California Association for the Gifted

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Executives and Chairpersons


ann-smithAnn Smith



Ann serves as President for the California Association for the Gifted. She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Gifted Support Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Center provides support to families of gifted children, offering assessments, consultations, parent groups, and resources, and works with underserved schools in the Bay Area providing a music and arts integrated language arts curriculum that is aligned with the CCSS and VAPA standards. Ann serves on the advisory board for the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, on the Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee for USC/US Department of Education Jacob Javits Grant Project CHANGE, on the Editorial Board for the Gifted Education Communicator, on a public policy committee for the Institute for Educational Advancement, and as an advisor to UPP, the Untapped Potential Project.

Jennette Harperjennette-harper



Jennette Harper has been a teacher and administrator for the past 39 years in Southern California.  She has worked with Gifted children in mathematics as a teacher and as an administrator she oversaw the GATE services for the Rialto Unified School District until she retired in 2016. She worked with identification and placement of the students, curriculum and instruction, differentiation and teacher training.  She was instrumental in bringing in partnerships for training of teachers and assisting them in earning their GATE certification.  She is the mother of two gifted adult children.  Currently is the Chief Financial Officer for the California Association for the Gifted and volunteers her time to continue the work of meeting the needs all students and supporting educators in that process.

krisamullerKrisa Muller


Krisa Muller recently became the GATE program specialist for PYLUSD. Prior to that, she was a cluster model and magnet school teacher in the GATE program for Placentia-Yorba Linda. Krisa received her MA in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. She has served as the Orange Region Educator representative for CAG and now serves as secretary.


Marie Thornsberry

(Communications Director)


Marie Thornsberry is the parent of two adult gifted sons. She has been involved with gifted education as both a teacher and administrator and recently retired from the Rialto Unified School District after thirty-three years. Marie has served on the CAG board for over fifteen years in various roles, such as Parent Representative and Educator Representative for the Joshua Tree Region, Parent Chair, Conference Chair, and most recently, she served as CAG President. She continues to advocate for appropriate services for gifted learners and enjoys working with parents to assist them in advocating for their children.

Joan Kerrjoan-kerr

(Past President)


Joan Lindsay Kerr is the Past-President of the California Association for the Gifted. Joan has been a member of CAG since 1985 and has served on the CAG Board as the Educator

Representative for the San Joaquin Region, as the Educator

Representative Chair, as President-Elect and chair of the CAG Conference Committee, and as President.  She is a co-author of the CAG publication, “The Leadership Challenge:  A Guidebook for Administrators.” Joan loved her 17 years as a middle school GATE teacher and remains passionate about meeting the needs of the gifted students of California.  She received a M.As. degree in Educational Administration and served as the GATE program coordinator for two school districts in Bakersfield.  Under her leadership, the Rosedale Union School District was the recipient of CAG’s Five Star GATE Program Award.

Jessica Manzoneimg_0963

(Educator Representative Chair)


University of Southern California, has been a Research Assistant on two Department of Education grants to assist in the collection and analysis of data. Dr. Manzone currently teaches at USC in the MAT program. She also has been instrumental in managing the grant resources and disseminating curriculum materials through direct interactions with grant affiliated administrators and teachers. Dr. Manzone has been recognized for her abilities to develop and present in school districts and conferences the principles of differentiated curriculum to educators. Her primary professional responsibilities throughout her career have been in Title I schools working with students of diversity. Dr. Manzone has co-authored three publications related to differentiated curriculum for gifted students. Currently, she is the co-author of a publication targeting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards of mathematical practice.

Krista Landgrafkrista-landraf

(Parent Representative Chair)


Krista Landgraf has served on the California Association for the Gifted for the last six years, during which time she has held the positions of Joshua Tree Educator Representative, Education Chair for the state and currently Parent Chair.  She 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. She is a speaker throughout the state on gifted education. She is also an adjunct teacher for UC- Riverside GATE Certification Program.


unknown-femaleSandra Kaplan

(Education Chair)


is the editor of the GEC, an active member and past president of the California Association for the Gifted and chair of both the Blue Ribbon Committee and Education Committee for the organization to research a non-traditional identification instrument to recognize the underrepresented students as gifted. Dr. Kaplan has recognition for her work, receiving awards for Excellence from the Council of Exceptional Children, National Association for the Gifted for Service and Achievement and Research awards from the California Association for the Gifted.

