The dedicated and talented faculty at the Bridges Graduate School is comprised of scholars, authors, experienced teachers, researchers, and others with a respected international reputation in cognitive diversity.

Chancellor
SUSAN BAUM, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Professor Emeritus from College of New Rochelle; Director of 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy;  Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Susan Baum, Ph.D. is the Chancellor of the Bridges Graduate School for Cognitive Diversity in Education and Co-Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, a school for twice exceptional and. She is the author of many publications concerning the needs of special populations of gifted students including the award-winning 3rd edition of her seminal work To be gifted and learning disabled…. Her research and experience in the field of 2e education have earned her much recognition including the  Distinguish Professional Alumni Award from the Neag School of Education & the Alexinia Baldwin Award from the National Association for Gifted Students.

Areas of Expertise: Special Education and Learning Disabilities, Education of the Gifted and Talented, Twice-Exceptional Education, Research Methodology, Creativity

Special Advisor to the Chancellor
SALLY REIS, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Sally M. Reis, Ph.D. is an advocate, leader, and researcher in the fields of talent development and education for the gifted and talented. Sally has championed the benefits of encouraging strengths and interests, including gifted students with special needs. Her vision extends to innovative work on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, Gifted Girls, and Women, and projects about 2e students, including “Music & Minds,“ a study of young adults with Williams syndrome. Her work highlights the success of recognizing and working with strengths in populations that traditionally only receive remediation. She has been awarded the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology and served on the Board of Trustees, as a Distinguished Professor, and Teaching Fellow at the University of Connecticut where she was also Senior Advisor to the Provost and President for Special Projects. Dr. Reis has agreed to serve Bridges Graduate School as an advisor to the chancellor as we continue to grow, evolve, and select the next generation of leaders and teachers. Dr. Reis’s primary job will be to lead the BGS Institutional and strategic planning initiatives.

Provost
C. MATTHEW FUGATE, PhD

Ph.D. from Purdue University
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Matthew Fugate, Ph. D. is a nationally regarded educator in the field of gifted education and twice-exceptionality. His research has examined the relationship between working memory and levels of creative thinking in gifted students with ADHD. He has also examined the coping mechanisms of twice-exceptional girls in a secondary school as they navigate both their academic studies and interpersonal relationships. He has presented to national and international audiences. Matthew currently serves on the Board of the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented and as Chair of the Special Populations Network for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Additionally, he serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal for Education of the Gifted and is the Associate Editor of Teaching for High Potential. Matthew was named one of Variations magazine’s “22 People to Watch in the Neurodiversity Movement” and received the Early Career Award from the NAGC Special Populations Network. He has published several articles, book chapters, and books related to his work.

Areas of Expertise: Creativity, Equity and inclusion, Twice-exceptionality, Underserved populations, and Total School Cluster Grouping

Dean of Students & Communication
LIN LIM, PhD

Ph.D. from Boston University
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education; Quark Collaboration Institute Inc

Dr. Lin Lim has a diverse academic background, growing up in Singapore and arriving in the US for higher education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston College and a doctorate in psychology (human development) from Boston University, an Academic Graduate Certificate in Mind, Brain, and Education (Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Education), and an Academic Graduate Certificate in Twice-exceptional Education (Bridges Graduate School). Her parenting journey with her two profoundly gifted children, one twice-exceptional, and the other radically accelerated drives her to create better understanding, communication, and nurturance for such children between all educational stakeholders. She is a founding board member of the non-profit Gifted Education Family Network, the founder of the non-profit Quark Collaboration Institute, and serves on several non-profit education boards. She has presented both nationally and internationally at conferences ranging from education, and interdisciplinary social science, to psychology. She is currently focused on using data visualization techniques, and developing interdisciplinary dynamic complex multi-systems embodied guiding frameworks around parenting, education, and applied research with gifted outliers across the life span.

Areas of Expertise: Human Development, dynamic complex systems, gifted outliers, cultural diversity, attitudes and behavior, brain-targeted teaching.

Dean of Evaluations & Institutional Research
GEORGE ROBINSON, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity; Adjunct Professor of Writing, Western Connecticut State University; New York State Teachers of English: Teacher of the Year

George J. Robinson Ph.D. teaches Creating Strength-based Talent-focused Schools. George has published journal articles on Gifted Ed, Differentiation, and Science Programs. He is a young adult author focusing on Environmental Issues and History. He has presided as Middle School Chair for the National Association for Gifted Children. George, a retired middle school and high school English and Gifted and Talented instructor, served as the assistant Dean of the College of New Rochelle’s Graduate School, a differentiation Instructor for Renzulli Learning, a Director of a gifted elementary school, and an evaluator for multiple-year grants.

Areas of Expertise: Gifted Ed, Differentiation, Writing, Program Development, Evaluation, Funding

Dean of Doctoral Studies
KAREN WESTBERG, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Professor emerita from the University of St. Thomas

Dr. Karen L. Westberg is professor emerita from the University of St. Thomas (UST), MN, where she taught graduate coursework in gifted education and research methodology. Before joining the faculty at UST, she was a principal investigator at The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and a faculty member at the University of Connecticut. She has published articles in several journals including the Journal of Creative Behavior and Gifted Child Quarterly. Earlier in her career, she was a public school teacher.

