2020 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 2020 TAGT State Award Recipients. All recipients will be honored at a virtual event on December 3 at INSPIRE: TAGT Awards Celebration during giftED20, the TAGT Annual Conference.
2020 TAGT State Administrator of the Gifted
The TAGT Administrator of the Gifted is Tia Locke-Simmons, M.Ed., Director for Gifted and Talented Education, Houston ISD. Tia began her career in education in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as a special educator. Since her educator journey began, she has served as an assistant principal, associate principal of curriculum and instruction, high school principal, and executive principal. She currently serves as a director of gifted and talented education. Tia’s favorite quote is from James Baldwin, “For these are all our children. We will profit by, or pay for, whatever they become.”
2020 TAGT Advocate for the Gifted
The TAGT Advocate for the Gifted is Meredith Austin, Coordinator of Gifted Learning for Humble ISD. Meredith is a bold educational leader determined to ensure that every child has the chance to learn something new every day. Her professional experience in gifted education was rooted as a founding teacher at the Gifted & Talented Academy in Pearland ISD and developed further while serving as a district specialist. Presently, she is the Coordinator of Gifted & Talented Education in Humble ISD and serves on the Texas Education Agency Commissioner's Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted/ Talented Students and as the Vice-Chair for the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) Membership Involvement Committee. Meredith received her doctorate in education from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she researched leaders' attitudes towards gifted education.
2020 TAGT Educator of the Gifted
The TAGT Educator of the Gifted is Leny Philipose, D
GT Campus Coordinator, Wylie ISD. Leny is a Humanities teacher who thrives on her kids laughing with her. Unafraid to delve into completely ridiculous tactics, she aims to find a common ground with her students through humor. Her devotion to her students, whom she lovingly refers to as her “Chickens”, drives her to constantly change her practices and curriculum to best suit their needs. The vast majority of her teaching career has been solely dedicated to gifted and talented learners. An active member of TAGT, she has served on the Communications and Advocacy Committees in addition to leading several professional development sessions through TAGT’s annual conferences. Leny eagerly works to develop innovative ways to engage gifted students.
2020 TAGT Parent Group of the Gifted
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Association for the Gifted and Talented is an independent, voluntary organization of parents, educators, and gifted supporters. The organization was established in 1978 and continues today, providing valuable resources & programming for GT families and advocating for students. AGT supports equity and excellence in gifted education and ensures that all gifted and talented students in CFBISD receive appropriate educational opportunities.