Jonathan Plucker, the Professor of Talent Development at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, has been named president of the National Association for Gifted Children. During his two-year term, he will preside over the organization's 16-member board of directors, and set priorities for programming and services to support academically advanced students nationwide.
Plucker, an expert in education policy and talent development, remembers what it was like to feel unchallenged at school. As a child, he says, he and his classmates had few opportunities to extend their learning beyond the standard curriculum.
"The teachers didn't differentiate much, so being a little bit ahead of grade level just meant you got more worksheets, or you were told to slow down, or you were told to help somebody else," he said.
When he did finally receive advanced programming in school, he says, it made school exciting and "lit a passion for learning" in him that has never dimmed.
Now a leading education scholar, Plucker has spent much of his adult life advocating for resources to help bright students thrive. He has more than 250 publications on topics including creativity, the excellence gap, and effective practices for teaching advanced students. Through a joint appointment between the School of Education and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Plucker has worked with school representatives and policymakers around the U.S. to advocate for resources to support advanced students since 2016. He has also reshaped the curriculum within the school's Master of Science in Education program.
In 2013, he received the NAGC Distinguished Scholar Award in 2013, the first Johns Hopkins faculty member to receive the award since JHU psychologist and Center for Talented Youth founder Julian C. Stanley in 1982.
Plucker says his major initiatives at NAGC will focus on promoting cutting-edge research in the field, improving Hispanic students' access to advanced learning opportunities, and preparing educators to recognize and support the needs of advanced students.
"So many students are far ahead of grade level but are just not getting any advanced services in school," Plucker says. "If a huge percentage of students are going to school but aren't learning something new every day—or even every week or month or year—that's bad for the student, bad for our economy, and bad for our entire culture."
Sally Krisel, former president of the NAGC, says the board of directors and staff are excited to work with Plucker.
"Jonathan's extraordinary professional accomplishments in the areas of education policy and talent development have earned him the respect of educators and policymakers both within and outside the field of gifted education," Krisel says. "He is uniquely positioned to lead these important initiatives."
Plucker will continue his work with JHU while serving as NAGC president.