Photo credit: Jules Bianchi
Ron is the product of the New York public school system, and the beneficiary of public and private support which helped him through Cornell Law School where he was the Editor of both the Cornell Law Review and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. At 33, he was a successful lawyer on a path toward partnership at a major New York law firm when a cancer diagnosis changed the direction of his life. Since then, he has focused on four passions, family, philanthropy, leadership, and volunteerism.
The father of two profoundly gifted children, Ron is committed to “paying it forward.” Using his time, talents, networks, and influence, he promotes education, equity and the environment by serving on the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards of various nonprofits, including: ScholarMatch, the Bay Area chapter of New Leaders for New Schools; and the Helios School for the gifted. He is also a member of the Education Circle of Full Circle Fund, and has served as the Event Director for the Profoundly Gifted Retreat.
Financing and producing THE G WORD, a full-length documentary about giftedness, is a continuation of Ron’s work and philanthropic support. He and his wife, Margret Caruso, live in the Silicon Valley, and are social impact Angel stage investors in clean and socially conscious technology companies. He has also been a prominent fundraiser for multiple Presidential, US Senate, and Congressional campaigns.
Dr. Joanna Haase is a psychotherapist in private practice in Pasadena, California with over 28 years of experience. She works with gifted individuals and their families to help them understand, navigate and embrace the joys and challenges of giftedness. In addition to working with parents and individuals, Dr. Haase partners with schools and districts to educate teachers and administrators on how to better support gifted and talented students. She is a regular presenter at state and national conferences on various topics about giftedness. In her private practice, Dr Haase also helps individuals with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. She is one of the original Co-Founders of GRO.
Sharon DuncanBoard Secretary, Director of Outreach
Sharon Duncan is an independent consultant. She helps parents and professionals meet the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted children through coaching, consultation and educator training. She also provides advice to parents on educational decisions including homeschooling. Sharon has served on the governing boards of both public and private schools and speaks at conferences and schools around the globe on a wide variety of topics related to giftedness.
Prior to her current work, Sharon spent 26 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in roles including, Project Manager, Section Manager, and Contract Negotiator. She is a NASA certified Lien Six Sigma Black-belt, and utilizes her industry experience as a negotiator when advocating, and her change management skills when coaching and consulting.
Sharon is the mother of a 27 year old twice exceptional daughter and a 21 year old profoundly gifted son. Their educational journey included public school, private school, home school, dual enrollment and early college. During that process, Sharon recognized the challenges faced by parents and gifted children which fueled her drive to help others in similar situations.
Sharon is co-founder of both Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO), and Gifted Identity. She is also a SENG Model Parent Group facilitator with over 25 groups under her belt. Sharon can be reached at email@example.com
Our Advisory Panel
Ms. Bilash is a state-wide and nationally-recognized expert on education. As one of only 78 individuals in the nation to have completed the intensive Special Education Advocates Training (SEAT) program from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), she is seasoned in educational practice and policy. For over a decade, Advocacy & Consulting for Education (ACFE), her suburban Philadelphia practice, has served more than 600 students and their families by securing millions of dollars’ worth of desperately-needed educational services, tuition, accommodations, and settlement funds. Her advocacy work has received special Congressional recognition, and most recently, as a “thought leader in the field,” she was invited by the White House Office of Early Learning and the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education to participate in a strategy roundtable for planning the way forward in supporting educators and families of young children and the use of technology to support early learning.
In 2012, Melissa became frustrated with not being able to enact systematic change for gifted education in a state with a zero-funded mandate. Along with a team of incredibly dedicated volunteers who shared her vision, Melissa worked tirelessly to open The Grayson School in 2015, making history as Pennsylvania’s first independent private school for gifted learners. Currently offering a K-8 program, plans are in place to grow to offer PreK-12 in the next few years.
