Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education was originally named the Gwinnett County Supporters for the Gifted (GCSG). The county organization was chartered in 1978. When the state changed the name of its organization in the 1990’s to Georgia Association for Gifted Children to align more with the national gifted organization, the county organization incorporated, in 1997, Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education, GAGE.
Early History - One of the first goals of GCSG in 1977 was to encourage providing more gifted program teachers, since there were only 9 for the 40 schools. In 1979 there were 19 teachers for 1,354 students, in 1980 there were 32 teachers for 1500 students, and in 1988 there were 87 teachers for 4,000 students.
Another goal was to identify all gifted and talented students in all grade levels, along with providing additional materials or financial support for the teachers. In 1982 GCSG was instrumental for the re-instatement of field trips for all students in GCPS.
GCSG was instrumental in bringing the Odyssey of the Mind competition into the county and provided support for other competitions like the Future Problem Solving Program and Quiz Bowl.
The first annual awards recognition ceremony was held in 1981 to honor outstanding gifted students from all schools in the county. The first Gifted Program Teacher of the Year was recognized in 1984. Other recognitions added over the years include the Hughes Award named for the early parent president to recognize outstanding groups, organizations or individuals. The Classroom Teacher of the Year and Parent of the Year awards were added later. These awards come from those nominated for making special contributions to the gifted program and gifted students.
Student recognition was expanded to include summer program scholarships. Two graduating senior scholarships have been named for former county gifted coordinators, Ruth Cowan and Annette Eger. The scholarships have an essay component.
Beyond Gwinnett – Gwinnett’s chapter was recognized for being the outstanding chapter for the state GAGC organization in 1999. Gwinnett educators (Ruth Cowan, Sandi Gollmar, Marion Sebastian, Paula DeWeese, Betty Sloop, and Tommy Firesheets) have served as president of the state organization. Individual GAGE members have also been recipients of state awards. Gwinnett hosted the state conference in 1981 and helped host NAGC when it met in Atlanta in 1993.
Over the Years- GAGE has sponsored many well-known presenters to speak about issues and information of interest to parents and teachers of gifted and high achieving students.
Membership in GAGE brings automatic membership in the state GAGC because the two organizations form a vital partnership for supporting gifted education.