Areas of Expertise: Research methodology, Program Evaluation & Measurement, Curriculum, and Education of the Gifted & Talented.


Core Faculty

KAREN ARNSTEIN, EdD

Ed.D. from the University of Denver
Current Affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Karen B. Arnstein, Ed.D. is a former assistant professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. She received her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction with a Specialization for the Gifted from the University of Denver. Prior to this, she worked with K-12 students and teachers for over a decade. Her research examined how parents, teachers, psychologists, and educational environments impact the developmental transitions of preadolescent twice-exceptional (2e) students. Karen has presented to audiences at local, state, national, and international conferences on topics including twice-exceptionality, classroom supports, paradigm shifts in pedagogy, identification, creating inclusive classrooms, effective differentiation, the parental experience of grieving, and the effects of subtle and overt communication on 2e students. She currently serves as a founding IRB Committee Member for Bridges Graduate School and as Secretary of the Board for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Her parenting journey with her twice-exceptional teen and life journey with a profoundly gifted spouse, motivate her to bring awareness and change to create a more inclusive society for all people.

Areas of Expertise: Gifted and Talented, Research Methods, Educational Theory, Curriculum & Instruction, Parenting, Twice Exceptionality, ADHD

Kristen Berman, headshot

KRISTIN BERMAN, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Kristin Berman received her Ph.D. from the University of CT in Educational Psychology specializing in Gifted Education. She has practiced as a teacher, college professor, professional developer, administrator, and parent advocate for gifted and twice-exceptional children. Kristin was an Associate Professor in the master’s program of the Graduate School of Education at The College of New Rochelle, NY for fourteen years.  She served as Head of School at The Quad Preparatory School in New York City, a startup for twice-exceptional children; and served as the Director of the Phoenix Elementary Division of Bridges Academy in Studio City, as well as Core Faculty of the Bridges Graduate School in Studio City CA. Kristin also held a position as Director of Talent Development and Enrichment in the New York City Public School District 10 implementing several initiatives.  Her passion and research focus has been in arts in education.  She has acted as a consultant for school districts nationally and internationally, taught masters courses for the State University of New York, Buffalo in American International Schools on five continents, and was part of a delegation to Bhutan to help start a national program in Special Education. 

Kristin has had training in music, dance, and theater, and has worked with children and teachers throughout her career to bring these valuable art forms into their lives.  She also loves animals, nature, and travel. 

Areas of Expertise: Gifted and Talented, Twice Exceptionality, Curriculum & Instruction, Parenting, Arts Integration

JANN LEPPIEN, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Whitworth University

Jann Leppien, Ph.D. is an associate professor and the Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Whitworth’s Center for Gifted Education supports and develops policies and practices that encourage the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. Whitworth offers educators a specialty endorsement and Master’s degree in gifted education. Dr. Leppien conducts professional staff training for educators in the areas of differentiated instruction, curriculum design and assessment for advanced students, thinking skills, and gifted program development, both nationally and internationally. She has served on the board of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and currently serves on the board of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS), the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, NAGC’s Diversity and Equity and Awards Committees, and Washington State’s Gifted and Talented Advisory Board. She is the co-author of The Multiple Menu Model: A Practical Guide for Developing Differentiated Curriculum and The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge High-Ability Students.    

Areas of Expertise: Curriculum, Differentiated Instruction, Leadership, Research and evaluation, Gifted and Talented, Underachievement, Twice-Exceptional Education

JADE RIVERA ’22 EdD

Ed.D. from Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School for Cognitive Diversity in Education

Jade Rivera is an author and professor specializing in designing curricula and micro-schools for twice-exceptional children. In 2016 Jade was honored by the California Association for the Gifted for distinguished service on behalf of gifted and twice-exceptional children. More recently, she has been recognized as a ‘person to watch in the 2e movement’ by 2e News. Jade was a member of the inaugural cohort at Bridges Graduate School and earned her doctoral degree in 2022.

Areas of Expertise: Designing curriculum; Micro-schools for twice-exceptional children

CHRISTOPHER WIEBE, EdD

EdD from California State University, Los Angeles
Current affiliation: Associate Head of School, Bridges Academy

Chris Wiebe studied philosophy and literature before spending seven years in print journalism. He began teaching high school English in 2008, developing an interest in multimodal literacy and curriculum design. He has been the high school director at Bridges Academy for three years and received his doctorate in education in 2016. His paper comparing technology policy and teacher belief was a finalist for an AERA “Best Paper” award in 2016 and he is a co-author of a chapter in the book Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties.

