Speaker/Attendee Biographies M-R

Bios as submitted by attendees. Please send any changes to Bridges 2e Center: admin@2esymposium.com 🙂

Dr. Devon MacEachron is a psychologist with a private assessment and educational planning practice in New York City focused on meeting the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional learners. She writes and speaks about twice-exceptionality, ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, academic motivation, enrichment focused on children’s interests, neurodiversity, and the strengths associated with being wired differently. Devon and her husband are the parents of two twice-exceptional children.

Dr. Melissa Malen
As owner of AxyLu Academics, I provide academic coaching for gifted and twice exceptional students through collaboration with students and their teachers, counselors, and parents. I support students by collaborating to identify learning accommodations that create bridges over learning challenges that are caused by disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia, nonverbal learning disability, ASD, anxiety, and depression and a result is increased student achievement. I also educate parents and teachers about how disabilities affect a student’s ability to perform in school and help demonstrate how underachievement is influenced by challenges in executive function behaviors such as organization, planning, persisting to complete work, and emotional self-regulation. I also give professional development trainings to administrators, teachers, counselors, residential advisors, and parent groups. I enjoy presenting at conferences on the topics of academic coaching and twice exceptional students. I am also a board member at the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented.

Patti Mangan (patti@imaginethatsf.com) is the Creative Director of Imagine That Design Studio in San Francisco. Her firm provides design and marketing services to domestic and international clients – providing insightful and rewarding results that lead to growth, community and profits  Patti serves on the Marketing Committee for Bridges 2e Center for Research and Professional Development as well as drives the ongoing brand development for Bridges Education Group.

In addition she serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA USA and PICYA. Imagine That publishes the N. CA Yachting Yearbook serving over 100+ Yacht Clubs and the boating industry. She is a sailor, a mentor and a leader in all the endeavors she takes on.

Mary McInerney teaches in the Phoenix Program at Bridges Academy. She received her BA in Elementary Education at the City College of New York, and her MA in Gifted Education at the College of New Rochelle. She holds Certifications in both Gifted Education and in Teaching Literacy. Mary previously was a classroom teacher in New York, and she also has extensive experience in consulting for numerous school districts in the area specializing in identifying and accommodating for gifts and talents in students. Prior to Bridges, she spent several years as an educational consultant specializing in working with 2e students and their families.

Amber McClarin is dedicated to connecting students to resources that can help them expand their potential. Prior to joining the IEA team, she held a marketing and outreach role at a private Los Angeles area high school where she especially enjoyed connecting with the students outside the classroom and using those opportunities to guide their developing views of themselves and the world.  Amber obtained her BFA from the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about documentary films, history and reading.

Max Melby has been immersed in the world twice‐exceptional education since 2014, when he joined the team at Arete Academy —‐ a school serving 2e students in St. Louis Park, MN. As the Director of Arete Academy, Max actively pursues the continued development of effective instructional strategies for 2e learners. Max has been so happy to find his place in the 2e world, where none of the answers are all that straightforward but nearly all of the questions are amazing.

Dr. Ana Miro has 39 years of experience in the fields of Special Education, Gifted, Twice Exceptional, Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. She has performed as a teacher in the public and private system in Puerto Rico and USA, and as a full professor at the university level. She has served as an educational expert witness in court cases related to Special Education. Since 2011, she has been the coordinator of the only 2e project in Puerto Rico in which direct services are provided to students, families and professionals. Research is a strong component of this project. Individualized case studies are conducted to determine appropriateness of the educational process of 2e students. A support group focus on empowering families to help them understand and actively participate in the educational process of their kids. This pioneer project has set the path to advance the 2e field in Puerto Rico.

Teresa Nair is a creative and experienced leader in education and business. Teresa has taught in almost every sector of education (public, private schools along with 1:1, homeschooling etc.) and co-founded a Learning Studio in Silicon Valley, California. Teresa works hard to create curriculum and learning experiences for her clients that reflect the knowledge she gained from her dynamic background and high-tech career working for global tech giants like PayPal/eBay. Recently, Teresa dissolved her Learning Studio partnership and left to focus on new opportunities. In June of 2019, Teresa became the President of the Board of Directors for SNP (Special Needs Professionals of Silicon Valley). SNP, is a multi-disciplinary, non-profit professional networking organization that strives to better support professionals who help families and children with unique needs. Teresa continues to consult and support 2e students and their families who are interested in, or have chosen, a non-traditional education path.

