2016 State Award Recipients

The TAGT state awards are presented in recognition of service, contribution and commitment to gifted education. Collectively, those being recognized are champions who are working to advance the world of gifted education. Individually, they are each making a difference in their communities and we are proud to recognize their efforts as the 2016 TAGT State Award Recipients. All recipients were honored at INSPIRE: TAGT Award Celebration during the TAGT 2016 Annual Conference in Dallas.

2016 TAGT State Administrator of the Gifted 

The TAGT Administrator of the Gifted is Cathy Shaver, M.Ed., Director of Advanced Academics in Grand Prairie ISD. She obtained her B.A with a double major in Elementary Education and English from University of Texas at Arlington and earned her M.Ed. in Gifted Education from Texas Women’s University. Over Shaver’s 33-year career, she has served as an elementary G/T classroom teacher, a gifted program specialist, a district-level G/T program testing specialist, an advanced academics facilitator, and director of college readiness and advanced academics. Under her leadership, Grand Prairie ISD has opened a School for the Highly Gifted that serves students in 1st-5th grades and will soon expand to include middle school. A long-standing member of TAGT and NAGC, Shaver has presented at both the state and national level on topics such as best practices for identification of traditionally under-represented populations for gifted programs.

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2016 TAGT Advocate for the Gifted
The TAGT Advocate for the Gifted is Heather Vaughn, Coordinator of Advanced Academics at the University of Texas High School. Gifted education and advocacy is a lifetime passion that began when she experienced support from her own teachers as a struggling gifted student. During her career Vaughn, has served in a variety of roles ranging from an Advanced Academics Coordinator to a district K-12 gifted and talented specialist to a gifted pull-out and cluster classroom teacher. Most of her career has been devoted to professional development and curriculum development for advanced students. Vaughn believes that relationships serve as the driving force behind tangible change in gifted education. She understands that networks of empowered voices, and the knowledge shared through those voices, is what ultimately sounds the alarm for district and state leaders to create laws and policies that cultivate and honor the needs of all gifted learners.

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2016 TAGT Educator of the Gifted 
The TAGT Educator of the Gifted is Daniel Brillhart, M.Ed., Talented and Gifted Teacher at Round Rock ISD. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Education and his master's degree from the University of North Texas in Denton in Educational Technology and Cognitive Systems. Brillhart has been a classroom teacher for 27 years, and has worked with gifted students for 20 of those years. He focuses on meeting the academic needs of his students, especially in math where he is active in district level planning of curriculum. In addition, Brillhart provides professional development for G/T teachers at the school, district, and state level. 

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2016 TAGT Parent Group of the Gifted 
Coppell Gifted Association (CGA) began 10 years ago as a grassroots group strongly supported by Coppel ISD. The goals of CGA are to promote awareness of and provide information about the education and social/emotional needs of G/T students; to support the the school district and its teachers; and to identify the unmet needs and champion solutions to address them. To date, CGA has provided nearly 600 educators, counselors, and administrators with scholarships for professional development in gifted education. In addition, CGA delivers a variety of STEM and humanities-focused student programs throughout the school year. CGA also hosts a variety of programs of interest to parents of gifted students, including school board candidate forums, district G/T curriculum updates, and other parent-oriented speaker programs.