Ms. Bilash regularly works with prestigious national organizations and institutions serving gifted children. Most recently, she co-authored a chapter in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)’s Guide to State Policies in Gifted Education, a document presenting detailed and research-based recommendations of best practices in gifted education across the country (published March 2016). She meets regularly with senior staff at the U.S. Department of Education to discuss priority initiatives, and she is continuously a voice for gifted learners at these meetings. Additionally, she serves on the Legislative Committees of both the NAGC and Pennsylvania’s NAGC chapter, the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE), which named her Parent of the Year for her work with gifted children and recipient of their 2016 Innovation Award. A much sought-after speaker, she has presented to a wide array of audiences, including the Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) annual conference, the Special Educational Advocacy annual conference, and events at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Villanova University, as well as at a variety of local parent support groups, education-related expos, local schools, libraries, and gifted education association meetings.
Dr. Goerss is a Board-Certified pediatrician. She completed a residency in Pediatrics and a fellowship in Medical Genetics at the Mayo Clinic where she conducted epidemiological research. Dr. Goerss received her B.S. degree from the University of Portland in Oregon, her M.D. degree from Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois, and an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Dr. Goerss is the lead author of three medical papers reporting the results of her research, and she is co-recipient of an Easter Seals research grant. She is a member of honor societies such as Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society.
As the parent of two gifted sons, Dr. Goerss is active in gifted education. She served on a Gifted Education Task Force in Rochester, Minnesota, was a founding member of the Scottsdale Supporters of the Gifted in Scottsdale, Arizona, and participated in rewriting the curriculum for gifted students in the Deer Valley (Arizona) Unified School District. She is co-author of the book “Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses in Gifted Children and Adults” published by Great Potential Press; an updated second edition recently has been released. She has lectured at National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) conferences.
After leaving clinical medicine to raise her family, she now works for Social Security evaluating disability claims. She is in the midst of getting her certification in Functional Medicine. She continues to participate in the Professional Advisory Committee for SENG.
Dr. Jerald Grobman, MD
Dr. Grobman is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine and a board-certified psychiatrist. For the past 36 years he has been in private practice specializing in the assessment and psychotherapy of gifted adolescents and adults. His website Psychotherapy Services for the Gifted, his publications on underachievement in gifted adolescents and young adults and psychotherapy of gifted adolescents and young adults, his video presentation on the gifted / learning disability syndrome, his webinar – Understanding and treating anxiety, Depression, Bipolar disorder and Underachievement in gifted children, adolescents, and young adults (SENG October 1, 2009) his Davidson Institute seminar – Tips for Parents: the inner experience of gifted children , adolescents and young adults have become important resources for the national and international gifted community.
At SENG conferences, Dr. Grobman has led workshops on such topics as underachievement, common problems of gifted individuals and how to treat them, the inner experience of gifted individuals, the moral/ethical dilemmas of the gifted, a comparison of counseling and therapy, techniques for gifted individuals and an advanced SENG institute course (2008) on underachievement. At SENG conferences, he has also conducted several continuing education courses for therapists looking for advanced training in the assessment and therapy of gifted individuals.
• Dr. Grobman has presented at the Wallace Symposium, the NAGC conference, the AEGUS conference, AGATE conference (advocacy for the gifted and talented education in New York), NECGT and Nassau Community College.
• Dr. Grobman is a member of the SENG professional advisory committee
• Dr. Grobman received the SENG SERVICE AWARD in 2013
• Dr. Grobman is a member of the adjunct staff of the Lenox Hill Hospital department of psychiatry where his is the senior supervisor in the psychology internship training program
• For a number of years, he was the psychiatric consultant to the Lenox Hill open heart surgical team
• From 1975-1980 Dr. Grobman was an Associate Clinical Professor in the Tufts University School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry. While there he was the director of group psychotherapy training, published and was an instructor in the American Group Psychotherapy Association’s national training institute
• Dr. Grobman is a lifetime member of the American Psychiatry Association
• Dr. Grobman has served as an academic consultant and editor for a doctoral candidate’s thesis
• Dr. Grobman has recently been nominated to become a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
Dr. Grobman has authored the following articles about giftedness. The links to these articles can be found in GROs library:
• Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View, The Journal of Gifted Secondary Education 2006,17:199-209
• Experience, Journal for the Education of the Gifted 2009 33:106-125
• Psychotherapy, (a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity and Talent ed. B.Kerr, September,2009 pp. 714-718 that reviews different types of psychotherapy for gifted individuals.)
