Officers

MaryGrace Stewart, President

Carol Lach, Vice President

Gerry Mroz, Treasurer

Christine Ricci-Cooley, Secretary

Amy Duke, Clerk

The Team

Directors

                                             and Parent Liaison

Biographies

MARYGRACE STEWART - President

Dr. MaryGrace Stewart has been a talent development teacher for over 35 years, in three states, grades K-12, in all subjects, and holds a license form DESE for Academically Advanced. She has been a presenter on gifted education topics at several conferences including NAGC, and has provided professional development to educators in several states.  She has degrees in Mime, Art Education, Physiology/Art/Education, Gifted Education, and her doctorate in Organizational Change & Leadership. Her doctoral dissertation was on the Gifted Education in Massachusetts. She has been a board member and parent liaison for the MAGE, and received a service award in 2016 for her work on that year’s state conference. She is a member of several NAGC networks and serves as a reviewer for "Teaching for High Potential" magazine. This year she is also program chair for the Parent & Community Network at the annual NAGC conference.  She is particularly interested in issues of gifted minority and other underserved populations especially in the state of MA.

MaryGrace has an in-depth knowledge of gifted education, which she shares with our advocacy group, and most importantly, with parents and educators across the state. She has also raised two gifted kids who are now successful adults.

CAROL LACH - Vice President

She is currently Vice President of MAGE. Dr. Carol Lach became active in MAGE in 2011 because her children were fortunate enough to attend school in one of the few districts in MA with a gifted program, and their successes inspired her to work so all bright kids could have appropriate educational opportunities.

During her ten years at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) she was the Liaison to the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, and the only person with any responsibility for G/T at DESE.  As a grant coordinator in Instructional Technology, Math, and Science, she visited schools throughout the state, worked on professional development, math standards, and financial literacy prior to her retirement after ten years.

Her PhD in biochemistry afforded her the opportunity to work in Cancer research, which she did for ten years. Carol’s teaching experience spans kindergarten to college from upstate New York, to Mississippi, North Carolina, and most recently Framingham. After retiring, she keeps busy with MAGE activities, writing historical fiction and producing and co-hosting the show,"Novel Ideas" on Access Framingham TV.

She is passionate about growing MAGE into a dynamic and empowered community for the sake of our bright children, their parents and educators, as well as a place to turn for support, resources, friends and fun!

CHRISTINE RICCI-COOLEY – Secretary, Awards and Governance Committees

Dr. Christine Ricci-Cooley is the creator of the preschool series Nella the Princess Knight (winner of the 2018 Gracie Award for family series).  She has directed the educational curriculum and formative research programs for numerous preschool television series.  Previously, Dr. Ricci was a research evaluator. She coordinated the research and evaluation activities for several large school districts and city-wide community programs in the areas of bilingual and dual language education, literacy, and technology in education initiatives.  Dr. Ricci received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts.  

Christine believes that Massachusetts has many gifted children who are not getting the services and enrichment that they need. She is excited to be part of the community that is advocating for these children and promoting the services and opportunities that will challenge and inspire these high potential children.

Her expertise includes: educational consultant, experience evaluating and conducting research, preschool expertise, evaluating and writing curricula for preschool age group.

GERRY MROZ – Treasurer, Legislative Liaison, Chair of the MAGE

Advocacy Group

 GERRY MROZ  has been an advocate for appropriate education and development of gifted students within the public schools for many years from Washington DC to Beacon Hill. He addresses education policy and reform issues from a broad knowledge base. Gerry engages collaboratively at the local, state and national levels, challenging the public education system to provide gifted students the specific opportunities and supports they need to develop to their full potential. He works to connect gifted advocates, and often provides support for students, parents and parent groups to assist in advocacy. 

AMY DUKE – Clerk, Events Coordinator

Amy Duke has been a gifted/talented teacher and program coordinator at the Ottoson Middle School in Arlington for almost 20 years. She has been a member of the MAGE Board for the past four years, and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with others advocating for this special group of children. Amy has taken on many responsibilities for our organization, coordinating the Arlington Parents Forum in February for the past 3 years, serving as events coordinator, stepping up our efforts to gain Sponsors, doing the work to obtain our swags, and much more.

MICHELLE BARMAZEL – Liaison to Gifted and Talented Organizations

Michelle Barmazel is an advocate for the highly gifted.  A former McKinsey consultant, she has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from UCLA.  She recently earned an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School’s mid-career program with a focus on gifted education policy.  While there she was asked to speak at the TEDx HGSE conference on “Why gifted may not be what you think”.   She is a founder of Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO), a new non-profit that focuses on research on the highly gifted. Michelle sits on several boards including NFTE and is the current chair of PG Retreat.  She lives in Boston and is the mother of 3 highly gifted children, one of whom she guided through 3 years of homeschooling. Michelle has sponsored meetings and events for MAGE at her home, provided many connections with organizations and individuals in gifted education, and recently negotiated a substantial donation from the producers of the movie “gifted’.

