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Cullowhee, NC 28723
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Kristy WagnerKristy Wagner completed her MAEd at WCU in special education gifted studies in December. She has been a middle school teacher for 12 years and an AIG specialist for the past seven. This spring she is teaching an undergraduate online class in differentiation practices for gifted learners. At the National Association of Gifted Children 2008 Conference, she presented information on a collaborative artist investigation unit and was awarded second place at the Research Gala for research conducted in a graduate program.


Leah McMinnLeah McMinn attended Western Carolina University from 2000-2004 where she received an undergraduate degree in elementary education. She continued at WCU and received her Master's degree in education in spring of 2007. This is Leah's third year teaching the 6th grade academically gifted social studies and science class at Rugby Middle School.

Diane SmithDiane Smith has taught for twenty-one years in elementary and middle schools in Tennessee and North Carolina. This is her eighth year in the AIG program in Henderson County. She serves two elementary schools and team teaches a sixth grade honors math class at Rugby Middle School. She has a MAEd in elementary education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and AIG licensure.

Linda Thoresen and Jonnie WalkingstickLinda Thoresen and Jonnie Walkingstick have a combined teaching career of 50 years.  Linda resides in Maggie Valley and Jonnie lives on the 3200-acre tract of Cherokee Indian Reservation  (Qualla Boudary). They have taught at Cherokee Elementary since 1990 and 1994 respectively. Currently they co-teach the reading component of the gifted and talented program.  Both hold a firm belief that a life-long love of reading is an essential foundation for success. 


Jasmin Poor teaches third grade at Charles Town Center, an all gifted school in Greenville, SC. Jasmin is a graduate of Western Carolina University where she earned her MAEd in special education with an emphasis in gifted education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an emphasis in language arts from Michigan State University. She has previously worked in Henderson County, NC, in a third grade classroom.


Bob HoughtonDr. Bob Houghton is associate professor of technology in the Department of Elementary and Middle Grades Education at WCU, teaching courses in computers in education, multimedia education and distance education. He earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with an educational computing specialty from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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