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featured SPEAKERS



Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Programs for Talented Youth and an Associate Research Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Stambaugh conducts research in gifted education with a focus on students living in rural settings, students of poverty, and curriculum and instructional interventions that promote gifted student learning. She is the co-author/editor of several books including Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Learners (2007) (with Joyce VanTassel-Baska); Overlooked Gems: A National Perspective on Low-Income Promising Students (2007) (with Joyce VanTassel-Baska), Leading Change in Gifted Education (2009) (with Bronwyn MacFarlane), the Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program Series (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016) (with Joyce VanTassel-Baska), Practical Solutions for Under-represented Gifted Students: Effective curriculum (2012) (with Kim Chandler), Serving Gifted Students in Rural Settings (Legacy Award Winner) (with Susannah Wood) and The Programs for Talented Youth ELA Curriculum Middle School Series (2016) (with Emily Mofield). Stambaugh has also written numerous articles and book chapters.  She frequently provides keynotes, professional development workshops, and consultation to school districts nationally and internationally and shares her work at refereed research conferences. She serves on several committees for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and is a reviewer for leading research journals in the field of gifted education.

Stambaugh is the recipient of several awards including: the Margaret The Lady Thatcher Medallion for scholarship, service, and character from the College of William and Mary School of Education, the Doctoral Student Award, Early Leader Award, and several curriculum awards from the National Association for Gifted Children; the Jo Patterson Service Award and Curriculum Award from the Tennessee Association for Gifted Children, and the Higher Education Award from the Ohio Association for Gifted Children. Stambaugh has received or directed research and service grants totaling over $7.5 million. Prior to her appointment at Vanderbilt she was director of grants and special projects at the College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education where she earned her Ph.D..

Tamra Stambaugh, Executive Director, Assistant Research Professor of Special Education



Rhonda Meyer Vivian, Ph.D. currently works as COO of, an educational publishing and consulting company established by Dinah Zike, creator of the 3-D interactive graphic organizers known as Foldables. Rhonda brings her background in Human Development Across the Lifespan to every presentation and offers engaging and effective teaching and learning techniques applicable for PK-college and beyond. In her sessions, expect to practice some of Dinah Zike’s hands-on, minds-on instructional strategies and leave with examples to use with your students immediately.



Gifted Education Specialist

Mississippi Department of Education


For more than a decade, Jen Cornett has been committed to serving Mississippi’s gifted children. Her love for gifted education is rooted in her own experience as a gifted child in a small, North Mississippi community. Studying gifted education research during college ignited Jen’s passion for service to gifted learners, as she focused her senior thesis on understanding gifted underachievers. Currently she is the gifted Education Specialist for the Mississippi Department of Education, where she leads creation, review, and implementation of the regulations, standards, outcomes, and curriculum that guide Gifted programming in Mississippi. She also creates, coordinated and presents professional development for all stakeholders in Gifted education.


Jen, a National Board Certified Teacher, earned her Bachelor of Arts from Millsap College in 2005, completing her senior thesis on the needs of underachieving Gifted children. Jen is a member of the Council of State Di rectors of Programs for the Gifted, the National Association for Gifted Children, the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children (MAGC), and the MAGC Advisory Panel.


Outside of her professional commitments, Jen spends her time giving back to the community. She is an active member of the Junior League of Jackson, currently serving as Chair of Touch a Truck, one of three League projects that combine community service and fund development. Additionally, Jen has served as Chair of the Distinguished Young Women of Rankin County program for five years. Distinguished Young Women, the oldest scholarship program in the United States, empowers high school women through the Be Your Best Self initiative.

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