JANIS BARON - Educator Liaison

Janis has over forty years of experience teaching, developing and administering children’s programs, training faculty and administrators, and conducting follow-up demonstration lessons and small group consultations with K-12 staff. Advisor to principals and superintendents, as well as mentor to teachers, parents and students in diverse communities, resulting in a unique perspective on successful practices in the classroom. Proven track record of success in strengthening teachers’ abilities to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners.

Founder and Director of 28-year-old KITE summer program for high ability students in Grades K-8.  KITE is a sponsor of the Nicholas Green Award.  Longtime advocate for gifted education, beginning with a role as Director of Andover’s GT Program in the 1970’s.  Author of “Fulfilling the Promise: Enrichment Strategies for the Regular Classroom” for the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Office for Gifted and Talented, 1981.  Member, Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education, Massachusetts DESE.

AMANDA DALY BERMAN, Director

Amanda is a lifelong New Englander and was identified as Profoundly Gifted (PG) at age 8. She knows firsthand what it is like to be a PG student in a state that does not provide the appropriate education for gifted students, and now wants to help her child in his educational journey. She is a professor of ethnomusicology and an active vocalist, having performed in the Boston Pops Gospel Chorus, Boston Pops Holiday Chorus, New England Conservatory Youth Chorale, and extensively as a soloist, including having sung “God Bless America” twice and “O Canada” thrice at Fenway Park.

JULIE EIDUKONIS, Higher Education Liaison

Dr. Julie Eidukonis is a parent of a gifted 5 year-old and possibly gifted two year-old, with over 20 years of teaching experience in Massachusetts. Her teaching licenses include elementary education and reading specialist. These certifications have afforded her the chance to work with academically diverse populations in elementary, middle school, and at the college level. In addition, she has enjoyed instructing literacy based professional development courses for public school teachers. Julie’s formal education consists of a bachelor degree with a double major in Communications and Psychology, a Masters of Education, and a Doctorate of Education.  Currently, as a stay at home mom, she enjoys reading and writing educational research. Her published work includes an article on teacher metacognition in content literacy and also a dissertation focusing on social cultural constructivism within the classroom environment concerning learning spelling. She hopes to continue research into how developmental levels of spelling can be used to target individualized literacy instruction. In addition, she is interested in the study of gifted education and hopes to research a part of this vast topic in some capacity in the future.  As a member of MAGE she has enjoyed working with the advocacy team to make improvements in Massachusetts' gifted education policies for our gifted children.

RANDY MARLES ORABONE, Director

Randy is a Colombian bilingual woman and Mental Health Counselor. She has more than 10 years of experience in Colombia in different areas of psychology. In the Psychology of Education, she worked with gifted and talented children, parents and teachers, not just clinically but also doing research and designing tests to evaluate creativity in children and parenting styles. In community psychology her experience was focused on research and intervention in the community to develop conflict resolution skills with high risk population. In Human Resources her primary work was in recruiting nationally and designing strategies to increase quality of the internship recruiting process for 101 bachelor students at one of the biggest petroleum companies in Colombia.  In Massachusetts, Randy was a volunteer advocating for Hispanic families and children, supporting them at the court as an interpreter from 2006 to 2014. Professionally, she has been more focused on clinical psychology, doing long term psychotherapy for children, families and women. She has also been working in primary care integration as a Behavioral Health Consultant since 2014.

MAGALIE PINNEY – Communications Committee Chair

Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts to second generation, struggling Haitian immigrants, she had been provided a quality private education in parochial schools and graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in 1989 with many honors throughout her 12 years there. She earned her Communications baccalaureate, cum laude, with a minor in Sociology from Regis College, as a result of merit scholarships and grants.

Megalie worked in the retail industry from high school through college to partially support her single mother and her education. She moved into the Financial Services industry working in customer service, telecommunications, retirement services, and securities operations at companies, such as Boston Financial, John Hancock, IBT and is currently a Senior Operations Associate at State Street Corporation.

She is invested as a woman, wife, and mother who regularly advocates for her multi-exceptional children, partners with their schools, volunteers as a parent editor, distributor and contributor for Brockton Parents Magazine, and volunteers at her Church.

KATHARINA ELBERT – Advocacy Team

Katharina and her family, including two school-age children, live in Newton, MA.

As a dual German-US American citizen Katharina has experienced educational systems on both sides of the Atlantic and is incorporating this perspective into her work on the MAGE Advocacy Team, advocating for gifted education for the children of Massachusetts.

With a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences, she has worked in the life sciences in private companies and academia in the Boston area, as research scientist and project manager.

She more recently became a small business owner, founding and running a bakery specialized in German baked goods.

Over the past years Katharina has been focusing on volunteer work, serving in parent groups supporting her local public schools and as a committed member of the MAGE Advocacy Team since its inception in 2016.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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MAGE is a 501c3 organization

Our email address is admin@massgifted.org

Our office is at 505 Pinewood Dr. Longmeadow, MA 01106

Our office phone number is 413-224-8807 (Hours M-F 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)