. In addition, he has been a principal at both elementary and middle school levels, a training specialist for a corporation interested in developing executive talent, a research associate at a state department of education, and has operated a private psychological consulting practice focusing on the developmental needs of gifted and talented children.


Dr. Carolyn Hopp, read more..

Dr. Carolyn Hopp has been a Lecturer and Research Associate in the School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership at the University of Central Florida. Her Graduate teaching includes: research methods, teacher leadership, and curriculum theory, evaluation, and policy. Her Undergraduate teaching: teacher preparation and methods. She has Coordinated the following programs: Holmes Scholars, Teacher Leadership Masters, and TEACH Grants She earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the UCF College of Education in 2001. Her work in the College began as a Research Associate and Instructor. In 2003 until 2008, she was the Director of the Office of Clinical Experiences where she coordinated internship placements for pre-service teachers. In 2008, she returned to full time teaching and assumed responsibilities for coordinating the Teacher Leadership program as well as facilitating awarding of TEACH Grants to undergraduates and graduates in education. She has received several teaching awards and In February 2001, she received the Order of Pegasus as part of the inaugural group that was awarded this highest honor the university gives.


Dr. Kimberley Chandler, read more..

Dr. Kimberley Chandler is the Director of Curriculum and Gifted Education for Essex County Public Schools and an Instructor of Education at the University of Virginia, USA. Previously, she served as the Curriculum Director at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, USA. She completed her master’s degree in gifted education and her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership, with an emphasis in gifted education administration, at the College of William and Mary. Dr. Chandler’s professional background includes teaching gifted students in a variety of settings, serving as an administrator of a school district gifted program, and providing professional development training for teachers and administrators nationally and internationally. Her research interests include curriculum implementation and policy issues in gifted education and the design and evaluation of professional development programs for teachers of the gifted. Dr. Chandler has served as the editor and contributing author of numerous curriculum materials. She co-authored (with Tamra Stambaugh) the book Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students and is the co-editor (with Cheryll Adams) of the book Effective Program Models for Gifted Students From Underserved Populations. She served as the Network Representative to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Board of Directors for six years and the editor of the CEC-TAG newsletter The Update for seven years. Her research interests include curriculum policy and implementation issues in gifted programs, the design and evaluation of professional development programs for teachers and administrators, and the role of principals and superintendents in gifted education.


Dr. Rachel McAnallen, read more..

Dr. Rachel McAnallen is the Director of Zoid and Company, Connecticut, USA. Known simply as "Ms. Math" to children across the country, Dr. Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. She has a PH.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Teaching the Gifted from the University of Connecticut. A professional educator for over half a century, Rachel travels the world teaching her subject at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Rachel has served as a department chair, a school board member, and a high school administrator - she claims the latter position is responsible for the majority of her gray hair. Rachel has a passion for teaching, golf, and mathematical modular origami, though not always in that order. As a life-long learner, Rachel completed her PhD at the University of Connecticut at age 75. Rachel approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style.


Dr. Alecia Blackwood, read more..

Dr. Alecia Blackwood is a passionate master teacher. She has been teaching in urban schools for 18 years. Dr. Blackwood is an instructional coach; she provides professional development for both in-service and pre-service teachers. She has been training pre-service teachers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) for nine years, and her success rate is very high, with all of her interns completing their pre-service training successfully and they consistently perform as highly effective teachers in urban schools. Her research interests are Ubuntu pedagogy, professional development, curriculum design, culturally responsive teaching and working with gifted children in high needs populations. Dr. Blackwood has also shared her expertise with undergraduates and graduates at UCF and the University of Namibia (UNAM), through guest lectures. Additionally, she has worked with schools by helping to infuse culturally relevant materials into their curricula and conducted several parent empowerment workshops in the United States and the Caribbean. Currently, Dr. Blackwood completed her doctorate in the Curriculum and Instruction program at the University of Central Florida. The title of her dissertation is Transformative Learning: Improving Teachers' Cultural Competencies Through Knowledge and Practice Of Ubuntu Pedagogy.


Prof. Kobus Maree, read more..

Kobus Maree is an Educational Psychologist and a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Pretoria. He holds doctoral degrees in Education (Career counseling), Mathematics Education, and Psychology. A regular keynote speaker at national and international conferences, he has received multiple awards for his work and he has a B1 rating from the National Research Foundation. Prof. Maree has authored or co-authored 90 peer-reviewed articles and 61 books/ book chapters on career counselling and related topics since 2009. In the same period, he supervised 30 doctoral theses and Masters dissertations and read keynote papers at 20+ international and at 20+ national conferences.


Dr. Agreement Lathi Jotia, read more..

Dr. Agreement Lathi Jotia is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Botswana. He obtained his doctorate in Educational Studies from the University of Ohio, and lectured at the University of Central Florida in the USA. His research focuses on democracy in education and he has published widely in the area of Democracy and Education. (Educating for Deep Democratic Participation in the Post-Colonial Botswana (2008) VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller E.K. His research interests include multiculturalism, deep democratic theory, transformative culturally responsive pedagogy, education and globalization, and politics of developing areas. He is a coordinator for a Fulbright-Hays group Project Abroad in Botswana in collaboration with UCF and multiple US universities.