Equity of Advanced Learning Opportunities:  Improving Diversity and Enacting Justice in Public Education Gifted and Talented Programming and Services 


We warmly welcome to this event our friends from the HBS Club of Dallas, Yale Club of Dallas, Princeton Club of Dallas, Dartmouth Club of Dallas, Harvard Alumni for Education, Texas PTA leaders, School Board Trustees, and GT Parent Group Leaders.

Educational disparities are a reality in the United States today.  Given the importance of education in social and economic equality – and particularly of access to higher education – it is important to understand drivers of differences in educational attainment among different socioeconomic, racial and ethnic groups.  


Proposed solutions often focus on overall funding, remediation, campus accountability, and wraparound services.  While these are all important, the academic strengths and needs of high-ability students in marginalized and low-income populations have often been overlooked.  Recently, equity advocates have raised concerns about the underrepresentation of Black and Latinx students in advanced academics, including in courses needed to prepare for higher education.  In some cases, these GATE programs and services have been challenged or threatened without a full understanding of historical contexts of gifted and talented education, existing research on GATE programs, the responsive, academic needs of high-ability students from culturally and linguistically different populations, and/or strategies that have proved successful in improving access and retention to and equity in advanced learning opportunities.  


Join a panel of Texas-based experts as they shed light on the history, purpose, and impact of Gifted and Talented Education programs and services, research on closing the gaps for underrepresented and underserved Black and Latinx students, and why strengthening GATE programs in our public school system is essential to achieving educational equity, justice, and benefit for all students.  


The discussion will be facilitated by Emily Villamar-Robbins, HLS ‘03

Ms. Villamar-Robbins is a parent of two GT-identified public school students and a volunteer for local and state organizations supporting public education and GT education.  Her past legal work included representing low-income clients as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.  She completed a graduate certificate in gifted education and has served as a member of the Texas Commissioner of Education’s Advisory Council for Gifted Education since 2018.

Panelists include:

Dr. Kristina Henry Collins
Dr. Collins is the core faculty for Talent Development at Texas State University, San Marcos. She serves as President of SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and is member-at-large for NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Board of Directors. Dr. Collins holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Ed.S. in Gifted and Creative Education (University of Georgia) along with advanced degrees and educational certifications in mathematics, technology education, and computer science. She is an engineer by training (B.S., University of Alabama) and her research foci include social, emotional, and cultural (SEC) contexts of gifted, advanced, and talent developmentSTEM identity development in underrepresented students; and mentoring across the lifespan. Among many honors, Dr. Collins was awarded the 2011 Mary Frasier Equity and Excellence Award presented to her by the Georgia Association of Gifted Children (GAGC) for her work in advancing educational opportunities for underrepresented students in gifted education.  

Dr. Fred A. Bonner II
Fred Bonner is Professor and Endowed Chair of Educational Leadership and Counseling in the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education at Prairie View A&M University.  He also serves as the Founding Executive Director and Chief Scientist of the Minority Achievement Creativity and High Ability (MACH-III) Center. His research foci illuminate the experiences of academically gifted African American males across the P-20 pipeline, diverse faculty in Academe, and diverse populations in STEM. He is co-editor of two books with Stylus Publishing, Building on Resilience: Models and Frameworks of Black Male Success Across the P-20 Pipeline and Diverse Millennials Students in College: Implications for Faculty and Student Affairs. His Book Series Diverse Faculty in the Academy is published by Routledge Press and his new refereed journal (Journal of Minority Achievement, Creativity, and Leadership) published by Pennsylvania State University Press is slated for release Fall 2020. Bonner is currently developing a theoretical framework, ‘Mascusectionality’ that will explore the engagements of Black men.

Dr. Todd Kettler
Dr. Kettler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the School of Education at Baylor University.  Dr. Kettler conducts research on access to advanced academic learning opportunities in schools, including access to gifted education. His book, Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students (Prufrock Press, 2016) won the Legacy Award for the best scholarly book in the field of gifted education in the United States in 2016.  Kettler’s research has appeared in the leading journals in the fields of gifted educational and creativity including: Gifted Child Quarterly, Journal of Advanced Academics, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Creativity Research Journal, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Creativity Research Journal, and Thinking Skills and Creativity.  Currently, Dr. Kettler serves as editor of the Journal of Advanced Academics, and he is the chair of the Texas Commissioner of Education's Advisory Council for Gifted Education in Texas. He is actively involved in the American Educational Research Association and the National Association of Gifted Children. He began his professional journey as a middle school and high school English teacher and spent more than a decade designing and leading advanced academic programs in public schools in Texas.

Dr. Jaret Hodges
Dr. Hodges is an Assistant Professor of Gifted Education at the University of North Texas. He also serves as the chair of the research committee for the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. His research focuses on issues of equity, policy, and rurality in gifted education. He is currently working with TAGT to assess the effects of funding changes to gifted education following the passage of HB3 on issues such as educator sentiment, access to gifted services, and equitable identification. 



Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Time: 4:00 PM (CST)
Location: Virtual (Link will be sent prior to the event)
Cost: Free.
Registration closed.