Parent Support Group | Services | Institute for Educational Advancement


Supporting a gifted child
is often challenging.

As parents and educators, it can be difficult to understand how best to meet the complex needs of gifted children. During the school year, IEA offers complimentary monthly Gifted Support Group meetings featuring  professionals who are experts on various aspects of gifted youth. These meetings provide support and community, a venue for shared discovery, and a space to exchange resources and ideas. Sharing experiences with other parents and educators who interact with gifted children has proven to be enormously helpful.

In order to assist the widest range of families, we will be livestreaming the meetings on our Facebook page, unless otherwise noted.


Upcoming Meetings

Laying the Foundation: How to Support Your Gifted Child From the Start

Speaker: Maya Sissoko

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 • 6:00 p.m. PDT
Virtual, via Zoom

If we’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that we can’t control much aside from ourselves. This is often true in parenting as well. In this presentation, gifted specialist and parent coach Maya Sissoko, will discuss the job of parenting and share practical strategies to cultivate a rich, secure relationship between you and your child — starting in their early years and carrying on to adulthood.

About the Speaker

In 2014, after teaching in schools for over 25 years and working with hundreds of gifted children and their parents, Maya Sissoko founded Whole Child Education. Maya was a highly sensitive, gifted child in a system that didn’t understand her needs. As a result, it has become her life’s work and passion to understand her gifts and offer them to those who have similar needs. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education and worked in schools on the east coast before becoming a lead teacher and teacher-trainer for 15 years at The Nueva School, the Bay Area’s preeminent school for gifted education. Her original curriculum design on ancient Egypt was highlighted by the Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times author Thomas Friedman in his book, That Used to Be Us, in the chapter “Average Is Over.”

She is also the parent of a 24-year-old, her greatest achievement to date. The journey was a marathon with moments when she wasn’t sure if she would make it. Her son attended The Nueva School for 10 years. He attended Santa Barbara City College and then transferred to UC Berkeley. He currently attends Harvard Law School.

Whole Child Education is continually growing and evolving in order to respond in real-time to the ever-changing educational needs of children and parents. Maya has always promoted learning outside of the traditional framework and offers a level of expertise that is necessary especially when so many parents are questioning mainstream education and wondering about other options. She is available for private teaching, parent coaching & advising, as well as educational consulting.


Click here to visit our Youtube page to view recordings of past Gifted Support Groups. 

Past Meetings

Never waste a good crisis! A positive look at educating during COVID.

Speaker: Sharon Duncan

At no time in recent history have families and educators faced as much challenge as they do today. While these problems are very real, some unexpected good is coming from these changes.

Forced beyond their comfort zone, schools and educators are seeing results from solutions they would normally be hesitant to try. Parents are getting a front row seat as to how their children learn (or don’t) and are crafting insightful solutions that they will be able to use for years to come. Best of all, parents and educators are expressing more mutual empathy than ever before and are partnering to understand and meet individual needs. 

Flexibility is the key to educating gifted and 2e children, so we will discuss ways for parents to increase their chances of getting what their child needs from their teachers. Finally, we will open the meeting to facilitated discussion where we can share experiences and solutions because community is needed now more than ever. 

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020

Time: 6:00 pm PDT

Location: Online


About the Speaker

Sharon Duncan is an independent consultant.  She works with parents, educators, schools, districts, psychologists and pediatricians to help them understand and meet the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted children. Sharon consults with parents on behavioral concerns, educational decisions and options, provides training on the innate characteristics and behaviors of giftedness to educators so that they can practice their craft more effectively, and teams with parents and educators to find solutions to the wide variety of challenges that often accompany these complex children.  Prior to her work with Gifted Identity, she spent 26 years working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Sharon has served on the governing boards of both public and private schools.  A regular presenter at State and National conferences, she and a partner are completing a research study of identify formation in the parents of gifted children.  Sharon is co-founder of both gifted Identity, and Gifted Research and Outreach, a non-profit entity with the mission to promote a comprehensive and accurate understanding of giftedness through research and outreach.

Watch the recorded presentation here. 

Preparing for and Launching a Gifted Student into Young Adulthood and Independence

Speaker: Dan Greenwood, Educational Consultant, Greenwood Associates

Click here to watch the recording!

