School board to recognize Columbia gifted teacher for award

Monday, November 8, 2010 | 6:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Jill Rockett is the sole recipient of this year’s annual Outstanding Educator of Gifted Award from the Gifted Association of Missouri. She will be recognized by the Columbia School Board at its Monday evening meeting for her contributions to gifted students and programs statewide for the past 10 years.

“This is a huge honor,” Rockett said.  “I have the privilege of working with some of the most outstanding teachers in the state of Missouri.”

The Gifted Association of Missouri is an organization of educators, parents, administrators and others who are concerned about the education of gifted children in Missouri.

It serves children in grades kindergarten through 12th, although not all Missouri schools have gifted programs in place to serve them, said Becky Smith, the association's president.

Rockett, a primary high-potential program teacher, teaches students who demonstrate a need for differentiated curriculum. She is a traveling teacher and visits four elementary schools a week for classes: Shepard Boulevard, New Haven, Mill Creek and Rock Bridge.

“These are kids who are typically creative and good problem-solvers,” she said. “They have been advocated for by classroom teachers, parents and other school staff and have shown high performance on a non-verbal ability test.”

Smith said that the award recipient is chosen through a nomination process. The association's Scholarships and Awards Committee reviews nominees from colleagues and parents of students before a final decision is made.

The committee looks for educators who have made a lasting impact on the field of gifted education.

“It is a great honor to even be nominated,” Smith said.

Rockett was presented the award at the annual Missouri Conference on Gifted Education on Oct. 17.

“It's an amazing feeling — and humbling — to be recognized by your colleagues,” Rockett said.

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