Advocate for the Gifted Award

About the TAGT Advocate for the Gifted Award
The TAGT Advocate for the Gifted Award is presented to one advocate from each of five geographic areas in recognition of outstanding service, contribution, and commitment to gifted education. The five area winners will be considered for the TAGT State Advocate for the Gifted Award. Members of the TAGT Membership Involvement Committee will review the nomination materials of area award winners. From that pool, the Committee selects the State Advocate for the Gifted.

The TAGT State Advocate for the Gifted is honored at the TAGT Annual Conference. He/she receives a plaque, a lifetime TAGT membership valued at $500, in addition to a two-day complementary registration and two nights of hotel accommodations at a conference hotel.

The TAGT Advocate for the Gifted demonstrates a commitment to gifted education by:

  • Providing distinguished support for gifted students among key educational administrators and policy maker;
  • Contributing time and effort in support of the education of gifted individuals;
  • Promoting practices that benefit all gifted children;
  • Impacting gifted education at the local, regional and state levels; and
  • Encouraging shared leadership and participation among other parents, professionals and/or community leaders.

Area Winners
Area winners will be announced by mid-August and will be presented with an award at the TAGT Award Program held during the Annual Conference, December 3-5 in Fort Worth. All area winners are encouraged to attend the TAGT Annual Conference but attendance is not required. Please note that TAGT does not cover area winner registration or related travel expenses.

Please return the nomination form and all supplemental materials to Lisa Varner at lvarner@txgifted.org.

2013 TAGT State Advocate for the Gifted
Susan-JohnsenTAGT has selected Susan K Johnsen, PhD,  Director of Gifted Programs at Baylor University, as the 2013 TAGT State Advocate for the Gifted for her outstanding efforts in advocacy for gifted education.

Susan K Johnsen, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she directs the PhD program and programs related to gifted and talented education. She is editor of Gifted Child Today and coauthor of Identifying Gifted Students: A Practical Guide, the Independent Study Program, RTI for Gifted Students, Using the National Gifted Education Standards for University Teacher Preparation Programs, Using the National Gifted Education Standards for PreK-12 Professional Development and more than 200 articles, monographs, technical reports, and other books related to gifted education. She has written three tests used in identifying gifted students: Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS), Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI-4) and Screening Assessment Gifted Students (SAGES-2).

Additionally, Johnsen serves on the Board of Examiners of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is a reviewer and auditor of programs in gifted education. She is the past president of The Association for the Gifted (TAG), the Council for Exceptional Children and the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented (TAGT). She has received awards for her work in the field of education, including NAGC’s President’s Award, TAG’s Leadership Award, TAGT’s President’s Award, and Baylor University’s Investigator Award, Teaching Award, and Contributions to the Academic Community.

She may be reached at Department of Educational Psychology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97301, Waco, TX 76798, USA or Susan_Johnsen@baylor.edu.

2013 TAGT Area Advocate for the Gifted Awardees

Name Affiliation Geographic Area
Dora Garcia Brownsville ISD Gulf Coast Area
Susan Johnsen Baylor University Hill County Area
Jerusha Hunt El Paso ISD Mountains & Basins
Howard Fisher & Melissa Marsh Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Piney Woods

TAGT congratulates each of our awardees and recognizes their outstanding work and dedication to meeting the unique needs of gifted and talented individuals.

TAGT Geographic Areas
TAGT has designated five Geographic Areas based on the Texas Education Agency’s service regions.


Past Recipients

2013 Susan K. Johnsen Baylor University
2012 Todd Kettler University of North Texas
2011 Sandra Spivey El Paso ISD
2010 Len Avecilla Keller
2009 Dr. Betty McIlvain Carroll ISD
2008 Nancy Hoover Canutillo ISD