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.

Congratulations to the 2021 - 2022 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program! 

Amanda Daniels, Ed.D.
Elementary GT Coordinator/ Teacher, Melissa ISD 
Amanda Daniels has been teaching for 13 years. She has taught all grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. This year, she took on the opportunity to be the facilitator and coordinator for the G/T students of Melissa ISD.
Mentor: Kelsey  Karcher, Allen ISD

Amy Donnelly 
District G/T and Testing Coordinator, School of Science and Technology
Amy Donnelly has been in education for 12 years. This is her 10th year with SST, and her first year as the District G/T and Testing Coordinator.
Mentor: Tracy Scholz, Spring Branch ISD

Jennifer Ellis 
MISD District Instructional Coach, Montgomery ISD
Jennifer Ellis has 9 years of experience in public education. She has been serving MISD in an instructional leadership position for 2 years. 
Mentor: Chris Reichelt, Conroe ISD

Christy Hooper
G/T Coordinator, Ponder ISD
Christy Hooper is a 25-year veteran Texas public school educator. For the past 17 years, she has taught both Reading Recovery and G/T classes daily. Next school year she will become the district G/T Coordinator while also teaching G/T classes at the elementary and junior high campuses.
Mentor: Paula Fippinger, Bridgeport ISD​

Abbee Jefferies, Ed.D.
G/T Specialist/Secondary Science, ESC Region 16
Abbee Jefferies is starting her 2nd year as the Gifted and Talented/Secondary Science Specialist at Region 16. She graduated with her Bachelors in Biology in 2012, Masters in Educational Leadership in 2014, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2018.  
Mentor: Rolando Rulvacaba, ESC 20​

Lorra Lynch 
Instructional Coach, Montgomery ISD
Education was Lorra's second career and she fell in love the first day. She is an Instructional Coach at a Title 1 elementary campus and supports her district Special Programs Director with G/T. Her students inspire her everyday to become a better educator and a lifelong learner. 
Mentor: Chris Reichelt, Conroe ISD

Shawna Marks 
Curriculum Assessment Specialist, Amarillo ISD
Shawna Marks was a classroom teacher for the past 6 years and has taught seventh grade English and fourth grade Reading. She has always enjoyed her gifted students in the classroom and knew she needed to work with them on a district level. 
Mentor: Teresa Francis, Mansfield ISD​

Kenya Oliver, M.Ed.
Advanced Academics Coordinator, Del Valle ISD
Kenya Oliver worked in advanced academics at the campus, district, and regional level for over 16 years. She believes teachers should feel supported and all students are appropriately challenged. As a mother to a gifted student and wife to a now gifted adult, her passion for equitable gifted education programs runs deep.
Mentor: Celeste Sodergren, Waco ISD

Lindsay Orr 
Elementary G/T Coordinator, Ferris ISD
Lindsay Orr has taught in a Title I district for 11 years. This year she accepted a position as the Elementary G/T Coordinator in her district where they currently offer a GT pullout program serving K-5th grade students. 
Mentor: Audra Rowell, Northwest ISD

Danielle Berner Peterson, M.Ed.
Secondary Gifted and Talented Facilitator, Katy Independent School District
Danielle, a first-year G/T Facilitator in Katy ISD, spent the past 13 years in education. Through serving various roles from English teacher to visual arts teacher to AP Vertical team member to district curriculum writer and, now, a district leader, Danielle aims for all students to become life-long learners.
Mentor: Patty Hammer, Alvin ISD

Amanda Smith, Ed.D.
Coordinator of Advanced Academics, Alvin Independent School District 
Most importantly, Amanda Smith is a lifelong learner committed to excellence in all she does. She is a passionate and tenacious person who thrives by helping others. She is an advocate for gifted education and is invested in building capacity in others so that they can maximize their potential. 
Mentor: Shirley Bachus, Pflugerville ISD

Christy Thorman 
Assistant Principal/District G/T Coordinator, Venus ISD
This is Christy Thorman's 5th year to be the Assistant Principal for Venus ISD. Last year Mr. Moore, the Assistant Superintendent, asked her to be the District G/T Coordinator. She is bilingual and has taught multiple grade levels. She is always wanting to improve herself so that she can better serve.
Mentor: Janet Helmcamp, Cleburn ISD

Christina Wrob, Ph.D.
Advanced Academics Specialist, Southwest Independent School District
Christina Wrob is currently in her first year as an Advanced Academics Specialist with Southwest Independent School District. Prior to this, she taught college and high school English. In her free time, she keeps busy chasing after her three young children. 
Mentor: Tish Cawley, Hays CISD