Margaret Silver is a true advocate for parents and has joined forces with AGTSLA to make a difference in the lives of those for whom she advocates. Her qualifications include a BA in General Studies and a MS in Accountancy, as well as plenty of moxie. In her spare time, she is rearing three children who she hopes will support her in her old age and is the wife of an amazing man who works harder than he probably should to indulge her crazy dreams.
AGTSLA entered Margaret's life through a chance encounter that turned into a passion that she didn't realize she possessed. In partnership with her fellow board members, Margaret believes that they will be able to create an environment where parents can share honestly, without reservation, about their experiences, hopes and dreams for their children. In doing this, she also hopes to provide pathways for parents to advocate and network in order to bring these hopes and dreams to fruition. Margaret Silver is currently serving as the Treasurer of AGTSLA.
Christine J. Briggs, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction and is the Director for the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She teaches gifted education, research design, and capstone courses for candidates pursuing a M.Ed. in Gifted Education as well as co-teaching in the educational leadership ED.D. program’s exceptional learner concentration. Her professional contributions include: publications in Gifted Child Quarterly, Urban Education, presentations at NAGC, Confratute, Louisiana Lagniappe, MSERA, AERA, and National Social Science Association. She is co-chair of the NAGC Curriculum Network Award and is a member of the NAGC Awards committee.
Dr. Briggs continues to advocate for students of diversity and poverty to gain access to challenging and rigorous instruction to help uncover their gifts and talents. Her role on the AGTSLA board is secretary.
Lisa DeJean is a wife, mother of four, and a retired educator whose career spans almost 35 years. She holds a BA in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master’s in Ed with an emphasis in Gifted. She began her career in East Baton Rouge Parish then moved to St. Charles Parish where she saw the benefits of tailoring instruction to children who think in diverse ways. She held the title of Technical Assistant for the Gifted and Talented in St. Charles Parish where she developed the Academy Program. This program focused on the identification of students from diverse populations.
Lisa is looking forward to continuing her work for the gifted and talented students of Louisiana in her current role as the AGTSLA President. She can be reached at AGTSLouisiana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julmarria currently teaches 3rd and 4th grade mathematics to gifted and high ability learners and has been serving gifted students since 2011. For the past nine years, she has served students in grades K-7, working at the school level with students, teachers, parents, and administrators to help address and meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted learners. She is dedicated to engaging students in meaningful learning opportunities, educating stakeholders about gifted children and their unique needs, and advocating for programs designed to meet the needs of the gifted.
Julmarria Jackson is a teacher of the Academically Gifted in Zachary, Louisiana. She holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and currently serves on the state board as the Vice-President for Advocacy & Communication.
Mary Hidalgo, Ph.D. is dedicated to supporting families of gifted/talented (G/T) and 2e learners. Her experience as a teacher and researcher as well as her experience as a mother to G/T children has enabled her to better understand social and emotional needs of both the G/T and the parents raising such children. Her research and writing provides a platform for parents and grandparents to share personal narratives. Dr. Hidalgo is also passionate about advocating for rural communities where resources and support may be limited. Born and raised in Southwest Louisiana, Dr. Hidalgo received both a Bachelors and Master’s Degree as well as gifted certification at McNeese State University. She later received an Educational Specialist Degree and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana State University. In her AGTSLA role, she is focused on building a vast community of support for families of G/T children and youth as well as in sharing resources and providing opportunities for educational professionals and others hoping to support the G/T learner, their families, and their communities.
Dr. Hidalgo’s role on the state board is that of Vice-President Membership for the Southwest Region.
Joan Turek, Ed.D. holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Doctorate in Leadership Studies from LSU Shreveport. She is certified as a K-12 Gifted Education Teacher, a grade 1-12 Reading Specialist, and has 19 years of experience teaching academically gifted students in grades ranging from 1-12. She currently serves as a district-level Gifted and Talented Coordinator and works as an adjunct at LSU Shreveport. She previously developed and taught the online course “Developing Creative Thought in Gifted Learners” to those seeking Louisiana Gifted certification and has experience connecting students to online mentors through the Mentored Pathways Program.
In her spare time, Joan volunteers as Regional and Training Director for Louisiana Destination Imagination and has served as an international challenge writer and appraiser for Destination Imagination, Inc. In 2017, she was a recipient of the Destination Imagination, Inc. 2017 Spirit of Discovery and Imagination Award. Joan is dedicated to helping teachers meet the needs of gifted and talented students. Joan enjoys facilitating activities to help children fully develop their creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.
Joan’s role on the state board is that of Vice President of Chapter Services.
Dr. Ashok Kumar is an Associate Professor of Computer Science in the School of Computing and Informatics at UL Lafayette.
He is also an Associate Dean in the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. He has been teaching and conducting research at UL Lafayette
since 2003. He is a faculty advisor for peer mentoring and also actively engaged in several initiatives of undergraduate and graduate education and
research. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA.
Joan Whitesides is currently the Gifted and Talented Facilitator for Caddo Parish Schools. She has taught gifted students and has worked in the Gifted and Talented field for 18 years. Joan has been employed by Caddo Parish for the past 33 years. Prior to that, she was a Montessori Teacher. She is always up to new challenges. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Beloit College, and a Master of Education from Centenary College. She is currently certified in Elementary Education, Academically Gifted Education, Montessori Primary, and Supervision of Instruction. Joan has always been a strong believer in acceleration and differentiation. She is a dedicated advocate for gifted students, teachers and parents. Joan hopes to continue that in her role as Interim Vice President of Region 6.