Areas of Expertise: Leadership and change, Policy in Education, Twice Exceptional Education, Qualitative Research Methods


Visiting
Professors, Faculty, Consultants & Guests

LOIS BALDWIN, PhD

Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University
Current Affiliation: Educational consultant

Lois Baldwin, Ed.D., is currently an educational consultant specializing in the areas of twice-exceptional, cognitive diversity, and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). She has been both a teacher of twice-exceptional students and the administrator of the Gifted Special Education Program operated by the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), one of the first programs in the country serving students who were gifted with learning and emotional needs. She has assisted teachers and staff with curriculum development, student issues, transition planning, assessment, and professional development. She co-founded the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS) and is currently serving as president. Dr. Baldwin has taught courses on giftedness and twice exceptionality at Manhattanville College, Pace University, College of New Rochelle, and Regis University. She has been a consultant and speaker at numerous national conferences and symposiums. She was a consultant with the Colorado Department of Education Twice-Exceptional Project, where she helped design online courses, workshops, training modules, manuals, and materials for educators throughout the state. In addition, Lois has published numerous professional articles on the subject of twice-exceptional individuals, as well as Response to Intervention and MTSS: (Gifted Child Today, Summer 2009 and October 2015 and Teaching Exceptional Children, March/April 2015) and chapters for books Introduction to Gifted Education (2018), Supporting and Educating Twice-Exceptional Children (2018), and RtI for Gifted Students (2011). She has also served as the chair of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Twice-Exceptional Special Interest Group (SIG) and has been the co-facilitator for the 2e Community of Practice (CoP) action groups.

Areas of Expertise: Twice-Exceptional Education, Special Education

SALLY DOBYNS, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Adjunct faculty at SUNY at Buffalo State College; Retired professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Sally M. Dobyns, Ph.D. is a nationally regarded educator in the field of gifted education and talent development. Prior to completing her doctoral degree in gifted education and talent development at The University of Connecticut in 1992, she was a classroom teacher in Kentucky and South Carolina. For 21 years, Dr. Dobyns served as Professor, and Program Coordinator of the M. Ed. Program in Gifted Education, and Director of the Center for Gifted Education, and is noted for her contributions to teaching and learning on a variety of topics, including curriculum design, higher-order thinking skills, differentiating curriculum and instruction, talent development, and other aspects of gifted education.  She has served as a consultant to over 100 schools in the United States, Mexico, and South America.

Areas of Expertise: Curriculum, Education of the Gifted and Talented, Teacher training, Creativity

BRIAN HOUSAND, PhD

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Brian Housand is the coordinator of the Academically or Intellectually Gifted program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. Housand earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Connecticut with an emphasis on both gifted education and instructional technology. He served two terms on the National Association for Gifted Children’s Board of Directors as a Member-At-Large. Along with his wife Dr. Angela Housand and Dr. Joe Renzulli, he co-authored Using the Schoolwide Enrichment Model with Technology. He is also the author of Fighting Fake News! Teaching Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in a Digital Age. Brian has worked in education as a classroom teacher, a teacher of the gifted, and a university professor for over twenty years. As a speaker and consultant, he has presented in 40 states, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Kuwait, and Chilé. Brian is a lover of technology, Star Wars, all things Disney, video games, and fonts. He proudly identifies himself as a geek. You can learn more on his website at brianhousand.com and by following him on Twitter @brianhousand

Areas of Expertise: Gifted and Talented Education, Instructional Technology, Creativity, Curiosity, Critical Thinking, and Media Literacy

SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN, PhD

Ph.D. from Yale University

Scott Barry Kaufman is an author, researcher, and speaker who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. Curious about the mind, brain, and behavior, Dr. Kaufman likes to share his enthusiasm for these topics through his teaching, writing, and podcasts. His writing has appeared in The AtlanticScientific AmericanPsychology Today, and Harvard Business Review. He contributes a regular column called “Beautiful Minds” to Scientific American and hosts The Psychology Today Podcast. Named as one of “50 Groundbreaking Scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider, his books include Ungifted: Intelligence RedefinedThe Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or PracticeWired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, and, as editor, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties. Dr. Kaufman received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an M. Phil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Areas of Expertise: Creativity, Intelligence, Research

JOY LAWSON-DAVIS, PhD

Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity; Johns Hopkins; Creating Positive Futures

Joy Lawson-Davis, Ed.D., is a career educator focusing the last four decades on working to increase equity in gifted programs for underrepresented students, with a particular focus on culturally diverse students. She has served in multiple roles over her career including in higher education, a state agency, and a regional school for gifted students.

She has worked with school districts across the nation and presented at conferences in Dubai, Istanbul, South Africa & the Caribbean. 2019 Special Populations Award (NAGC); 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award (SENG)  

Areas of Expertise: Gifted Education Equity & Diversity; Thrice-Exceptional students; Parent & Family Advocacy

DAN PETERS, PhD

Ph.D. from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology
Current affiliation: Summit Center

Dr. Dan Peters, licensed psychologist, is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Summit Center, specializing in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Peters is the author of Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears and From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears. He is also a co-author of Raising Creative Kids and writes for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today. He is also a Co-Founder of Parent Footprint and an online interactive parent training community.

Areas of Expertise: Assessment and treatment of children with stress and anxiety, Twice-Exceptional Education, Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Learners