Spotlight: Nicole Shannon

Nicole Shannon • Advanced Academics Specialist • Hutto ISD

How did you get involved with TAGT?
I first joined TAGT when I began working for Round Rock ISD as a gifted specialist.

Why do you continue to engage with and support TAGT?
TAGT is an amazing organization that helps empower those of us in gifted education. I appreciate being able to connect with others who have the same passion for gifted students as me. As TAGT continues to grow and evolve, there are more and more reasons to stay involved. 

What is your dream for the future of gifted education?
I dream of day when gifted education isn't seen as the "red-headed stepchild". Gifted students have as many (or more) needs than on-level and special education students. I dream of a time when teachers and administrators don't assume that our gifted students will be "just fine" whether they receive services or not. 

What do you love to do during summer vacation?
I enjoy spending time with my daughter and my fiance. We try to get out to a few more movies and spend time doing a few fun day trips during the couple of weeks I have off.

What was your childhood dream job?
I dreamed of helping people. At one point I thought I would be a pediatric biomedical engineer specializing in bionics. I grew up teaching as my mother was a preschool teacher and director. I started teaching preschool when I was 16 and education was a natural path for me to pursue. 

Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without?
My guilty pleasure is the Food Network. I enjoy watching far too many shows from that channel. As we don't have cable, I order the season on my Amazon Prime account and enjoy a good Food Network binge!  

In your role you have inspired hundreds of students, tell us about a student who has impacted you?
So many students have impacted and inspired me. One that sticks out is a young man, I'll call him J. He had a tough early childhood that included the death of his father. When J started gifted services with me in third grade, he was uncertain of his abilities. I worked with him and built up his confidence and helped him believe in himself. At the end of fifth grade, J wrote me a beautiful letter thanking me for being his teacher and asking me if I'd consider moving to the middle school so he could still be in my class. :) I continued to see him throughout middle school and high school. It was a joy to watch him become a strong campus leader. He went on to mentor other students through the high school PROS program and served as one of the presidents of that group his senior year. J reminded me of the importance of knowing our students. That is the best way for us to create safe classroom environments where they can grow and thrive.