Excitement is building for Exploring New Frontiers, and our conference program is quickly coming together. SENG is thrilled to announce the conference’s keynote speakers:
About Jen Merrill
Jen Merrill is an Illinois-based writer, blogger, flutist, and gifted family advocate .The mom of two boys, she homeschools her twice-exceptional teen while happily sending his brother off to high school every morning. She is a music educator by trade, with degrees in music education and flute performance; Jen justifies those degrees with a large private flute studio and as principal flute of the North Suburban Wind Ensemble. Long before she picked up a flute as a chid, however, Jen wanted to be a writer. Her book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional , struck a nerve with families who then suspected Jen was living in their closet. Her second book, on the needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress. In addition to writing on her long-time blog, Laughing at Chaos , she has published articles in the Understanding Our Gifted Journal , the 2e Newsletter, and the Huffington Post .
Jen is a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Ambassador and has presented at the National Association for Gifted Children conference (2013), the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children conference (2013), SENG’s annual conferences (2016-18), the Illinois Association for Gifted Children Parents’ Day (2017-18), and was the keynote speaker for the Twice-Exceptional Children’s Advocacy conference (2016). She brings both her acquired wisdom and her experience as a teacher and mentor to her work in the service of parents, helping them learn new techniques and mentoring them into their own versions of success.
Her goal is to support parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, because they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored, patronized, and discredited.It is her hope that her sons never have to deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children.
Todd Kettler, Ph.D., is associate professor of educational psychology in the School of Education at Baylor University. He teaches courses in gifted education, exceptionalities, and creativity. Dr. Kettler previously worked as an English teacher, a gifted education specialist, and a director of advanced academics. He has published research in journals such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Journal of Advanced Academics, and Thinking Skills and Creativity, and Journal of Creative Behavior. He co-authored A Teacher’s Guide to Using the Common Core State Standards with Gifted and Advanced Learners in English/Language Arts (Prufrock, 2014). His book on gifted and talented learning designs, Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students, won the 2016 Legacy Award for the best scholarly book in gifted education, and his newest book, Developing Creativity in the Classroom: Learning and Innovation for 21st Century Schools (Prufrock) was released in December of 2018. Dr. Kettler coordinates the gifted and talented education programs for the School of Education at Baylor University which includes preparation of pre-service teachers, as well as advanced graduate degrees focusing on gifted education. He currently serves as the Chair of the Commissioner’s Advisory Council for Gifted Education in Texas, and he serves as editor of the Journal of Advanced Academics