Kari Hanson Smith

(Legislation Chair)


Ms. Hanson-Smith is a tireless advocate for advanced learners. Eminently qualified, she has more than 15 years’ experience working in gifted education. Ms. Hanson-Smith earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Talented Education from the Three Summers program within the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. While there, she studied with Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis, authors of the Enrichment Triad Model, and the Schoolwide Enrichment Model.   Ms. Hanson-Smith’s breadth of expertise includes GATE program design, talent development, differentiating instruction at the K-8 level, the social and emotional needs of gifted individuals, working with students from diverse populations, and gifted education theory.  In addition to serving on the CAG Board as the current Capitol Region Education Representative, She is the Coordinator for GATE and AP Programs, Sacramento City Unified School District. She has also worked as a GATE Resource Teacher and as a classroom teacher.  She is passionately dedicated to urban gifted education and advocating for the academic and emotional needs of gifted and high ability learners in public school systems.

nybergJulia Nyberg

(Publications/Technology Chair)


Dr. Julia Nyberg received her doctorate in education from the University of Southern California (USC), with an emphasis in Teacher Education under the mentorship of Dr. Sandra Kaplan. Dr. Nyberg’s research and practice focus on differentiated curriculum and instruction for gifted and talented students. Dr. Nyberg has professional experience in California and China. Dr. Nyberg has taught, delivered demonstration lessons, and provided professional development for grades K-12 at various school districts in California.


Anna Williamsunknown-female

(CAG PAC Chair)


Anna Williams has been on the CAG board since 1998 as Parent Rep, Educator Chair, President and currently CAG PAC Chair. In addition to serving on the board, she is the parent of three grown children and a classroom teacher of over 30 years. In 1996 she received her Master’s Degree from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. In 2004 she was a founding teacher at Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School, a National Blue Ribbon Award School in 2016. Anna continues to advocate for students and families at both the state and local level.

Dana Reupertimg_0962

(Public Relations/Membership Chair)


Dana is a former GATE Teacher, K-12 GATE Coordinator. and Principal in Riverside USD.  She has served twice as CAG President and twice as CAG Secretary, in addition to being the Joshua Tree Education Representative.  She is presently Chair of the California Foundation for Gifted Education, a CAG Board Member, (partial) UC Riverside Extension Instructor for the GATE Certificate Program, a member of Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce Business/Education Council, and Chair of the Annual Riverside College and Career Fair.  She presents at the California Association for the Gifted, National Association for Gifted Children, and World Council for Gifted Education Conferences.

kathy-alexander-2Kathy Alexander

(Special Needs Chairperson)


Kathy has been a middle school teacher for the past twenty-two years in Rincon Valley Union School District in Santa Rosa. She has been involved in gifted education for seventeen of those years, including time as site GATE mentor teacher, GATE Identification Committee member, CAG board member (Educator Representative for four years, and currently, Membership Chair), and now, GATE Coordinator and Consulting Teacher with Rincon Valley. She earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on Educational Technology at Sonoma State.  Her thesis focused on Higher-Level Thinking within the Student-Centered Classroom. When not working to help teachers meet the academic needs of their gifted students, she enjoys reading, being outside, and spending time with her grandchildren.


img_0951Lucas Thornsberry

(GEC Webmaster)

Lucas Thornsberry graduated UC Santa Cruz in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science: Computer Game Design.  After graduating, he worked for Intel Corporation as a computer software validation engineer, where he identified and debugged potential issues with the design of video processing hardware on Intel microprocessors.  In 2014, he left Intel to become an independent software developer to design and create phone applications and games.  Since 2015, Lucas has managed the editing and publishing of CAG’s quarterly online journal- the Gifted Education Communicator

DSC00966 (1)Kristyna Mason

(CAG Website Developer and Graphic Designer)

Kristyna Mason is majoring in Computer Science with an emphasis in International Relations at Fort Hays State University. In her adolescent years Kristyna resided in Singapore and now lives in Highland, California. Kristyna has a background in developing various professional and social websites, as well as designing unique graphics including logos and other artistic digital designs. Currently, she manages various international organisations and businesses and is the website developer and graphic designer for California Association for the Gifted.