About AAGT

Board of Directors

Julie Gunnigle – President

Lori McClellan – Vice President

Stephanie Newitt – Secretary

Adam Laningham – Financial Officer

Robert Walker – Past President

Donna Campbell

Denise Hicks


Louise Till

Kathie Bailey

Are you interested in serving on the Board? Request an application today!

Request Application!

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) is a nonprofit organization of educators, parents and community members working together to better meet the unique needs of our gifted and talented students in Arizona.

Our mission is to advocate for the diverse population of gifted and talented students in the state of Arizona.

Our vision is to support the continuous improvement of educational opportunities for gifted and talented students commensurate with their needs and abilities.

AAGT is a resource for the information and guidance necessary for parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, community stakeholders and legislators to develop and support gifted education in our state.  All of us share in the challenge to meet the needs of Arizona’s gifted children with limited funds for their education and development.

AAGT provides an annual conference for parents, educators and community members as well as an annual Parent Institute. In addition, AAGT offers scholarships for teachers of the gifted and scholarships for educational opportunities for gifted students.  AAGT provides continuous support to local affiliate chapters.  Information on these opportunities can be found on the website.


Advocacy Overview

Advocacy is the act of arguing in favor of something — an idea, cause, or policy.  All of us advocate regularly by simply expressing a point of view to our friends, families, and employers.  It could be making our views known on behalf of our children with their teachers, coaches, and group leaders out of school, or as teachers on behalf of students in our classes or on behalf of new or changing programs.  Legislative advocacy is a specialized form of advocacy; one directed at policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels.

All successful advocacy depends, in part, on relationships built over time that engender trust.  Sometimes built-in credibility speeds the process, but generally, it takes time to develop a trusting relationship between advocates and decision makers.  This is certainly true for legislative advocacy:  a legislator’s familiarity with you and your expertise on an issue creates the comfort level necessary to develop strong working relationships.  This same confidence is generally necessary whether you are working with your local school board, your state department of education, your state legislators, or your Congressional delegation.  NAGC has developed a toolkit to help supporters become stronger advocates.

As part of NAGC’s advocacy goal, we work with Members of Congress to increase support for gifted and talented learners.  To be effective with Congress, NAGC depends on gifted education supporters across the country who will contact their elected representatives on behalf of gifted students.  The legislative update section provides information about the issues that we’re working on and ways in which you may support our efforts.

If you are wondering about lobbying restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations, click here for more information.

Advocacy Toolkit

The NAGC Advocacy Toolkit supports individuals and groups working to improve gifted education programs and services.

This toolkit is designed for state and local advocates in gifted education. You can find tools on general advocacy, basic facts about gifted education in the U.S., working with the media, advocating with your elected representatives, starting your own local group, and other strategies to advance the needs of gifted and talented learners. Feel free to download and reproduce the materials provided. Our advocacy toolkit includes information in the following areas:

  1. Know Your Information – Check this out for fast facts about gifted and talented and why we need to advocate for students and programs!
  2. Know Your Audience – Look here for information about who works on what issues and how to contact them.
  3. Effective Advocacy – Read expert advice on how to effectively communicate with elected officials and the media.
  4. Support Groups – Advocating as part of a group gives you strength. Here are some suggestions on forming and finding support groups.
  5. Local Advocacy – Some of the most important decisions happen in your own community or school district, click here to learn more.
  6. State Advocacy – Advocating in your state? Check here for suggestions on how your state group can assess the legislative landscape.
  7. Federal Advocacy – Learn more about the legislative process so you can effectively communicate with Congress.
  8. Legislative Update – Read about current issues in Congress.
  9. NAGC Resources– NAGC has two advocacy resources on state-related policy and practices. Visit the NAGC bookstore for available content.

Arizona Law and Gifted Students

Arizona is one of the few states in the nation that has a law regarding the education of gifted students. ARS 15-779 offers the state definition of a gifted child, as well as appropriate services and school responsibilities for the educational and social well-being of gifted students.

