Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education was first conceptualized in 2005 when the CEO of Bridges Academy, a school for twice-exceptional (2e) students in grades 4-12, located in Studio City, California had an idea. Consequently, Carl Sabatino and Academic Advisor Dr. Susan Baum were hired by the Bridges Academy board to lead Bridges Academy. During the interview process the CEO was asked about the possibility of meeting the shortage of educators skilled and trained in 2e education by the addition of a graduate school that would specialize in cognitive diversity and 2e education. For 11 years the idea of the graduate school lay dormant but was always present in the mind of the CEO.
In 2016, Dr. Robin Schader, CEO Sabatino, and Dr. Susan Baum identified Henry Nicols, M.S., a professor and administrator with exceptional qualifications from Buffalo State SUNY, as a possible candidate to bring the idea of a graduate school to fruition.
In August of 2016 Henry Nicols was hired by Bridges Academy to proceed with the exploration and licensing of the graduate school. In August of 2016 Nicols began the formal application process by being trained by the California Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education.
In February, 2017 during a retreat at Studio City, CA on the campus of Bridges Academy, the graduate school was conceptualized, designed, and planned.
An Advisory committee was formed from that retreat the members included:.
Carl Sabatino, CEO,
Henry Nicols, M.S. (Dean of BGS)
Robin Schader, Ph.D. Board of Directors Bridges Academy
Susan Baum, Ph. D. Chief Academic Officer, Bridges Academy
Karen Westberg, Ph.D. Professor, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Jann Leppien, Ph.D. Professor, Whitworth Center / Gifted Education, Idaho
Lisa Reid, Ed.D. Founder Reid Day School
Dr. Leslie Preuss (Child Psychologist)
Dr. Dan Peters (Summit Center) Psychologist
Rose Blucher, M.Ed. Prince George’s County, MD Director of 2e
Chris Wiebe, Ed.D. Bridges Academy
Members of the Advisory Committee led by Dean Nicols and CAO Baum met frequently during 2017 and early 2018 to design the program and complete the application process for the State of California Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education. In 2018, the Advisory Committee submitted the Application to the State of California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) for a license to offer a Certificate in Twice Exceptional Education, a Master of Education, and a Doctorate of Education.
The idea for the graduate school was to raise the threshold of understanding of 2e and cognitive diversity and to provide a base of educators for future 2e educational needs in the United States and in the world. Bridges Graduate School is the first graduate school in the world to specialize in 2e / Cognitive Diversity. This idea of cognitive diversity and 2e is still largely unknown and frequently misunderstood.
Since opening its doors in 2019, Bridges Graduate School has attracted a diverse, international student body of innovative advocates committed to leading this change. Among them are teachers, school directors, coordinators of programs for gifted students, special education teachers, psychologists, social workers, educational therapists, parents of cognitively diverse students, and more. As Bridges Graduate School continues to grow, the closer the world becomes to meeting the needs of twice-exceptional students, and advancing equity for all.