William & Mary School of Education alumna Bronwyn MacFarlane Ph.D. ’08 is the recipient of the 2018-2019 National Association for Gifted Children Early Leader Award.
The Early Leader Award is given nationally to the individual with the most potential and exceptional early leadership track record based on their professional contributions to the field of gifted education in their early career in the ten years since earning a doctorate, according to the NAGC.
MacFarlane, professor of gifted education in the School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, teaches graduate courses in educational leadership and gifted education. Her achievements include writing the national column, The Curriculum Corner; authoring the book, STEM Education for High Ability Learners (2016); chairing the NAGC STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Network; authoring the book Specialized Schools for High Ability Learners (Prufrock Press, 2018) and serving as guest editor of Roeper Review Special Issue: Integrating STEM and Gifted Curriculum (2018).
MacFarlane began her career as an educator in Missouri and worked as a research associate to Joyce VanTassel-Baska, emerita professor and founding executive director of the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education, while pursuing her doctoral studies in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership with dual specializations in gifted education administration and K-12 administration.
“Working with high ability learners is an exceptional opportunity to positively influence the creative minds of the future,” says MacFarlane. “Working with students and seeing them learn makes education an inspiring and hope-filled profession.”
MacFarlane, who is working on another book about social emotional learning, also has flourished in her consulting work with parents, teachers and administrators.
“I enjoy working with school leaders and teachers to improve teaching and learning with students by leading seminars about STEM education program design, creativity, and curriculum best practices,” she says.
She cites the experience of working and learning at William & Mary for its ongoing influence across her career.
“Joyce VanTassel-Baska has been an incredible mentor and role model for me throughout my time as a doctoral student and my professorial career. She was the reason that I moved halfway across the country to study advanced curriculum and gifted leadership with her at William & Mary,” recalls MacFarlane. Her time at William & Mary profoundly impacted her career and her life, she says, as she both deepened critical understanding of her career path and met her husband during her doctoral program at the School of Education.
MacFarlane is pleased to say that she has nurtured an ongoing relationship with William & Mary.
“I have returned to campus several times since completing my doctorate to speak at conferences sponsored by the School of Education. It is always wonderful to reconnect with professors and friends in the 'burg on DOG Street and at the Cheese Shop,” she says. MacFarlane notes that she values every opportunity to give back to the school. “It was wonderful to have support during my time as a full-time doctoral student and, as alumni, it is important to regularly support the university and upcoming students in developing new talents.”