Emerging Leaders Program

The TAGT Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is designed to provide new (3 years or less) district G/T coordinators with the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with school staff, parents, students, and the community to positively impact the development of appropriate educational services for G/T students in the district. Learn more.

Applications are NOW open for the 2020-2021 class of Emerging Leaders! Apply here.

Want to learn more about the Emerging Leaders Program? Join us Tuesday, March 31, at 4 p.m. for a virtual ELP interest meeting on Zoom:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Congratulations to the 2019 - 2020 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program! 

District Co-Coordinator, Burkburnett ISD
Cathy Ashcraft is currently in her 14th year in education and is currently the G/T Co-Coordinator for Burkburnett ISD. She holds a masters degree in curriculum and instruction and has taught GT students for the past 7 years. This is her first year as District Co-Coordinator of G/T services.
Mentor: Paula Fippinger, M.Ed., Advanced Academics Coordinator, Bridgeport ISD

Coordinator of Advanced, International, and Innovative Programs, Pearland ISD
Heather Block is a dedicated educator with 20 years experience as a teacher and campus administrator. Block currently serves as Coordinator of Advanced, International, and Innovative Programs designing professional learning opportunities, assisting with G/T identification, and coaching teachers. She is passionate about empowering teachers and students to reach their potential.
Mentor: Christina Reichelt, GT Specialist, Conroe ISD

Advanced Academics/Gifted and Talented Instructional Specialist​, East Central ISD
Dawn Drisdale is the Advanced Academics/Gifted & Talented Instructional Specialist for East Central ISD. She works with all teachers, administration, and district staff to build and improve programming for all students, especially our students who receive gifted/talented services and participate in the various honor courses at the secondary level.
Mentor: Raine Maggio, M.S., Coordinator of Gifted Services, Round Rock ISD

Director of Advanced Academics​, Waco ISD
Ashley Duncan, M.Ed. is the Director of Advanced Academics in Waco ISD, an urban school district in the heart of Texas. Ashley has dedicated her time in Waco to creating and implementing innovative programs in an effort to close the gap in identification of minority students.
Mentor: Harleigh Jones, Ph.D., Associate Principal, Early College High School, Irving ISD

G/T Coordinator and K-12 Curriculum Design Specialist, New Braunfels ISD
Blake Haygood is the G/T Coordinator and K-12 Curriculum Design Specialist at New Braunfels ISD. G/T has been an integral part of Blake's work and education. His goal is to change minds about what it means to be G/T and to motivate teachers to provide intentional, research-backed instruction for all of their students.
Mentor: Tish Cawley, M.Ed., Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Services, Hays CISD

Coordinator of Curriculum and Advanced Academics, Barbers Hill ISD
Natasha Holden is the Coordinator of Curriculum and Advanced Academics for Barbers Hill ISD. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three children. When she is not working, she enjoys reading leadership books and having fun with her family.
Mentor: Margo Gigee, Director of Advanced Academics, Pearland ISD

District GT/Advanced Academics Specialist for Curriculum and Instruction​, Southwest ISD
Midge Mohler is a passionate and seasoned educator in the field of gifted education. After 19 years working with G/T students in the classroom, she began a leadership role as a District GT/Advanced Academic Specialist in Southwest ISD. She is a wife and mother to two gifted teenage daughters.
Mentor: Priscilla Lurz, M.Ed., Consultant/Retired Adminstrator, Boerne

District Co-Coordinator, Burkburnett ISD
Elizabeth Nolan graduated from UNT with a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and the University of Kansas with a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She has been a Texas public educator for 21 years and considers it a great privilege to serve the gifted learners in Burkburnett ISD.
Mentor: Paula Fippinger, M.Ed., Advanced Academics Coordinator, Bridgeport ISD

GT Coordinator, Diboll ISD
Amber Price is the dedicated GT Coordinator for Diboll ISD. She completed her student teaching in Diboll, and fell in love with the district. She has been in education for 14 years, and this is her third year in the district coordinator position.
Mentor: Janet Helmcamp, Director of Assessment, Advanced Academics/GT, Cleburne ISD

Special Populations Coordinator, El Campo ISD
Laura Pustejovsky just completed her 30th year in education. G/T is one of five programs she coordinates at the district level. Before this position, Laura served as an elementary assistant principal for 13 years and spent 15 years in the classroom teaching at the primary level.
Mentor: Amy Rogers, District Advanced Academics Coordinator, Willis ISD

Director of Special Programs​, Tomball ISD
Crystal Romero-Mueller has served Texas public education for 24 years. She is serving Tomball ISD as the Director of Advanced Academics and Social Studies beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. Her love and passion for working with special populations have always included gifted education, and she is eager to begin work with these learners.
Mentor: Pam Johnson, Director, Spring Branch ISD

Advanced Academics Coordinator, International Leadership of Texas​
Jamie Rose is currently completing her second full year as District Advanced Academics Coordinator for the International Leadership of Texas charter schools. She has an enormous passion for gifted and advanced education, and is honored to be an advocate for these unique, special, and talented students.
Mentor: Claudette van Ravenstein, GT District Coordinator, Harmony Public Schools

Advanced Academics Coordinator, Georgetown ISD
Hope Scallan is the Advanced Academics Coordinator in Georgetown ISD. Her prior work includes serving as Enrichment Coordinator, Gifted Specialist, teacher, and editor for an educational publisher. Hope holds a bachelor's degree in public relations from The University of Texas and a master's degree in elementary education from Texas State University.
Mentor: Shirley Bachus, Coordinator Advanced Academics/Gifted and Talented, Pflugerville ISD

Elementary GT Facilitator, Tyler ISD
Nicole Shuler is Elementary G/T Facilitator for Tyler ISD. She is a teacher, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a reader, a learner, a believer in children and what they can become.
Mentor: Gina Peddy, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction, Carroll ISD