Paying Tribute to Hispanic/Latino Scholars in Gifted Education: Past and Present

Dr. Jaime A. Castellano

September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, often seen as an opportunity to celebrate the lives, culture, and contributions of the 63 million Hispanics in the U.S. The month is celebrated until October 15 and recognizes Hispanic leaders and historic moments.

What a perfect time to celebrate and pay tribute to the Hispanic/Latino scholars in the field of gifted and talented education. Celebrating who they are, where they come from, and what they have done leaves a legacy for other Hispanic scholars to follow.

My very first scholarly encounter in the field of gifted education occurred in 1980, over 40 years ago. I was just accepted into graduate school at Northern Illinois University’s College of Education, and I decided to take a class the summer before the start of the fall semester. I chose a gifted education course because the description in the course catalog sounded interesting. The class provided only a cursory mention of giftedness among culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. I found this unsettling and that would serve as a catalyst for a career in gifted education.

I was not aware then of any scholars who were Hispanic/Latino. As the years progressed and my interest transitioned to writing, speaking, and advocacy in gifted education, I came across many individuals who inspired me, who mentored me, and helped me make a difference. Through this Blog post, I acknowledge and honor them; as well as contemporary leaders in the field who continue to carry the torch by writing, speaking, and advocating for culturally and linguistically diverse gifted students. The list is in by no means exhaustive; and I apologize in advance if I have left anyone off of it. Please take some time to learn more these important Hispanic/Latino scholars, practitioners, and advocates.

Hispanic/Latino Scholars/Leaders in Gifted Education: Past and Present

Dr. Ernesto Bernal 1950s-2000s: Texas


Known as the “Father of Gifted Education for Hispanic Students”

Mentor, Author, Speaker, Advocate, Scholar, Practitioner

Dr. Norma Hernandez 1980s-2000s: Florida, Louisiana


Project GOTCHA: A Title VII Academic Excellence Program: USDOE

Mentor, Author, Speaker, Scholar, Advocate, Practitioner


Dr. Nilda Aguirre

1980s-2020s: Florida, Louisiana

Project GOTCHA: A Title VII Academic Excellence Program: USDOE

Kreative Kids

Mentor, Author, Speaker, Advocate, Practitioner

Dr. Eva Diaz Late 1990s/Early 2000s: Connecticut

Co-Author of Groundbreaking Book Titled: Reaching New Horizons: Gifted and Talented Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

Author, Speaker, Advocate

Dr. Rosa Isela Perez Late 1990s/Early 2000s: California

Practitioner in San Diego Public Schools

Curriculum Research

Author, Speaker, Advocate

Dr. Jim Granada 1980s-Early2000s: Texas, Kansas Author, Speaker, Scholar, Advocate, Mentor, Practitioner
Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio 1980s-Early 2000s: Texas, Kansas

Scholar, Author, Advocate

Interest in Policy Issues

Dr. Virginia Gonzalez 1990s-Early 2000s: Ohio, Texas

Author, Scholar, Speaker, Advocate

Interest in Biracial and Bicultural Gifted Students

Interest in Cognitive and Language Development

Dr. Dina Brulles 1990s-Present: Arizona Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner, Leader in the Field
Dr. Michelle Pacheco DuBois 2000s-Present: Colorado Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner, Leader in the Field
Dr. Carlota Loya Hernandez 2000s-Present: Colorado Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner, Leader in the Field
Dr. Paul (PJ) Sedillo 2000s-Present: New Mexico

Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner, Leader in the Field

Interest in G/L/B/T/Q Gifted Students

Dr. Nielsen Pereira 2000s-Present: Indiana

Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner, Leader in the Field

Hope Rating Scale

Up and Coming Hispanic/Latino Scholars in the Field
Dr. Fabio Andres Para-Martinez Present: Indiana Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner
Dr. Karen E. Rambo Present: Texas Author, Scholar, Speaker, Practitioner
German Cardenas Present: Wisconsin Practicioner


Jaime A. Castellano, Ed.D. is a nationally recognized and award-winning educator, principal, author, scholar, and researcher. In 2017 he was recognized as SENG’s National Educator of the Year. As a highly sought-after speaker, he is recognized as one of the leading authorities in the United States in the education of Hispanic/Latino students.


The views expressed here are not necessarily those of NAGC