Susan Ng
Sue is based in Auckland, New Zealand. She works in a co-educational secondary school as the coordinator for the schools Learning Enrichment and Acceleration Program (LEAP) for gifted and talented students, as well as teaching senior sciences. Sue also guest lectures at the University of Auckland and runs professional learning and development sessions for teachers and support staff, focused on meeting the needs of gifted students in NZ schools.

Sue completed her PhD exploring 2E students development of identity and learning capability in a sample of NZ schools, in 2018. This was a grounded theory study resulting in the development of explanatory theory regarding the conceptualization of 2E learner difference. She is hoping to conduct further research in this area in the near future.

Sue is passionate about making a difference for 2E students, who are typically under-identified and under-resourced in New Zealand schools. Sue is married with 4 children.

Hank Nicols a former high school social studies teacher, military police officer, police chief, is a former adjunct professor for Buffalo State, SUNY. He is the Dean of Graduate Programs at Bridges Graduate School and  has presented programs across the United States, in Europe, Japan, Asia, Africa, and South America. Hank has done significant research on social and emotional issues, and is the author of four books. Hank is an Eagle Scout who enjoys hiking, backpacking, canoeing, mountain climbing, and presenting programs around the world. He spent a six-month sabbatical solo hiking 2,174.9 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States, but is now focused on this Graduate School Programs at Bridges.

Harri O’Kelley I’m excited to be part of the 2E community, and I love teaching my kids to embrace their exceptionalities and advocate for themselves. I am a parent advocate whose most rewarding and inspiring job is being a mom to my three 2e children. I am passionate about therapies and approaches to improve education. My homegrown O’Kelley Lab supports novel ideas and approaches such as Terry Hart’s award-winning Mime as Therapy program, the Keys to Reward behavior chart and app, and the “O’Kelley Legends” monologues project. You can learn more at www.theokelleylab.com.

Bonnie O’Regan is a veteran teacher and administrator with extensive education, training in and experience as a teacher for talented and gifted students. O’Regan leads the Greenwich, CT, Advanced Learning Program, the oldest established continuous program in the state of Connecticut and considered an exemplary program across the nation. She advocates for the unique educational and affective needs of gifted and talented children and helps others learn how to meet these needs effectively in our schools, families, and communities. Bonnie is an active board member of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted, currently serving as the President.  O’Regan has been recognized by numerous associations for her work including Connecticut Association for the Gifted “Administrator of the Year” in 2012 and was recently awarded the 2019 “Gifted Coordinator Award” by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).

Rick Olenchak currently serves as Head of the Educational Studies Department, Professor of Educational Psychology & Research Methodology, and Professor in the Gifted Education Research & Resource Institute at Purdue University. Having taught grades 2 through 11, including teaching at a specialized school for 2-e students, he served as a P-12 Director of Talent Development Education in two school districts and as director of two public school Federal grants in gifted education. He has been principal at both elementary and middle schools, a training specialist for a corporation interested in developing talent, a research associate at a state department of education, and has operated a private psychological consulting practice focusing on the developmental needs of children and youth with 2-e. His research focuses on challenges that inhibit talent development, but he is particularly interested in verifying interventions that homes and schools can use to unmask and nurture talent.

Stephanie Pepi is the director of Starfish Social Club in San Antonio, Texas. Starfish Social Club provides direct, small group social skills instruction to kids, teens, and adults with social learning challenges. Opened in 2019, ASPIRE Academy provides a student-directed, executive functioning fueled learning environment for students with social learning challenges. Stephanie is an experienced special education teacher, autism/behavior specialist, and school administrator.

Dan Peters is a psychologist, author, co-founder and Executive Director of the Summit Center. Dr. Peters has devoted his career to the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and families, specializing in overcoming worry and fear, learning differences such as dyslexia, and issues related to giftedness and twice-exceptionality. Dr. Dan is also co-founder of Parent Footprint, an interactive parenting education community and website that offers Parent Footprint Awareness Training with the mission to make the world a more compassionate and loving place — one parent and one child at a time. He is host of the “Parent Footprint Podcast with Dr. Dan” and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.​ He is also the author of the “Worrier to Warrior” series.

Sharie Pulis
Former high school teacher. Currently, homeschooling 2e son. Interested in learning more about strengths-based approach to teaching, applying it to my son’s learning plan, and eager to share what I learn with my community.

Randi Rasco received her B.S. degree in psychology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 2002, and her M.A. degree in Community Counseling from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on 2007. She has an EC-12 Special Education Certification and has worked as a GT facilitator and GT teacher at the campus level for five years. She has worked as a district level Gifted and Talented Education Instructional Specialist (GATE-IS) for San Antonio ISD for the past 4 years.

