I would like to thank WATG’s out-going president Sue Lee for passing the proverbial baton. Her time and service as a leader on the WATG Board helped push the board to new levels, and inspired conversations among hundreds in Wisconsin. Well done Sue! Your shoes will be difficult to fill.
My name is Cathy Schmit, and I would like to use this first post as the president of the WATG Board, to introduce myself and share my vision for the next two years.
My roots “and wings” are both in Wisconsin. I grew up in Madison, but was married and settled immediately into rural, Northern Wisconsin where I have been now for 36 years with my husband and family. I came into gifted education and advocacy in a very hands on manner, by “coming to the table” so to speak. I began my teaching career as a regular education teacher in small public schools in Northern Wisconsin. My husband and I raised five children and we experienced the ups and downs of raising gifted kids in a public school with neither the funds nor the training to meet our children’s needs. I found myself “at the table” for the first time, advocating for my children. This advocacy effort led to me being offered a G/T position in the school district in my community, where I served K-12 gifted learners and led trainings for teachers on gifted learners and differentiation. The second time I found myself “at the table” was getting involved with our regional CESA consortium of gifted resource folks, which led to becoming a G/T consultant for CESA #9. At that point, I could see from a more macroscopic level, that the rural part of the state was lacking in support and programming for gifted K-12 students. I desired to take things further and be “at the table” once again, which led ultimately to my participation in state G/T efforts. I have now been on the WATG Board for almost 4 years. What began as a search to have my own children’s needs met brought me to my position now, as president of the WATG Board, a position that I am humbled and eager to assume this month.
This brings me to one of my visions for the next two years, which is to Meet Me at the Table. The work that is required to make a broader and more sustainable shift in gifted and talented education in Wisconsin can indeed start (or continue) with you at the table. I am asking and encouraging all of you that are reading this, to “meet me at the table” and help make things happen together. We need people that are willing to step outside their comfort zones, reach for the next thing, or support those with the means to do so. In this holiday season, I am hoping that the words “meet me at the table” bring the feeling of warmth and welcome as I intend. I would be honored to have each and every one of you join us in this effort on behalf of our Wisconsin youth.
I would like to thank Sue one last time, for her two years of service as the president of the WATG Board and her countless efforts prior to this service on behalf of gifted students, families, and schools in the state. She has warmly welcomed me to the table. I want to call on her realization of passion that she found with the people she spoke with. I want to utilize this passion to help gifted individuals be understood and help people better understand them. So, will you meet me at the table? You are welcome!
From the President
"At the beginning of the training process for gifted and regular classroom teachers, they need to learn the skills of the trade."