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.

Applications for the 2021-2022 ELP class are now open. Learn more and apply here.

Congratulations to the 2020 - 2021 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program! 

Cayleigh Anthony
GT Coordinator/Instructional Coach, Paradise ISD
Cayleigh Anthony has been in education for 19 years, with 12 years in the Prekindergarten classroom. She is married with 3 children. She enjoys watching sports, reading when time allows, and being outdoors. 
Mentor: Paula Fippinger, Bridgeport ISD

April Bennett
Curriculum Coordinator ELAR, SS, GT PK-12, Community Independent School District
This is April Bennett’s ninth year in education. She serves her district in a role that wears many hats. Building teacher capacity and ensuring quality instruction for students are the heart of my position. As a life-long learner, I strive to stay current on educational issues and best practices. 
Mentor: Jennifer Leal, Rockwall ISD

Loretta Haley, M.Ed.
Lead GT Specialist, White Settlement Independent School District
Loretta Haley taught grades K-6 for 15 years. She is a proud wife and mother of 4 children (each identified G/T). She loves to learn and am an advocate for the children she serves and a good Sonic coke. 
Mentor: Lori Mabry, Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD​

Michael Harris, M.A.
Advanced Academics Specialist, Pearland ISD
Michael Harris has worked in advanced academics throughout his career as an educator, serving students and other educators in advanced coursework as well as challenging and meaningful extracurricular endeavors. He taught in Clear Creek ISD for 10 years and now serves Pearland ISD as an Advanced Academics Specialist. 
Mentor: Tracy Scholz, Spring Branch ISD


Chad Haskins, M.S.
Coordinator - Advanced Academics, Lubbock Independent School District
Chad Haskins is a seasoned educator with 22 years of experience. During this time, he has served as a Science Teacher, Instructional Specialist, and Director of Digital Curriculum. Helping others reach their full potential is his passion, and as such, he’s excited to serve as Coordinator for Advanced Academics in Lubbock ISD.
Mentor: Judy Bridges, Midland ISD

Kamilah Holmes, M.Ed.
GT Academy Coordinator, Fort Bend Independent School District
Kamilah Holmes is Coordinator of the GT Middle School Academy in Fort Bend ISD. She has previously served as a teacher of gifted students, a campus assistant principal and District GT Coordinator. Kamilah is passionate about identifying then inspiring gifted learners from all backgrounds to reach the highest heights. 
Mentor: Pamela Johnson, Pasadena ISD

Tia Locke Simmons, M.Ed.
Director – Gifted and Talented, Houston ISD
Tia N. Locke-Simmons began her education career in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. In her 21 years of educational experience, Tia served has served as an assistant principal, associate principal, director of assessment and accountability, high school principal, executive principal, and director of gifted and talented.
Mentor: Mitch Morken, Dallas ISD

Kelsey Lorenz, M.Ed.
District Gifted and Talented Curriculum Specialist, Amarillo Independent School District
Kelsey Lorenz has the privilege of being the District Gifted and Talented Curriculum Specialist in Amarillo ISD. As a gifted student herself, she enjoys every moment or working with teachers, student, parents, administration, and community members to provide the best education for the students in her district.
Mentor: Julie Martin-Leslie, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD​

Kevin Moore, M.Ed.
Gifted Services Specialist, Plano ISD
After 17 years in the classroom, Kevin Moore now serves as Gifted Services Specialist in PISD. He holds a B.A. from Southwestern University and M.Ed. from UNT. He was named Plano ISD Teacher of the Year in 2017 and is a Ph.D. student at UNT in the College of Education.
Mentor: Theresa Biggs, Prosper ISD

Sharon Nolan, M.Ed.
GT Lead Coordinator for Elementary, New Caney Independent School District
Sharon Nolan is finishing her first year as GT Lead Coordinator for Elementary. She has a master's degree in teacher leadership with a specialization in gifted and talented education. She is the mother of three G/T students and a member of the TAGT Parent Resource Committee. 
Mentor: Chris Reichelt, Conroe ISD

Lee Ann O'Loughlin, M.Ed.
Advanced Academic Coordinator, Castleberry Independent School District
Lee Ann O’Loughlin is a veteran education leader with more than 20 years of instructional leadership, teacher development, and program implementation experience. Recognized for demonstrating a natural aptitude for partnering with diverse, cross-functional teams to ensure program objectives are met, she is currently the Advanced Academic Coordinator in Castleberry ISD.
Mentor: Audra Rowell, Northwest ISD​

Susan Pelezo, Ph.D.
Executive Director Advanced Academics, Aldine Independent School District
Sharon Pelezo has more than 20 years in education. She has served as a classroom teacher, campus administrator, district director, and is now Executive Director Advanced Academics for Aldine ISD.
Mentor: Patty Hammer, Alvin ISD

Mallory Pouliasis, M.Ed.
Gifted & Talented Coordinator, Jacksonville ISD
Mallory Pouliasis is currently in her eighth year of education and first year as G/T Coordinator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership. She teaches pullout classes and works with administrators to support students in the general education classroom.
Mentor: Kelsey Karcher, Allen ISD

Ana Thomas
Bilingual/ESL & GT Coordinator, Huntsville ISD
Ana Thomas was a bilingual classroom teacher for 11 years. This is her second year as the Bilingual/ESL and GT coordinator for Huntsville ISD. She has the pleasure and honor to work for and serve the community in the same district she attended as a student.
Mentor: Tish Cawley, Hays CISD

Alana Wood
Director of Social Studies and Advanced Academics, Magnolia ISD
Alana Wood has taught Kindergarten through 12th grade. After spending a year in Hungary on a mission placement and experiencing how the world learns, she realized the gifted population truly is our future. She has been involved with Advanced Academics for 20 years both as a teacher and a campus administrator.  
Mentor: Kathleen Plott, Klein ISD