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Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented 2023 Educator Awards Announced

Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented (AAGT)  is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Gifted and Talented Annual Awards. These awards recognize outstanding educators and friends of the Gifted who have demonstrated a commitment to nurturing the talents and abilities of gifted and talented students.

“We are honored to recognize the hard work and dedication of these exceptional educators and leaders,” said Heather Pace, Executive Director of AAGT. “Their commitment to meeting the unique needs of gifted and talented students is truly inspiring, and we are proud to acknowledge their contributions to education.”

The following professionals have been selected as recipients of this year’s awards:

AAGT Gifted Education Teacher of the Year

AAGT presents annually the Gifted Education Teacher of the Year Award to an individual currently teaching K-12 gifted students in a classroom or in a context such as a pullout class for gifted students. This individual demonstrates best practices in gifted education, displays exemplary knowledge of gifted students and demonstrates the ability to accommodate academic learning differences, including the social and emotional issues unique to gifted students, and implements equitable and culturally responsive practices in gifted education.

Congratulations to Beth Perry, Gifted Teacher with Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“I cannot think of a more deserving gifted teacher than Beth Perry to win a Gifted Teacher of the Year Award. I know her students and their families would agree she embodies the characteristics of an exceptional gifted educator,” said Rowe Van Meter, Gifted Services Coordinator at Washington Elementary School District. “Winning this award truly means so much to Beth and reflects all the time, energy, and love she pours into gifted education.”

AAGT Gifted Education Leadership Award

AAGT annually presents a Gifted  Education Leadership Award to an individual who brings about change that results in improved services within a district or change that has a state-wide impact. These individuals may be a district gifted coordinator, principal, superintendent, school board member, counselor, college/university faculty member or others in a leadership position. The contributions of this individual may include: development or growth of district-wide programming that meets the needs of gifted students; identification practices that minimize bias, implement programming that meets the academic and affective needs of diverse gifted learners; provides professional development that supports teachers and leaders on the needs of advanced learners, and advocates within the district for gifted education and gifted children.

Congratulations to Dr. Jason McIntosh, Director of Advanced Learning Experiences for Wilson Elementary School District in Phoenix, AZ.

“The student-centered environment Dr. Macintosh has fostered creativity, expression, and a passion for learning,” said Elyse Orozco in her letter of recommendation for this award. “I believe Dr. Macintosh’s dedication and contribution to the gifted program at Desert Star has made a difference for many students, including my son.”

Dr. James T. Webb Friend of the Gifted Award

AAGT annually presents the Dr. James T. Webb Friend of the Gifted Award to a recipient who consistently supports the mission and vision of AAGT through advocating for the support of gifted education opportunities and appropriate gifted education funding throughout the state of Arizona for the benefit of Arizona’s diverse population of gifted and talented students. This recipient may be a parent, a group, a state or federally elected official, or a member of the business community or med

Congratulations to Dr. Paul Beljan, Neuropschologist & Founder of Beljan Psychological Services in Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona. 

“Beyond his numerous accolades, Dr. Beljan is a humble servant of the gifted community. He often freely gives of his time, skills, and knowledge to help others in need,” said Justin Gardner, PsyD. “Dr. Beljan’s integrity, equitable practices, innovation, and servant leadership not only make him a skilled clinician and a stalwart advocate for the gifted community in Arizona and abroad, but they also make him the most knowledgeable, loyal, and compassionate colleague I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Dr. Sanford J. Cohn Lifetime Achievement Award

AAGT occasionally presents the Dr. Sanford J. Cohn Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual who over an extended period of time has devoted time, expertise and resources to the advancement of gifted education in the state of Arizona and nationally so that gifted children of all races, cultures and groups have had the opportunity to achieve their full potential. 

Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Lansdowne, founding Executive Director of the Herberger Young Scholars Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“Dr. Lansdowne has proven herself to be exactly the kind of professional Sandy Cohn would want to receive this award in his name,” said Tracy L. Cross, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education and Jennifer Riedl Cross, Ph.D., Director of Research, Center for Gifted Education. “Her messages build positive public sentiment, enormously important to the work of all of us in the [Gifted & Talented] field.”

The Gifted and Talented Educator Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, January 12 at the Mesa Convention Center, during the AAGT 49th Annual Conference: Tap Into Talent.

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