Elizabeth D. Jones is President and Co-Founder of the Institute for Educational Advancement. Ms. Jones has been an educator, researcher and administrator of educational programs for over 30 years. She holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California and has completed doctoral work in the field of educational policy and learning theory. Jones served as the Associate Director of The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Director of the Western Region for ten years prior to assuming her current position. While at CTY, Jones served as Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Sally Ride and Dr. JoBea Way for a NASA and NSF sponsored educational initiative call KidSat. She received recognition from the National Diffusion Network for the creation and implementation of exemplary programs for underserved highly able students and specialized in the intellectual, social and emotional needs of students. Jones founded the Institute for Educational Advancement in 1998. The organization’s first contract was to assist in the creation and implementation of the Davidson Young Scholars program. She went on to lead in the creation of the Award-winning Yunasa summer camp for the gifted and the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program.
Marianne Kuzujanakis, M.D., M.P.H. is co-founder of the SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative, chair of the SENG Professional Advisory Committee, and for over a decade she has been a homeschool educator. She has presented on several occasions at national conferences of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC and Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted Children (SENG), she is also a co-author of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children And Adults [2nd Edition]. Dr. Kuzujanakis is a pediatrician and has a Master in Public Health in Clinical Effectiveness through Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Kuzujanakis has authored or co-authored the following articles concerning giftedness. Links to these articles may be found in the GRO library.
• The Misunderstood Face Of Giftedness
• A Reflective Conversation With Marianne Kuzujanakis MD
• Practice Opportunities With Gifted Children and Their Families
• Number 6 Burns Like An Orange Flame
• Gifted Children and Adults – Neglected Areas of Practice
• Recognizing, Addressing Giftedness Can Be Challenging
Dr. Grace Malonai, Ph.D., LPCC, DCC
Dr. Grace Malonai is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been providing psychotherapy and counseling services in the San Francisco area since 1998. She is Co-Founder of Gifted Identity℠ and the Gifted Identity℠ Project, and is the Clinical Director at TheraThrive, a counseling, psychotherapy and consultation practice that focuses on serving gifted and highly sensitive children, teens, parents, couples and families.
Dr. Grace has been an instructor at St. Mary’s College of California since 2003, where she has taught Human Development, Group Theory and Practice, Psychopathology, Supervision, various other psychology and management courses, and served on thesis committees.
As a regular presenter at local, state and national conferences, Dr. Grace is able to share her knowledge and passion on various topics that focus on giftedness. She has presented at NAGC, Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children, SENG, and others. She is also a certified SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, and a parenting Topic Expert for GoodTherapy.org.
Dr. Grace is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), American Counseling Association (ACA), California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC), Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG), National Association for the Gifted (NAGC), and others. She believes in service to her community, and serves as co-coordinator for her local East Bay chapter of CALPCC, is a committee member for CALPCC, and has been a contributor to organizational newsletters and blogs.
Dr. Malonai has authored the following articles. Links to these articles may be found in the GRO library:
• 7 Ways to Help Your Strong-Willed Gifted Child Thrive
• Is Your Gifted Child Being Bullied? 5 Ways to Help
• Unhappy Campers: Helping Kids Deal with Homesickness
• 5 Solutions to Your Child’s Sleep Problems
• 5 Things That Help a Child with High Sensitivity and Anxiety
Wenda Sheard, J.D., Ph.D, is the emeritus board member of the USA organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted. She recently served four years on the board of Potential Plus UK, formerly known as the UK’s National Association for Gifted Children, while she was teaching middle school English and serving with her husband as a dorm parent for high school boys from dozens of different countries at TASIS The American School in England from 2009-2014. Before moving to England, she taught English in the United States and China, practiced law in Ohio for nearly two decades, and worked in Connecticut as a disability policy researcher exploring the educational and workforce lives of people with disabilities. She currently spends her days with a delightful combination of legal, environmental, and educational pursuits, including working as a court-appointed mediator, practicing law, and speaking at conferences and other gatherings of parents and educators.”
