The Dream Unencumbered

When the NAGC Board of Directors presented the Championing Equity statement to the membership in 2020, one of the most common responses we heard was, "this is great—as long as it is more than just words on a page." Since that time, the Board put wheels in motion to demonstrate NAGC’s intention to walk our talk, from revising our governance policies to redoubling our commitment to have Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) issues represented at the annual convention, to sponsoring the annual National Symposium on Equity for Black and Brown Gifted Students.

Today, we announce our next step: An invitational national colloquium tentatively titled The Dream Unencumbered: Promoting Educational Equity for Culturally, Linguistically, and Economically Diverse Gifted Students. This is the first of the interdisciplinary colloquia funded in part by the James. J. Gallagher Memorial Fund. The genesis for this colloquium is our recognition that we need new partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizational leaders who share our goals and are willing to lend their insight, influence, and advocacy to close the Excellence Gap among CLED gifted students. To that end, we aim to engage with 30-40 leaders outside of gifted and talented education who empower culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse (CLED) students and who understand the negative impact of uncultivated talent both on individuals and on the nation’s welfare. One of the priorities for this meeting is to form a new coalition for equity-focused action that goes beyond the walls of our field. While the colloquium is still in the formative stage, we are ready to answer some initial questions.

Who is Planning the Colloquium?

A working group comprised of NAGC Board members is planning the event. Shelagh Gallagher and Tarek Grantham co-chair the committee; Paris Andrew, Kurshana Dean, Steve Fredericks, Tamra Stambaugh, April Wells, and John Segota are working group members. Two additional members come from outside the field: Dr. Margaret Kanipes, Director of the University Honors Program at NC A&T University, and Mr. Jeffrey Blount, author and former TV producer who gave a stirring opening keynote presentation at NAGC22.

Where Will the Colloquium Take Place?

Today we are pleased to announce that Morgan State University will host the gathering, marking the first major event held by NAGC in collaboration with and hosted by an HBCU. With the assistance of Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, we engaged in conversation with Dr. Ida Jones, Associate Director of Special Collections & University Archivist at Morgan State University (MSU) who will serve as NAGC’s point of contact for the colloquium. We look forward to working with Dr. Jones as the colloquium continues to take shape.

When will the Colloquium Take Place?

Based on input from Dr. Jones and the MSU academic calendar, we are currently considering dates in mid-May.

Who from NAGC Will Participate?

One of the most challenging aspects of planning this inaugural event is keeping the event small and amenable to dialogue, listening and engagement. Although many NAGC members would represent the organization well, participation at this first meeting is limited primarily to the Board of Directors and our invited colloquium guests so we can maximize the number of perspectives from outside the field and create a welcoming, collaborative atmosphere. Fortunately, the Board is well-represented by equity-oriented experts who understand the impact of barriers that stem from deficit mindsets related to cultural, linguistic, and economic differences. One outcome of the colloquium will be new ideas for action, so we expect there will be an expanded opportunity for more members of the NAGC community to participate in future phases of this new initiative.

How Can I Support the Colloquium?

You can support the colloquium two ways. First, share your ideas! We welcome any thoughts about either the issues or objectives that should be on the agenda for a think-tank colloquium, or the names of leaders you know outside of gifted education who might be active, invested participants at a working meeting. You can send your ideas to us via email at Second, help financially! Given the uncertainty of the post-pandemic era, the Board is committed to funding the colloquium entirely outside of NAGCs annual operating budget. Money from the James J. Gallagher Memorial Fund will jumpstart fundraising, but it will not cover the total expense of the meeting. The working group is actively seeking additional support from individuals, foundations, and organizations outside of NAGC. One indicator that external funders value is the extent of support from within an organization—it is a sign of our united commitment to the cause. Contributing to the Gallagher Memorial Fund is one of the most important ways you can voice your support for this important initiative (to contribute to the Gallagher Memorial fund, click here). If you know of individuals, foundations, or organizations that would be interested in supporting our efforts, please let us know.

We are excited about this opportunity to open new doorways so that current and future generations of culturally, linguistically, or economically diverse gifted children can pursue their dreams, unencumbered. Stay tuned for more information as more details become available!

Shelagh Gallagher, Ph.D.
President-elect, NAGC Board of Directors

Tarek Grantham, Ph.D.
At-Large Director, NAGC Board of Directors