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AAGT’s 49th Annual Conference Focuses on Talent Development of Arizona Students

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Education across the board is evolving and changing quickly, and it is imperative that we stay on top of the latest trends as well as providing adequate resources to our diverse students throughout Arizona. As Arizona becomes the leader for school flexibility with its many options, it is important for all public, charter, private and homeschool programs to make sure they remain relevant and offer curriculum, support and resources that parents are looking for their children.

The gifted and talented community may be a small percentage of students overall, but their education needs are no less important. Are teachers properly trained in identification and meeting the unique learning needs of these students? Is the curriculum inclusive of our Twice Exceptional and Profoundly gifted students?

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) mission is to advocate for the diverse population of gifted and talented students in the state of Arizona by supporting the continuous improvement of educational opportunities for gifted and talented students commensurate with their needs and abilities. We offer many programs, webinars, seminars and resources in order achieve our mission.

“I am honored to assume the role of President during this important time within our Arizona Association of Gifted and Talented,” says Denise Michelle Hicks, AAGT President. “As a student growing up and participating in gifted education programming, I know first-hand how important it is for all of us to continue to pivot in the areas of depth in enrichment and accelerated curriculum, diversity among our unique learners and talent, and development of the whole child. During our annual conference, all of our families of gifted students, advocates and educators have access to so many combinations of treasured opportunities in these areas.  I am so grateful for this year’s event and shared avenues.”

AAGT Gets Ready to Tap Into Talent

The best way for people [children included] to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel, and behave — their talents — then build on those talents to create strengths, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.

AAGT and its community is looking to the future of Arizona – what industries/companies are moving here? What are these companies looking for in talent and leadership at their organizations? How do keep these job and career opportunities local to Arizona talent? Talent development of our students is more important than ever as Arizona continues to grow and attract tech companies and other businesses from around the world.

Our keynote speakers and 30+ breakout speakers intend to talk exactly on this topic, plus also the social/emotional needs of our Gifted and Talented students.

Angela Housand, PhD

Dr. Housand is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Program Support, and Student Success at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Watson College of Education. Dr. Housand is the recipient of the 2019 North Carolina Association for Gifted and Talented (NCAGT) Outstanding Service Award, 2016 UNCW Discere Aude Award, and numerous other recognitions for outstanding teaching and service. Her considerable work in gifted education includes having served as the UNCW Gifted and Talented Graduate Program Coordinator, an elected member for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Board of Directors, Chair of the NAGC Whole Gifted Child Task Force, and the NAGC Policy and Advocacy Committee to name a few. In addition to her leadership in the field, her publication and presentation vita is extensive.

Her keynote will be “Practice? Practice. Practice!” Some talent is natural and can be nurtured, and some talent is waiting to be found. What do both talents need to improve? You guessed it….practice!

Brian Housand, PhD

Dr. Brian Housand, is the coordinator of the Academically or Intellectually Gifted program at University of North Carolina Wilmington and creator of 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 40 states, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Kuwait, and Chilé. Brian is a lover of technology, Star Wars, all things Disney, video games, and fonts. He proudly identifies himself as a geek. You can learn more on his website at and by following him on Twitter @brianhousand.

His keynote will be “Taylor Swift, a Supermarket, & the Saguaro Cactus” and will provide attendees 13 lessons about developing talent.

Second Annual Parent Night at Conference

With a focus on Supporting the Social & Emotional Needs of Your Child will be held on  Wednesday, January 11, 2023. We invite all parents (and educators) who are looking for support and answers for their gifted and talented child.

“The Impact of Trauma in Gifted Children and Strategies to Support Them”
Research is continuing to show us the effects trauma has on the brain, and its impact on our children. It is especially important to understand this for our gifted population as many gifted children are already struggling with their asynchronous development, fitting into society, and working through the school system. Gifted children are just as likely to suffer from other traumas as any other child; however, their unique sensitivities and pressures they are already under put them at a unique risk. This presentation will help participants better understand the impact of trauma as well as provide specific strategies to support our gifted children.

Our presenter is President Elect of SENG, Adam Laningham, who is the author of Gifted Children & How Trauma Impacts Them, and Thinkology 2.0, has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. Adam was recognized as the 2014 Arizona Gifted Teacher of the Year, he has taught at several schools in multiple grade levels, created and facilitated numerous gifted programs, and also served as a district gifted services manager coordinating programs for over 6000 gifted students.

Adam has served on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented for many years and is currently the President Elect of SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted). As founder and owner of Bright Child AZ, Adam is an international speaker, consultant, and gifted advocate.

Registration is Now Open

To receive early bird rates, you must register attendees and pay in full or submit a purchase order by December 1, 2022.

AAGT Members

Full access conference registration

On or before December 1: $350

On or On or after December 1: $400


Full access conference registration

On or before December 1: $400

On or On or after December 2: $450

Register at our website  

About AAGT

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. AAGT is the only organization in Arizona advocating for  educational opportunities commensurate with our gifted students’ abilities and potential.  AAGT is an affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).

To learn more about Gifted Education and opportunities for students, parents and teachers please visit

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