James T. Webb, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the most influential psychologists nationally on gifted education. Dr. Webb has written 16 books, over 80 professional publications, three DVDs, and many research papers for psychology conventions or for conferences regarding gifted and talented children. Six of his books are on gifted children and adults, and four have won “Best Book” awards. Dr. Webb’s Publications can be found at Great Potential Press.
In 1981, Dr. Webb established SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted Children, Inc.), a national nonprofit organization that provides information, training, conferences, and workshops, and he served as Chair of SENG’s Professional Advisory Committee. In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Association for Gifted children, the Community Service Award from the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Upton Sinclair Award by EducationNews.org; in 2015 the Lifetime Achievement Award from SENG, and in 2017 the Palmarium Award from the Institute for Development of Gifted Education.
A frequent keynote and workshop speaker at state, national, and international conventions, Dr. Webb, a licensed and board-certified psychologist, has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, The Phil Donahue Show, CNN, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio.
A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, he served for three years on its governing body, the Council of Representatives. Dr. Webb is a Fellow of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and the Society for Personality Assessment. In 1992, he received the Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy by the American Psychological Association, and also the National Award for Excellence, Senior Investigator Division, from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Gifted Children, and was President of the American Association for Gifted Children. Currently, Dr. Webb is President of Great Potential Press, Inc.
Dr. Webb was President of the Ohio Psychological Association in 1974-1975, and a member of its Board of Trustees for seven years. He has been in private practice as well as in various consulting positions with clinics and hospitals. In 1978, Dr. Webb was one of the founders of the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, and from 1978-1995 he was a Professor and Associate Dean. Previously, Dr. Webb directed the Department of Psychology at the Children’s Medical Center in Dayton and was Associate Clinical Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Wright State University School of Medicine. From 1970-1975, Dr. Webb was on the graduate faculty in psychology at Ohio University.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Webb graduated from Rhodes College, and received his doctorate degree from the University of Alabama. Dr. Webb and his wife are parents of six daughters.
Nathalie Blume is a cognitive psychologist and research methodologist. Her areas of expertise include study design, the use of experimental and transactional data for prediction, and the cognition of causal reasoning and semantic memory in adults. Nathalie has worked for several governmental healthcare organizations. She is currently a data scientist at L.A. Care Health Plan. Nathalie also teaches gifted youths at the Institute for Educational Advancement and serves on the board of the J.T. Underwood Foundation in New York.
“The founders of GRO are a multitalented and dedicated group of individuals whose aim is to further our understanding of gifted children and their needs across domains of development – physical, emotional, social, and psychological. GRO intends to pursue a thoughtful and comprehensive research program and to make their findings available to all, thereby raising awareness of this unique group within society at large.”
Dr. Susan Daniels, Company Co-Founder and Educational Director, Summit Center, Professor and Educational Consultant, and Co-Author of Living with Intensity
“Imagine having research data that provides objective and accurate evidence of many issues we in the gifted community already see anecdotally. Picture parents and educators being able to discuss the social, emotional, and health concerns surrounding giftedness using scientific information to back up their opinions. Then consider a group of uniquely talented individuals making those outcomes their passion. That’s GRO. And I’m excited about the possibilities their work will afford all of us!”
Ann Grahl, President, Knowledge Enrichment Enterprise, and Founder, Supporting Gifted Learners
“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
~ James M. Barrie
Dramatist, Creator of Peter Pan