ASPIRE Academy District Liaison Honored by the National Association for Gifted Children
Posted on 10/12/2022
Dr. Cheryl Taliaferro, GCISD’s ASPIRE Academy District Liaison, is being honored by the National Association for Gifted Children as one of three 2022 Gifted Coordinators of the Year. Taliaferro leads the district’s ASPIRE Academy for gifted students in grades 1-12 who score in the 99th percentile on nationally-normed ability and achievement tests.

“While I appreciate that this award speaks to the role that I have played in those efforts, even more importantly, this award is a testament to all of the hard work that our teachers, administrators, families, and students have put forth to ensure that gifted students in our district will learn something new and meaningful at school every single day—and for that, I am truly grateful,” Taliaferro said.

“Cheryl works tirelessly on behalf of gifted students in our district, and she has had a significant impact on so many during her career,” said Dr. Julie Leslie, GCISD’s executive director of learning and director of advanced academics. “She is a consummate professional.”

A GCISD AP English and Gifted and Talented (GT) Education humanities teacher for more than 15 years, Taliaferro joined ASPIRE three years into the program’s development, helping create the middle school courses, writing curriculum and working with district leaders as well as parents. Now in its 10th year, GCISD’s ASPIRE Academy is a school-within-a-school offered at an elementary, middle and high school in the district. ASPIRE students have earned national recognition and excel on numerous academic performance measures.

Taliaferro, who was described in her nomination by colleagues as “the glue between the different grades, the administration and all outside [ASPIRE Academy] stakeholders,” also takes the time to meet with students, teachers and parents to ask them about their needs. Every year, she has one-on-one conversations with juniors to further enhance the program, which has resulted in improvements to PSAT prep for GT students. She also provides professional development for teachers based on their needs. To further help students, she implemented rigorous data collection that includes individual conversations with students about their aspirations and associated courses to help them succeed on the path they desire. A presenter at national conferences and author, Taliaferro regularly collaborates with local parent groups, and online content creation platform Smore recognized her monthly families newsletter, which now has readers in more than 10 countries.

Taliaferro, and other NAGC award and scholarship recipients, will be recognized at the organization’s national convention in November.