OUR TEAM

Officers

Karen Blumstein, co-President

Michelle Barmazel, co-President

Gerry Mroz, Treasurer, Clerk

Julie Baker, Secretary

MaryGrace Stewart, President Emeritus

Carol Lach, President Emeritus

Directors

Julie Baker, Secretary

Michelle Barmazel, co-President, Liaison to GT Organizations

Janis Baron, Educator/School District Liaison

Karen Blumstein, co-President, Parent Liaison

Katharina Elbert, co-Chair Advocacy Committee

Jeanne L. Holmes, Director

Carol Lach, President Emeritus, Membership, Awards

Rebecca Lamkin, Director

Deborah Lee, Director

Gerry Mroz, Treasurer, Clerk, Legislative Liaison, co-Chair Advocacy Committee

Magalie A. Pinney, Communications Director

Christine Ricci-Cooley, Director

MaryGrace Stewart, President Emeritus, Coordinator of MAGE Services Network, and Director Ideal4Gifted

 

Biographies

JULIE BAKER
Secretary

Julia (Julie) Baker has been an English teacher in Massachusetts at the high school level for 17 years and in that time has taught every skill level and grade covered in a traditional four-year institution.  She has her undergraduate degree in English from Bryn Mawr College, a Master of Science in Journalism from Boston University, a Master of Education from UMASS Boston and has just completed a C.A.G.S In School Leadership from American International College.

MICHELLE BARMAZEL
co-President, Liaison to Gifted and Talented Organizations

Michelle Barmazel is an advocate for the highly gifted. An education consultant for families with highly and profoundly gifted children, Michelle has an MPA from Harvard with a focus on gifted education policy.  She also has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from UCLA in linguistics/computer science.   While at Harvard, she spoke at the TEDxHGSE conference on “Why Gifted May Not Be What You Think.” Michelle is a co-founder of Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO), a non-profit that focuses on research on the highly gifted. She has sat on several boards including Stanford Alumni of New York, Geneva and New England, HKSNE and NFTE and is the former board chair of PG Retreat.

Michelle lives in Newton and is the mother of 3 profoundly gifted children, one of whom she guided through six years of alternate education/homeschooling. A former McKinsey consultant, Michelle moved into education when it became clear that her children didn't fit the mold around which the current education system was based. 


JANIS BARON
Educator Liaison

Janis has over forty years of experience teaching, developing and administering children’s programs, training faculty and administrators, and conducting follow-up demonstration lessons and small group consultations with K-12 staff. Advisor to principals and superintendents, as well as a mentor to teachers, parents, and students in diverse communities, resulting in a unique perspective on successful practices in the classroom. Proven track record of success in strengthening teachers’ abilities to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners.

Founder and Director of 28-year-old KITE summer program for high ability students in Grades K-8.  KITE is a sponsor of the Nicholas Green Award.  A longtime advocate for gifted education, beginning with a role as Director of Andover’s GT Program in the 1970s. Author of “Fulfilling the Promise: Enrichment Strategies for the Regular Classroom” for the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Office for Gifted and Talented, 1981.  Member, Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education, Massachusetts DESE.

KAREN BLUMSTEIN
co-President, Parent Liaison

Karen Blumstein is an educator with a background in elementary and special needs education.  Trained in Orton-Gillingham Approach, she has nine years of experience working as a self-contained fourth grade classroom teacher and as a tutor at a specialized school for the dyslexic. In the spring of 2020 Karen earned a certification in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Connecticut.  She has experience understanding gifted from both the perspectives of an educator and as the parent of a gifted child.  Karen is passionate about gifted education and supporting goals that will produce enjoyment, engagement and enthusiasm for learning.

 

 

 

KATHARINA ELBERT
co-Chair Advocacy Committee

Katharina and her family, including two school-age children, live in Newton, MA. As a dual German-US American citizen Katharina has experienced educational systems on both sides of the Atlantic and is incorporating this perspective into her work on the MAGE Advocacy Team, advocating for gifted education for the children of Massachusetts.

 

With a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences, she has worked in pharmaceutical research, both in private companies and in academia in the Boston area, as a research scientist and project manager. In an effort to find the better work-family balance she then became a small business owner, founding and running a bakery specialized in German baked goods.

Most recently Katharina has been focusing on volunteer work, serving in parent groups supporting her local public schools and as a committed member of the MAGE Advocacy Team since its inception in 2016.

 
JEANNE L. HOLMES
Director

Jeanne is a mother of two gifted children and has been involved in advocacy for children for many years.  She graduated from Boston College magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science and English.  Jeanne received her Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University.  She is a licensed and practicing attorney in Massachusetts. 

CAROL LACH
President Emeritus

Dr. Carol Lach became active in MAGE in 2011 because her children were fortunate enough to attend school in one of the few districts in MA with a gifted program, and their successes inspired her to work so all bright kids could have appropriate educational opportunities.

