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Keynote Speakers


THURSDAY

Alex Wright, Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering is the unique innovative organization that creates – from concept through construction – all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide. Imagineering’s unique strength comes from the teamwork and syntheses of creative and technical professionals representing more than 140 diverse disciplines.

Alex Wright is a Creative Director with Walt Disney Imagineering, based in Florida. In this role, his responsibilities include concept development, illustration, production design, art direction, and installation support for theme park and resort projects throughout Walt Disney World Resort. His current work includes Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where he served as art director for the overall project and now as creative director for Na’Vi River Journey. His recent projects include being Art Director for the in-queue play experience for Dumbo’s Flying Elephants in the Storybook Circus section of the Fantasyland Expansion at Magic Kingdom Park, Creative Director roles for the re-launch of Space Mountain, the re-branding of ESPN Wide World of Sports, and the re-imagining of long-term concepts for Disney Springs. Alex is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Design Theory. He also completed a Masters of Fine Art degree in Scenic Design from the California Institute of the Arts.



FRIDAY

June Scobee Rodgers

June Scobee Rodgers is an educator who has taught from Kindergarten through college. She is the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Richard “Dick” Scobee. As founding Chairman of the Challenger Center, she has dedicated her time and energy to continuing the crew’s educational mission. Each year at the Center, hundreds of thousands of students participate in STEM focused programs. June created the Star Challenger science adventure books for young readers to further spark their interest in science and math. She has served on the President’s National Advisory Council on Education, and in 2015, June received the distinguished Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.



SATURDAY

The E. Paul Torrance Distinguished Lecture Series presented by


Scholastic Testing Service


Jennifer Stancil

Jennifer Stancil is the new President and CEO of the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa, Florida. Jennifer is a scientist, trained in human biology, animal behavior, and mathematical modeling. Her career started in Alabama and then North Carolina, working to engineer the programming for two new museums – McWane Science Center and Marbles Kids Museum (previously Exploris). As Executive Director of Educational Partnerships at WQED Multimedia, the PBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, Jennifer created and directed WQED’s strategies for outreach and cutting-edge content. She launched the overall education brand iQ:smartmedia. Jennifer won the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award from the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), and she is an awardee of the prestigious MacArthur Digital Media Competition. In 2015, Jennifer was awarded an Emmy™ for her role in creating and producing the national TV series, iQ:smartparent.



SUNDAY

Balancing Equity and Excellence in Gifted Education


Panel Moderator:
Scott J. Peters, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
Panelists:
Dina M. Brulles, Director of Gifted Education, Paradise Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, AZ
Lauri B. Kirsch, Supervisor, K-12 Gifted Programs, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, FL
Zuzel Rodriguez, Curriculum Supervisor for Gifted and Talented, Broward County Public Schools, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL


Gifted student identification and the all-too-common state of income and racial/ethnic under-representation in identified populations are two of the most hotly debated topics in the field. This closing general session will provide an overview of the findings from a recent Gifted Child Quarterly article on the topic of expanding equity while maintaining excellence within gifted education. These findings include the potential possibilities and pitfalls with various methods that have been proposed to identify greater numbers of underrepresented learners. Recommendations for how to mitigate inequality while developing excellence in gifted and talented education will be deliberated by an expert panel.

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