Baylor Director of Gifted Programs Susan Johnsen named TAGT State Advocate for the Gifted

December 5, 2013
Susan Johnsen

Susan Johnsen, courtesy photo

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 5, 2013) - Working with gifted and talented students is nothing new for Susan Johnsen, Ph.D., director of gifted programs in the School of Education at Baylor University. In addition to her day job, she is editor of "Gifted Child Today," coauthor of more than 200 articles, monographs, technical reports and dozens of books related to gifted education, and author of three tests used in identifying gifted students.
So it's no surprise Johnsen has been recognized as the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) State Advocate for the Gifted. This honor is given in recognition of outstanding service, contribution and commitment to gifted and talented education and students in Texas.
"In gifted education, I think that sometimes people believe that once you're identified as gifted, you're just gifted," Johnsen said. "We know from research that students with gifts and talents need to be developed."
Gifted students who find school to be easy, but whose talents go undeveloped, often find school suddenly challenging when they begin college, she said.
"I think it becomes a pattern for some students. They have not had to work very hard in school to be able to make good grades, and when you have that pattern it's difficult to change."
A Waco ISD parent submitted a recommendation letter to TAGT on behalf of Johnsen, saying that because of her efforts, ideas and partnerships, teachers in the community learn more about both their students and new things to do in the classroom. But Johnsen didn't even know about the letter until JJ Colburn, TAGT executive director, told her.
"I was very pleased and very surprised and actually felt really very humbled," Johnsen said. "There are a lot of people out there who advocate for students."
"It's always a highlight of our year to honor the outstanding work of passionate and dedicated individuals who support gifted education in Texas," Colburn said. "Each award winner represents thousands of individuals who work tirelessly every day to serve the unique population of gifted learners and we are proud to be able to recognize their efforts."
Johnsen will be honored at the TAGT Awards Night Ceremony, which takes place during the TAGT 2013 Annual Conference Dec. 4 through 6 in Houston.
by Rachel Miller, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Baylor School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and consists of four departments: Curriculum and Instruction (preparation for classroom teachers and specialists); Educational Administration (post-graduate preparation for school leadership); Educational Psychology (undergraduate and graduate programs for those who are interested in learning, development, measurement, and exceptionalities); and Health, Human Performance and Recreation (preparing for sport- and health-related careers, athletic training and careers in recreational professions, including churches).The School of Education enrolls more than 1,000 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students, employs 70 faculty, and is one of the few school s in the State of Texas that offers a yearlong teaching internship.