The National Association for Gifted Children has a page dedicated to gifted education and is arranged by each state.

Click here to see what other states are doing.

Legislative Updates

We need your help to keep gifted education in the state budget! For the first time in nearly a decade, gifted education was funded for the 2018-19 budget! We have our incredible bill sponsors, Heather Carter, Kate Brophy-McGee, and Sean Bowie to thank. As you know, districts and charters are required by law to meet the needs of their gifted students. During the great recession, the funding for this mandate was eliminated.

Last year’s budget included a one-time appropriation of $1 million for gifted programs, teacher training, and identification. While this was certainly not full-funding (fully funding the mandate would cost $5 million), it was an important and necessary first step. AAGT is spending the current legislative session advocating for fully-funding the gifted mandate and demonstrating to the legislature the value in funding gifted education.

Can you help? As we approach the negotiations for the 2019-20 state budget we need to raise our voices once again for gifted education.

Would you please email your legislator today and ask them to join our bipartisan coalition to support gifted education?

You can find your legislator here.

It takes many voices to make change and we are counting on you!  

If you have questions or require further information, please contact:

Donna Campbell, AAGT Advocacy Chair


The Voice for Arizona’s Gifted and Talented

One of the benefits of AAGT membership is up-to-the-minute news about important legislation affecting gifted education. AAGT appreciates every contribution and any kind of support given that helps us advocate for the diverse population of gifted children in the state of Arizona.

Arizona Law: ARS 15-779

Arizona is one of the few states in the nation that has a law regarding the education of gifted students. The law, ARS 15-779, offers the state definition of a gifted child, as well as appropriate services and school responsibilities for the educational and social well being of gifted students. That information is listed below.

15-779. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

  1. “Gifted education” means appropriate academic course offerings and services that are required to provide an educational program that is an integral part of the regular school day and that is commensurate with the academic abilities and potential of a gifted pupil.
  2. “Gifted pupil” means a child who is of lawful school age, who due to superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, is not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who needs appropriate gifted education services, to achieve at levels commensurate with the child’s intellect and ability.

The National Association for Gifted Children has a page dedicated to gifted education and is arranged by each state. Click here to see what other states are doing.

TALENT ACT: S.512 & H.R. 2338

NAGC is pleased to say that the TALENT Act (“To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers Act”) has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress. In March, Senators Grassley (Iowa), Casey (PA) and Mikulski (MD) introduced S.512 and in June Rep. Polis (CO-2) and In Latham (Iowa-3) introduced H.R. 2338. The TALENT Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), to support high-ability and high achieving students. The bill focuses on 4 key areas:

  1. Change The Assessment And Increase Public Transparency to ensure that schools can pinpoint the level at which students have mastered state standards and by reporting the students who perform at the advanced levels, disaggregated by subpopulations, on state report cards
  2. Emphasize Classroom Practice And Educator Preparation through professional development for all teachers and other school personnel so that more educators are able to identify and meet the needs of gifted students, and by requiring states and districts to include gifted students in their plans for use of federal Title II funds
  3. Focus On Underserved Populations And Confronting The National Excellence Gap, by including gifted students and high-ability students not formally identified for gifted education services in state and district plans for Title I funds, by allowing federal rural school funds to be used for teacher training in gifted education pedagogy, and by reporting on the achievement gaps at the advanced level between student subpopulations
  4. Continue Research And Dissemination Of Best Practices in gifted education to support effective teaching and learning for gifted students.

For more information about the legislation, click here.


Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted


Northwest Valley Supporters of the Gifted

Leah Bowers

San Tan Gifted Community
Michelle Tischer


Tempe Parents for the Gifted


Interested in starting a local affiliate group?

Learn what’s involved in starting and running an affiliate chapter of AAGT by reading our Affiliate’s Chapter Handbook.