During her ten years at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), she was the Liaison to the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, and the only person with any responsibility for G/T at DESE.  As a grant coordinator in Instructional Technology, Math, and Science, she visited schools throughout the state, worked on professional development, math standards, and financial literacy prior to her retirement after ten years.

Her Ph.D. in biochemistry afforded her the opportunity to work in Cancer research, which she did for ten years. Carol’s teaching experience spans kindergarten to college from upstate New York to Mississippi, North Carolina, and most recently Framingham. After retiring, she keeps busy with MAGE activities, writing historical fiction and producing and co-hosting the show, "Novel Ideas" on Access Framingham TV.

She is passionate about growing MAGE into a dynamic and empowered community for the sake of our bright children, their parents, and educators, as well as a place to turn for support, resources, friends, and fun!

REBECCA LAMKIN
Director

Rebecca was born and raised in MA.  She went to college in Atlanta, grad school in Baltimore, then returned to Boston with her husband (also native MA).  She has two kids - one in college and one about to start grad school.  Both went to K-1 in public, then switched to private school. Rebecca works at the VA Boston Healthcare System in Health Services Research.

DEBORAH LEE
Director

Prior to relocating to Massachusetts, Deb served as a Curriculum Director in a mid-sized public school district and was an active member of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. Her work in gifted education spans two decades, both in public and private sectors, and ranges from teaching to program administration. She is an alumna of Northwestern University, and her professional interests lie in STE(A)M, diversity, and equity. Deb continues to serve on the Board of the Midwest Academy for Gifted Education in Chicago.

GERRY MROZ
Treasurer, Clerk, Legislative Liaison, co-Chair Advocacy Committee

Gerry Mroz has been an advocate for appropriate education and development of gifted students within the public schools for many years from Washington DC to Beacon Hill. He addresses education policy and reform issues from a broad knowledge base. Gerry engages collaboratively at the local, state, and national levels, challenging the public education system to provide gifted students the specific opportunities and supports they need to develop to their full potential. He works to connect gifted advocates and often provides support for students, parents and parent groups to assist in advocacy. 

MAGALIE A. PINNEY
Communications Director

Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts to the second generation, struggling Haitian immigrants, she had been provided quality private education in parochial schools and graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in 1989 with many honors throughout her 12 years there. She earned her Communications baccalaureate, cum laude, with a minor in Sociology from Regis College, as a result of merit scholarships and grants.

Magalie worked in the retail industry from high school through college to partially support her single mother and her education. She moved into the Financial Services industry working in customer service, telecommunications, retirement services, and securities operations at companies, such as Boston Financial, John Hancock, IBT, and is currently a Senior Operations Associate at State Street Corporation.

She is invested as a woman, wife, and mother who regularly advocates for her multi-exceptional children, partners with their schools, volunteers as a parenting editor, distributor, and contributor for Brockton Parents Magazine, and volunteers at her Church.

CHRISTINE RICCI-COOLEY 
Director

Dr. Christine Ricci-Cooley is the creator of the preschool series Nella the Princess Knight(winner of the 2018 Gracie Award for family series).  She has directed the educational curriculum and formative research programs for numerous preschool television series.  Previously, Dr. Ricci was a research evaluator. She coordinated the research and evaluation activities for several large school districts and city-wide community programs in the areas of bilingual and dual-language education, literacy, and technology in education initiatives.  Dr. Ricci received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts.  

Christine believes that Massachusetts has many gifted children who are not getting the services and enrichment that they need. She is excited to be part of the community that is advocating for these children and promoting the services and opportunities that will challenge and inspire these high potential children.

Her expertise includes educational consulting, experience evaluating and conducting research, preschool expertise, evaluating, and writing curricula for the preschool age group.

MARYGRACE STEWART
President Emeritus, Coordinator of MAGE Services Network, Director Ideal4Gifted

Dr. MaryGrace Stewart has been a talent development teacher for over 35 years, in three states, grades K-12, in all subjects, and holds a license form DESE for Academically Advanced. She has been a presenter on gifted education topics at several conferences including NAGC and has provided professional development to educators in several states.  She has degrees in Mime, Art Education, Physiology/Art/Education, Gifted Education, and her doctorate in Organizational Change & Leadership. Her doctoral dissertation was on the Gifted Education in Massachusetts. She has been a board member and parent liaison for the MAGE and received a service award in 2016 for her work on that year’s state conference. She is a member of several NAGC networks and serves as a reviewer for "Teaching for High Potential" magazine. This year she is also the program chair for the Parent & Community Network at the annual NAGC conference.  She is particularly interested in issues of gifted minority and other underserved populations especially in the state of MA.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meeting