Debbie Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and the founder of TiLT Parenting, a resource, top podcast, and community for parents who are raising differently wired children. The TiLT Parenting Podcast has grown to be a top podcast in iTunes’ Kids and Family category, with more than 1 million downloads and a slate of guests that includes high-profile thought leaders across the parenting and education space. A regular contributor to Psychology Today and ADDitude Magazine, Debbie’s newest book is Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World (Workman Publishing, 2018). In November 2018, she spoke at TEDxAmsterdam, delivering a talk entitled Why the Future Will Be Differently Wired. After living in the Netherlands for the past five years, Debbie, her husband, and 15-year-old 2e son recently moved back to New York City.

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli is a leader and pioneer in gifted education and applying the pedagogy of gifted education teaching strategies to all students. The American Psychological Association named him among the 25 most influential psychologists in the world. He received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Award for Innovation in Education, considered by many to be “the Nobel” for educators, and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted and Talented. His work on the Three Ring Conception of Giftedness, the Enrichment Triad Model and curriculum compacting and differentiation were pioneering efforts in the 1970s, and he has contributed hundreds of books, book chapters, articles, and monographs to the professional literature, many of which have been translated to other languages. Dr. has received more than $50 million in research grants and several million dollars of additional funding for professional development and service projects. Dr. Renzulli established UConn’s annual Confratute Program with Professor Sally Reis. This summer institute on enrichment-based differentiated teaching has served more than 35,000 teachers from around the world since 1978.He is also the founder along with Dr. Reis of the Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy in Hartford, Connecticut which has become a model for local and national urban school reform for high potential/low income students.

Dr. Sara Renzulli is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining the faculty at the Neag School of Education, Dr. Renzulli was the Learning Specialist and Academic Counselor for UConn Athletics. Dr. Renzulli received her Master’s in School Counseling and Educational Psychology in 2011 and her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology in 2013, both from the University of Connecticut. In 2018 Dr. Renzulli and Dr. Nicholas Gelbar co-founded Educational Testing and Consulting, https://www.educationaltestingandconsulting.com/. Dr. Renzulli, lives with her family in Connecticut.

Jade Rivera graduated with a degree in Chemistry from The Evergreen State College in 2002. Shortly after, she was awarded the renowned Fulbright Scholarship for study in Thailand. After a brief, successful yet unfulfilling career as a chemist, she made a switch to alternative education and has been designing innovative learning environments ever since. Jade’s passion for education lead her to design the Sunnyside Micro-School, for 2e children in Oakland, CA. She also wrote a book, Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget, which is meant to inspire others to consider micro-schools for g/2e children. More recently Jade was honored by the California Association for the Gifted for distinguished service on behalf of g/2e children. Her newest publication, Could You Live Underwater: A Design Thinking and STEM Curriculum is available now. Jade is currently working towards her Ed.D in cognitive diversity at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity.

Tom Ropelewski, a graduate of Dartmouth College, has written, produced and directed for film and television.   His film credits include LOVERBOY, MADHOUSE, LOOK WHO’S TALKING NOW and THE NEXT BEST THING. His work in documentary includes the award-winning CHILD OF GIANTS: My Journey with Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange as well as 2e: Twice Exceptional and its sequel 2e2: Teaching the Twice Exceptional, which focus on the challenges and rewards of twice-exceptional education and features staff, teachers and students from Bridges Academy.  2e was named “Best Documentary Feature” at the 2015 Richmond International Film Festival, “Audience Choice: Best Feature Film” at the 2015 Silver Springs International Film Festival and “Best Social Benefit Documentary” at the 2015 Eugene International Film Festival.

Ropelewski currently serves on the Bridges Academy Board of Trustees and is married to screenwriter Leslie Dixon (MRS. DOUBTFIRE, HAIRSPRAY, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and LIMITLESS).

Ellen Rosen, the Chair of the Bridges Academy Board of Trustees, is an attorney who received her JD from Villanova University School of Law and earned her BA with honors in psychology at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. She was associated with the law firm of Simke Chodos in Los Angeles where she practiced in commercial and business litigation. Prior to her tenure at Simke Chodos, she was associated with the firm of Lamb, Windle & McErlane in Pennsylvania and practiced in business, real estate, municipal and governmental law. She is married to Martin Rosen. They have three children, one of whom graduated from Bridges Academy.