Founded in 1961, the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) is an organization of educators, administrators, students, families, and community members who are the leading voices for gifted and talented education.
We believe that giftedness is defined by diverse intellectual, academic, social, emotional, and creative traits, behaviors, and abilities within the Preschool-12th grade student populations in all California schools.
CAG provides the resources to support multiple identification options, appropriate developmental and differentiated curriculum practices, and responsive services to promote equity and access for diverse gifted students who include historically underrepresented, underserved, and those from varying cultural, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
By focusing on the gifts, talents, and potential of students, CAG’s philosophy and practices enhance the education of all students. Practices include:
- Parent and Family Support
- Educator Support
- Membership & Community Outreach Committee
- Legislative Action Committee
- Education Committee
- CAG Coalition for Educators of Color
- Annual CAG Conference
- CAG Summer Institute
- CAG Fall Institute
- CAG Access Webinars
Executives & Charipersons
Krisa Muller, President
Krisa Muller recently became the GATE program specialist for Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. Prior to that, Krisa was a cluster model and magnet school teacher in the GATE program for Placentia-Yorba Linda School District. Krisa received her MA in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. Krisa has served as the Orange Region Educator representative, Secretary, and now serves as President-Elect on the Executive Board.
Dr. Julia Nyberg, Executive Director
Dr. Julia Nyberg serves as the Executive Director for the California Association for the Gifted. Dr. Nyberg is a leading K-12, gifted, and curriculum development expert with professional experience in North America and Asia. Dr. Nyberg has taught, delivered demonstration lessons, and provided professional development for grades K-12 at various school districts. Dr. Nyberg serves as a faculty member in the School of Education at Purdue University Global. As a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), she holds a doctorate with an emphasis in Teacher Education. Dr. Nyberg’s research and practice focus on differentiated curriculum and instruction for diverse gifted and talented students.
Krista Landgraf, Past President
Krista Landgraf serves as President for the California Association for the Gifted. Krista Landgraf has had several roles for the California Association for the Gifted including Joshua Tree Educator Representative, Education Chair, and Parent Chair. Krista has been an elementary GATE teacher for 20 years and has received the Sarah D Barder-Johns Hopkins University Lifetime Fellowship Award, CAG Distinguished Service Award and Teacher of the Year for Chino, California from the State Assembly. Krista is a speaker throughout the state on gifted education and serves as an adjunct instructor for the UC Riverside GATE Certification Program.
Paula Simka, Secretary
Paula Simka embarked on her journey into gifted education in 2010 as a result of her volunteering work at her children’s school. Witnessing how gifted children often go through school without having their academic needs met has led her to switch gears, leaving her industrial engineering background and entering the world of gifted education. As a passionate and tireless advocate for gifted children, Paula has successfully worked with the school administrators and staff to build a gifted program. Having graduated from the Three Summers Program in Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut, she currently serves as the Gifted Coordinator for Discovery Charter Schools in San Jose, working with gifted students, providing advanced resources for teachers, and supporting parents of gifted children. Paula has served as the Santa Lucia Region Parent Representative since 2016, and now as the Secretary on the Executive Board.
Julie Hull, President-Elect
Paul Bailey, Treasurer
Paul Bailey has served as a teacher and administrator in California for the past twenty years. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the nationally recognized Western Center Academy in the Hemet Unified School District. The school focuses on STEM education and serving the unique needs of high achieving students. He has worked with his team to develop an innovative program that combines a variety of pathways through science exploration, Advanced Placement courses, and college coursework. Paul also serves on the California STEAM Symposium Steering Committee working to bring unique educational experiences to educators throughout the state. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands with a focus on Knowledge Management and Marketing and is an active member of the California Association of School Business Officials. Paul looks forward to continuing to build on the culture of success that CAG has developed over the past 50 years working to support students, parents, and educators throughout California.
Dr. Sandra Kaplan, Education Committee Chair
Dr. Sandra Kaplan is the editor of the Gifted Education Communicator, past President of the California Association for the Gifted and chair of both the Blue Ribbon Committee and Education Committee for the organization. Dr. Kaplan’s research focuses on non-traditional identification instruments to recognize underrepresented students as gifted. Dr. Kaplan has been recognized for her work, receiving the Award for Excellence from the Council of Exceptional Children, Service and Achievement awards from the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Research Award from the California Association for the Gifted.
Trish Chiles, Parent Representative Chair
Patricia Chiles is the GATE Coordinator for the Fullerton School District, working with teachers, students and parents to provide resources and strategies to support students’ diverse and varied needs with a focus on equity. Most recently she added a GATE Artistic Talent designation and programming for the district. Patricia is also the proud mom to three (very different!) gifted teens, giving her a unique perspective on the strengths and struggles of gifted students.
Nereida Prado, Equitable Access Committee Chair/
Jana Reveles, At-Large Representative (Creativity, Research)
Deniz Baloglu, At-Large Representative
Alicia Weyeneth, At-Large Representative
Alicia Weyeneth has been an advocate for gifted students in various capacities over the last 14 years in the Compton Unified School District. She has recently been appointed to Principal and aspires to have a GATE model school. Ms. Weyeneth has served as the District Administrator over GATE for many years, systemizing clear protocols for gifted identification in various domains, provided professional development for teachers, administrators, and parents, established a strong cohort of Site GATE Coordinators, created unique curriculum resources with the integration of GATE strategies, the Arts, and technology, served as a model GATE teacher, and organized many District GATE events.
Ms. Weyeneth has obtained two M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction and Administrative Leadership. She has a GATE Specialized Studies Certificate from UCI and worked several summers at the Summer Institute for the Gifted at Sierra Canyon. She has been a presenter and panelist at the California Association for the Gifted and World Council for Gifted and Talented Children conferences.
Andrea Zambrano, At-Large Representative
Andrea Zambrano is a Dual Immersion teacher who has taught in Jurupa Valley Unified School District for 8 years. Her driving force as an educator is to service her diverse community; to connect students and families to services that further develop cultural, linguistic and academic needs. She’s an advocate for early inclusion and identification of gifted students. She is currently a GATE coordinator in her district. She received her BA in Liberal Studies and Masters of Education from UC Riverside. She continues to work with the university by coaching and supporting the teachers of tomorrow.
Gary Saunders, At-Large Representative
Dr. Derek David Rouch, Chief Technology Officer
Derek David Rouch is committed to helping students become all they were born to be. He lives and breathes education, and has a particular interest in technology’s potential to serve underprivileged communities. Over the last 13 years, he has worked in the capacities of paraeducator, secondary math teacher, and school board member—as well as engagement strategist at a large tech startup. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer for Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District.
Derek began his postsecondary journey studying petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. He later received his master’s degree in digital teaching and learning from Azusa Pacific University. He earned his doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University.
Jobs & Representation
The California Association for the Gifted does not have any employment opportunities at this time.