AAGT encourages parents, teachers, coordinators, and anyone concerned about the needs of gifted children to organize and become an AAGT Affiliate Chapter. The stronger our network, the better our ability to improve the quality of programs and services for gifted and talented children throughout the state. AAGT is part of the larger chain of state gifted associations that affiliate with NAGC, the National Association for Gifted Children. By creating an affiliate chapter of AAGT, you also become part of the national network of advocates for gifted and talented children.

AAGT is proud to assist local groups in forming, operating effectively, and contributing to this important network.

Image Collage of intelligent kids

How do groups benefit from AAGT affiliation?

  • Federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status pursuant to AAGT’s group exemption letter from the IRS (you’ll need to request your own tax ID number—instructions found in this Handbook).
  • Use of AAGT website to create a link your own group’s webpage.
  • Receipt of the Affiliate Chapter Handbook, with useful tips on groups and advocacy.
  • Access to the periodic “E-News” for all affiliate members who are also members of AAGT
  • Up to four discounted registrations for a state or regional AAGT conference. Contact the AAGT office manager for details.
  • Reserved places at the Affiliates Roundtable Discussion during the annual AAGT conference.
  • Discounts from AAGT vendors and publishers when available.
  • Participation in the state-wide network of the gifted community, which includes parents, educators and other professionals, businesses, and government.
    AAGT will assist in securing one speaker per year from a list of qualified individuals in the state.
  • Consultation with experts from the AAGT Board of Directors regarding operation of your group.
  • Notification of upcoming events and opportunities in gifted education.
  • Affiliate chapter individual members who also join AAGT at the regular individual membership rate earn a $5 rebate back to your affiliate chapter.
  • Discounted NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) individual memberships (first year only) for each affiliate member.
    Contact officemanager@arizonagifted.org.
  • A place at the table—your voice will impact local and state AAGT policy. Affiliate chapters may be represented at regularly scheduled board meetings.
  • Advocacy alerts from AAGT and NAGC.
  • Rights to reprint articles from AAGT E-News as well as most articles from the AAGT website in affiliate newsletters and publications without specific permission, but with proper citation. (For other articles, please check with each author for permission and credit requirements to avoid violating copyright laws.)


Welcome Parents

We exist to support you! The best way to maximize your experience with the Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented is to familiarize yourself with our menu navigation, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and become a member.

Each fall we hold a Parents Institute addressing the needs and questions of parents from across Arizona. During the Parent Institute, we set up a special children’s program, so your child/children could learn while you’re in sessions.  Click here to register for this event. We encourage parents to attend the Parent Institute and AAGT conferences.

Click here for a list of mental health professionals who identified themselves as those who work with gifted children and adults. This listing is not intended to be a recommendation or identification of competency. These mental health professionals have identified themselves as those who work with gifted children and adults.

Practical Tools for Parents

Source: NAGC

The digital age has sparked an explosion of information and resources around the globe — sometimes making it difficult to spot the proverbial forest for the trees. Whether you’re new to the world of high potential young people or have years of experience with gifted children, NAGC is here to help! We have collected the practical resources you need and the high-quality information you have come to trust in one easily accessible, organized location. So, take a walk though our top notch forest (and keep your eyes open for the trees, too).

The Big Picture
If you’re looking for answers to questions like “What is gifted?” and “Why do we need gifted education?” — this is the place to start.

Glossary Of Terms
Every area of knowledge has its own unusual set of terms and phrases. Our glossary is designed to help you translate and build a stronger understanding of the frequently used vocabulary in gifted education.

A History Of Gifted Education
Check out this timeline which traces the significant events and innovations in the field from the 19th century to today.

NAGC Pre-K–Grade 12 Gifted Program Standards
Written and endorsed by experts, these invaluable resources are designed to help you identify the characteristics of exemplary gifted programming and create educational environments that maximize a child’s potential.