How can you set your Gifted adolescent student up for long-term success? Start by helping them learn about themselves, leverage their strengths, and identify a career to work towards. Then plan with that end in mind, making sure their education, internships, volunteer opportunities are giving them an opportunity to learn more about their chosen career so that they can further pursue that career with confidence or make adjustments to their thinking based on actual experience and knowledge. This presentation shows you how to go through this process with a student who is 15 or more years old.

About the Speaker

Dan Greenwood, Ed.D., M.Ed., is an educator with over 30 years experience helping students realize their full potential. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in Education from the University of Virginia. As president of Greenwood Associates, Dr. Greenwood trains and supports career and educational consultants and educational programs in the Greenwood System. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

College Admission 101 for Families

Speaker: Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech

Click here to watch the recorded webinar! 

This discussion will provide tips and insight for families about the college admission experience. From creating a college list to visiting campus to understanding how admission decisions are really made, Mr. Clark will provide insider perspective and thought-provoking questions for your family to be asking as you consider college options.

About the Speaker

Rick Clark is the Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech. In this role, he directs the Institute’s recruitment and enrollment efforts, manages the review and selection of all undergraduate applications, and leads the admission team.

Rick has served on numerous admission boards and advisory groups at both the regional and national level. He is a current member of a NACAC’s Committee on Leadership in College Admission and immediate Past Chair of the national Government Relations Committee. Rick travels annually to U.S. embassies through the Department of State to discuss the admission process and landscape of higher education. He was part of the 2018 Georgia Leadership Class, which exists to cultivate leaders across the state.

Over the last four years he has written a regular blog on the college admission process and topics regarding affordability of college. Rick is frequently quoted and referenced in national and international publications. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together.

A native of Atlanta, he earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.Ed. from Georgia State University. Prior to coming to Tech, Rick was on the admissions staff at Georgia State, The McCallie School and Wake Forest University.

Question and Answer Forum with IEA President Betsy Jones

Speaker: Ms. Betsy Jones, IEA President

Click here to watch the recording!

IEA President, Betsy Jones, is leading a Gifted Support Group for a community Q&A. Ms. Jones is an expert in the gifted field and will be taking your questions and answering them live. We encourage you to submit questions early by replying to your confirmation email as well as asking questions during the event. This discussion is free and will take place via zoom. A link will be sent upon registration.

About the Speaker

Ms. Jones has been an educator, researcher and administrator of educational programs for over 30 years. She holds a Master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California and has completed doctoral work in the field of educational policy and learning theory. Ms. Jones served as the Associate Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Director of the Western Region for ten years prior to founding the Institute for Educational Advancement in 1998. While at CTY, Elizabeth served as Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Sally Ride and Dr. JoBea Way for a NASA and National Science Foundation sponsored educational initiative called KidSat. She received recognition from the National Diffusion Network for the creation and implementation of exemplary programs for underserved gifted students and specialized in the intellectual, social and emotional needs of students. She created and implemented the SDB teacher recognition program and expanded the scope of services at CTY. As President of IEA she was contracted to assist in the creation and implementation of the Davidson Young Scholars program. She went on to lead in the creation and implementation of the award-winning Yunasa summer camp for the gifted and the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program. Ms. Jones currently serves on the Advisory Board for GRO Gifted and the Board of Directors for Math Academy.

IEA Gifted Support Group Meetings



• Learn the theory and application of a holistic approach for gifted children
• Meet, share with, and learn from educators and other parents of gifted children
• Get in-depth information on a variety of topics related to gifted youth and education


Past topics have included:

  • Giftedness Identification & IQ Testing
  • Homeschooling Parent Panel
  • Accelerated Gifted Education
  • Enhancing the Emotional Functioning of Gifted Children
  • Exploring Non-Traditional Education Options in a Standardized World
  • Gifted Resource Swap and Play Date
  • Twice-Exceptional Parent Panel
  • Emotional Freedom Therapy


To see upcoming gifted support group meeting topics and details, please visit the Upcoming Events page of our website. Questions or would like to suggest a speaker or topic? Email Amber McClarin at

Consulting for Youth & Families
Consulting with Educators
Gifted Support Group
Speaking Engagements
Join the group! For information about our next gifted support group meeting, visit our upcoming events page.

“IEA provides a wealth of information and is the best resource we’ve found for support and guidance in the gifted community.”

– IEA Parent