The VAGTC is a parent and educator-led not-for-profit incorporated body that is committed to advocating for the identification and appropriate support, education, and development of gifted potential in children across the state of Victoria.
Meet the President
Mr Mark Smith – President
Master of Education (Gifted and Talented), completed via course work and research (Monash University). Most passionate about mentoring and inquiry learning programs that engage and inspire gifted learners, enabling passion research, processes for learning, and ultimate student autonomy. Presenter and writer of VAGTC seminars. Former Head of Gifted and Talented at Carey Grammar and Mentone Grammar.
Dr Susan Nikakis – Vice President
Doctorate of Education. Thesis title: “What Makes an Expert Teacher of the Gifted”. Senior Gifted Education Officer for Catholic Education Melbourne. A passionate advocate for gifted children, with the mantra ‘different not more!!!’
Ms Catherine Frost – Treasurer
Chartered Accountant, Tax Advisor, Bachelor of Business/Arts (Swinburne University). A parent who is passionate about schools and the wider community understanding what gifted mean and that in the future every teacher understands the importance of wellbeing and that gifted and talented children need to be challenged at school.
Dr Anna Pollard – Secretary
Phd (RMIT), Master of Education, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma of Education (La Trobe). Developed and managed literacy support and gifted education programs in both state and catholic schools in Victoria. Expertise and passion in gifted education – to provide professional development for teachers in order to build program that are targeted, appropriate and supportive of the needs of gifted and talented students. Writer and presenter of VAGTC seminars.
Mr Michael Bond
Bachelor of Information Systems (University of Tasmania), Master of Science in Education (Troy University), Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Passionate about meeting the unique needs of all students. Chair of the VAGTC Governance Subcommittee. Expertise in curriculum, policy and strategy development.
Ms Kathy Harrison
Master of Education (ICTE), Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Science. Former Coordinator of gifted education in the Compass Centre and Exemplary Teacher at Methodist Ladies’ College. 2018 recipient of the Australian Mathematics Trust Teaching Award. A passionate gifted student advocate, enthusiastic about social justice and a community volunteer. Expertise and experience as a VAGTC seminar presenter and exemplar of theory to practice in gifted education.
Ms Irene Anderson
Experience with Independent Schools Victoria as Senior Education Advisor and Manager Digital Content. This work includes consultancy, professional learning, representative tasks and support for leadership and staff in schools.
Ms Amy Horneman
Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics), Bachelor of Arts/Education (Secondary). Gifted education practitioner (Northside Christian College) and VAGTC seminar presenter. Passionate about fostering positive home-school partnerships, advocating with and for parents of gifted children and seeing all (but particularly gifted) children happy and loving learning inside and outside of school.’
History of the Organisation
One of the aims of the VAGTC is to raise the awareness in the educational community of the research evidence that underpins gifted education, creativity, and talent development, and to develop community (families, educators, and policymakers) knowledge and understanding of gifted potential and best practices inside and outside the classroom.
The VAGTC is also committed to raising community awareness and knowledge of the needs of children diagnosed as twice exceptional — gifted potential and with learning challenges or disabilities including appropriate teaching strategies for their talent development. The VAGTC provides professional development programs, conferences, and seminars for educators and families across Victoria.
The VAGTC also promotes collaboration between academics, educators, and psychological experts as well as government agencies and relevant organizations to build awareness and acceptance, and advise on educational policies that support the needs and potential of children and students in Victoria.
As a not-for-profit incorporated body, the VAGTC operates under a constitution and is committed to the following:
To recognize and identify the existence and needs of the gifted potential of children and students in Victoria and enable their talent development
To act as a professional association for educators and families interested in supporting and developing gifted potential in children and students
To encourage and support professional learning for educators and families across Victoria through our DET-supported and VIT-approved training programs
To raise the awareness in the educational community of the research evidence that underpins gifted education, creativity and talent development
To develop educators’ knowledge and understanding of gifted children and students and best practices inside and outside the classroom
To raise awareness and knowledge amongst educators and parents of the needs of gifted students diagnosed as twice exceptional (high potential and with learning challenges) including appropriate teaching strategies for their talent development
To develop and support educational programs for gifted students
To promote collaboration between academics, educators, and psychological experts as well as government agencies to encourage awareness, acceptance, and support of the needs and potential of children and students in Victoria
To collaborate with appropriate organizations and agencies to advise on educational policies for gifted children and students
To lobby key stakeholders in Victoria including politicians, universities, schools
To collaborate and facilitate research on the nature of giftedness to further develop the field of gifted education both in Australia and internationally
To maintain contacts with similar organizations and associations within Australia, including acting as Victorian affiliate with the Australian Association for the Education of Gifted and Talented (AAEGT) and the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC)
To do all other things which are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above purposes
The VAGTC is committed to upholding best practices and abiding by policies as set out by our Constitution and the laws and regulations of Australia. Ours is a shared commitment to maintain the highest standards of ethics and to reflect the values of the VAGTC in everything we do.