NAGC’s Parenting For High Potential Magazine
Parenting for High Potential (PHP) is an award-winning quarterly magazine designed for parents who want to make a difference in their children’s lives. Packed with advice about developing a child’s gifts and talents to the fullest, each issue includes special features, expert advice columns, software and book reviews, ideas from parents of high potential youngsters, and a pullout children’s section.

NAGC Position Statements
Are you looking for an authoritative recommendation on topics concerning gifted children? NAGC position statements provide a reasoned, researched, and endorsed viewpoint from a nationally recognized organization.

Information For Your Pediatrician
NAGC and Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) have come together to bring teachers and parents alike this valuable public information brochure to use with psychologists, pediatricians, and family physicians. Page 1 of the brochurePage 2 of the brochure

ERIC Archives
We have collected brief, research-based summaries of information from the federal Education Resources Information Clearinghouse (ERIC) related to raising and teaching gifted children.

Connecting For High Potential
Looking for ways to connect schools and families? This is the place you have been searching for!

An Advocacy Toolkit
If you are trying to make changes in federal, state, or local policy, we have an invaluable set of tools for you!

Related Resource Links
Review other organizations and resources actively supporting gifted children.


Student Competition

Studentcompetitions.com is a website dedicated to organizing hundreds of websites across the world for student K-12. It has an easy to use search feature that lets users customize searches.

Rubik’s Cube Competition is held at Arizona State University’s west campus each spring. The teams will be competing for the fastest time to collectively solve 25 Rubik’s Cubes.

National Geography Bee is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge.

Future Problem Solving Program has both competitive and non-competitive events which give students the opportunity to think creatively to solve difficult problems in unique ways.

Let’s Get Real Competition helps students gain experience working on real business problems.

National History Day Competition is designed to provide an opportunity for students to conduct authentic historic research using a history topic of interest to create a long term project.

Future City Competition is a fun and exciting educational engineering program for 7th and 8th-grade students where they are challenged to present their vision of a city of the future.

Science Olympiad is a “rigorous academic interscholastic competitions…between various science disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers, and technology”.

Destination ImagiNation focuses on problem solving, teamwork and divergent thinking.

Math Counts is a national math enrichment, coaching, and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement

Noetic Learning Math Contest – The Noetic Learning Math Contest is a biannual math problem-solving contest for elementary students grades 2 through 6. The goal of the competition is to encourage young students’ interest in math, to develop their problem-solving skills, and to inspire them to excel in math.

Math Kangaroo Math Contest – An international Math competition for grades 1 through 12. Students from all over the world participate in a math contest on the same day… the third Thursday in March.


Gifted Standards for Teacher Preparation and Program/Services Standards

Classroom teachers are the primary agent for identifying and serving gifted and talented students in our nation’s schools. Ensuring that highly able learners are recognized and subsequently served through systematic programming is of the highest priority. It is critical that all teachers are able to recognize a high-ability student who may need more depth and complexity in instruction or be referred for further assessment and services. Teachers in specialized programs for gifted learners or those who coordinate gifted and talented programs and services should be familiar with the theory, research, curriculum strategies, and educational practices necessary to developing and sustaining classroom-based opportunities for advanced student learning. The standards provided here — for teacher preparation, Pre-K to 12 gifted education programs and services, and knowledge and skills for all teachers — will assist in improving teaching and deepening student learning.

The NAGC Pre-K — Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards assist school districts in examining the quality of their programming for gifted learners. Recognizing that the ongoing evaluation and re-tooling of a successful gifted program is an evolutionary process, the NAGC Programming Standards detail a framework that focuses on student outcomes, which mirrors current practice in most schools, so the revised standards should connect without difficulty to state and local initiatives. Districts across the country use the program standards both as mileposts for improving programs and services and as rubrics for evaluation. The standards have been endorsed by The Association for the Gifted of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-TAG). Click here for a wealth of related resources and materials.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approved new Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted Education in December 2013 for use in reviewing programs as part of the national accreditation process. The revised standards were developed jointly by NAGC, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG). The 2013 standards, which are the foundation for the knowledge and skills in which teacher candidates demonstrate competency, as determined by the field of gifted education, are used by college and university teacher preparation programs in gifted education and are a model for district-based professional development programming.

