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Hall County educator begins work as president of national association
Sally Krisel 2017
Sally Krisel

When the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children convenes in Atlanta with a retreat Friday and meeting Saturday, a Hall County educator will be leading the board’s agenda.

Sally Krisel, director of innovative and advanced programs for Hall County Schools since 2006, officially began a two-year term as president of the national association Sept. 1, but the board retreat Friday will be the first time she serves actively in her capacity as president. She will also lead the board through the first of four meetings this year and will oversee the organization’s annual convention in Charlotte, N.C., this November, an event she said will bring about 2,500 educators together.

Krisel, who served as the state director of gifted education from 1996 until coming to Hall County, said Thursday her election is the first time the organization has chosen a president who is “a practitioner,” working in the field with teachers and students.

“Every president since 1953 has been a full-time university person,” Krisel said. “Those researchers are so important, and we rely on their scholarship and all the things that they do. I value research. I value my university colleagues and know how important they are, and I have one foot in that world (as a part-time instructor at the University of Georgia). But my experience and success in the day-to-day of rolling up our sleeves and doing something good for gifted kids gives me, I think, a connection to our membership that is real to them.”

Krisel, who has been a part of the association for 25 years and has served on the national board for five, said the job of NAGC president is actually a six-year commitment with two years as president-elect, two years as president and two years as past president.

Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield called Krisel “a true champion in helping find the giftedness that I know God has placed in every student.”

“In my 30 years of education, I have a handful of heroes that are educators, and for 20 years one of them has been Sally Krisel,” Schofield said. “I remember the days when Sally Krisel was head of the Georgia Department of Education gifted department. Most people don’t know this, but during those years Georgia led the nation in identifying underrepresented children with giftedness — in other words, children of color, children of poverty, children with disabilities.”

Krisel said she plans to ask board members this weekend to support three presidential initiatives she wants to enact during her term.

The first is a plan improve the association’s website by adding practical tips each month, which she said could be helpful for teachers and parents.

“That will be a way to involve our networks,” she said. “This will be a way to give purpose to those hard-working people and tap into their expertise.”

She also plans to propose an intermediate-range plan to launch a high-quality online professional learning and digital badging program, which recognizes when someone has completed a “cluster of courses,” according to Krisel. She said she hopes the online courses would have the quality to be used in state certification and university degree programs, but would not be intended as a replacement for those certification and degree programs.

Krisel said she also plans to introduce a long-range proposal that would “establish a sustainable partnership” with selected state superintendents and other decision-makers from around the country who would meet regularly to share research and information about successful programs, offer support and seek guidance. She said the plan would help the organization build long-term success.