Many educators in gifted education continue their professional growth toward mastery of advanced professional standards to help prepare them for leadership roles in gifted education. The Advanced Standards lay out the knowledge and skills that teachers in gifted education should master as part of their preparation for advanced professional practice.

Few general teacher preparation programs provide instruction on the needs of gifted and talented students, and as a result, the majority of teachers in classrooms today have not been trained to meet the learning needs of these students. As teacher preparation programs acknowledge the importance of all teacher candidates being able to recognize and address the specialized learning requirements for gifted children, NAGC has developed the Knowledge and Skill Standards for their use, as well as for others involved in training all teachers already in the classroom. These knowledge and skill standards present the primary understanding of the issues, learning differences, and strategies that all teachers should possess. The Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted and Talented Education were drawn from the NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards.

Scholarships and Grants

AAGT offers many opportunities to give back to the community in the way of grants and scholarships. Below is a list of scholarships with specific directions and deadlines for students and teachers.

Student Scholarships

Student Enrichment Scholarship

Purpose: To supplement tuition for students in kindergarten through grade 12 to attend enrichment activities. The scholarship funds 90% of tuition up to $200 for 40 students per year. A current AAGT member must sponsor the student.

Summer Deadline: Submit application by May 15; receive a response by June 15.
Spring Deadline: Submit application by October 20; receive a response by November 20.

Academic Competition Scholarship

Purpose: To provide funds for student teams to travel to academic competitions(scholarships are not available for registration fees). Teams apply by submitting a paragraph, up to 250 words explaining why they participate and what they hope to gain. The team must have a member from AAGT sponsor their application. Teams of 2-5 members can receive up to $250.00. Teams of 5-10 can receive up to $500. Larger teams will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 4 students will be sponsored per year.

Parent Scholarships

AAGT Conference Scholarship

Purpose: To partially fund attendance for parents and/or students to AAGT’s Parent Institute and Kids’ Program in September.

Teacher Scholarships

Teacher Tuition Scholarship

Purpose: Purpose: To reimburse teachers for tuition toward gifted endorsement courses up to $500 for a lifetime amount. Up to four scholarships will be granted each year. Applicant must be a current member of AAGT. The applications are accepted any time of year. Responses will be received approximately 3 weeks following submission of an application.

Teacher Mini Grants

Purpose: To fund classroom projects and/or activities that align with the Arizona Association Gifted and Talent’s vision. The grant amount is funded up to $500 to current AAGT members who are teaching in a K-12 public, private, or charter school. Two grants per year will be funded.

Fall Grant: Submit application by October 31; receive a response by January 1.
Spring Grant: Submit application by March 1; receive a response by July 1.

Teacher Conference Grant

Purpose: To fund first time attendees to the AAGT Annual Conference. Up to 20 scholarships will be issued for a one-day attendance at the annual conference.  Applicants must be a current member of AAGT.

Donations Support Our Mission and Vision

Take action and make a difference by making a tax-deductible donation to AAGT.

Scrabble Thank You

How Does Your Charitable Giving Add Up?

It’s more than just 18 points. Donations keep our mission and vision going. Through your generosity, the gifted community in Arizona continues.

When you donate to the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented, the amount you donate is tax deductible.

Donations can be made to honor a teacher, administrator, or a gifted program.

If you own a company and would like to make a donation or offer a scholarship as part of your company’s philanthropic program, please contact us at 602-882-1848 or email us: officemanager@azgifted.com.

No donation is too small or too large. We greatly appreciate your donation.

If you prefer to donate by check, please mail your donation to:

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented.
P.O. Box 51772
Phoenix, AZ 85076-1772

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Did you know you can donate to the Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented simply by shopping normally, at no cost to you?

Register for Amazon’s Smile program and link your account to Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented.

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.