Carolyn Welch, CEO of the Midwest Center for the Gifted, is an education lawyer who represents children with various needs and abilities, including special needs students from underserved communities. She serves on the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for the National Association for Gifted Children and is the former Policy & Advocacy Co-Chair of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. Carolyn was also an officer and founding board member of an Indianapolis-based public charter school centered on social identity, academic excellence, and civic engagement. Her experience as a parent of two high-ability children, along with her work representing disadvantaged students, help inform and fuel her passion for improving the education policy framework on behalf of advanced students from all backgrounds. Successful legislative advocacy efforts include the recent passage of the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act and the Report Card Act in 2017. Carolyn received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Joshua Dwyer, Policy Director of the Midwest Center for the Gifted, has worked in education throughout his career – as a practitioner, both at the high school and post-secondary level; as a program manager at a small non-profit; and as a director at a libertarian think tank. In their previous positions, MCG’s CEO and Policy Director worked collaboratively to improve policies for advanced learners in Illinois. Joshua earned his BA in Political Science at the University of Vermont, his MPP at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, and his MSJ at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Over the past few years, MCG’s CEO and and Policy Director have worked collaboratively to improve the policies for advanced learners in Illinois.
In 2016, they wrote and advocated for the passage of the Untapped Potential Act, which reformed Illinois school districts’ gifted and talented identification procedures, requiring districts applying for state grants to universally screen students using local norms. During that year, they also produced a policy brief explaining how the state could better utilize federal funds to support the academic lives of gifted children.
In 2017, they worked together to pass the Accelerated Placement Act, a law which requires all school districts to utilize best practices to evaluate students for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, individual subject acceleration, and grade-skipping.
The organization’s CEO and Policy Director have also jointly written articles on equitable access to acceleration opportunities, including “Too Many Schools Forgo Acceleration and Leave Bright Students Behind” and “Mandating Access to Acceleration: Illinois’ Story.”
Kathleen Nilles, MCG Board Secretary, has served as the Parent Services & Communications Manager for the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) in Washington, D.C. since 2013. In this role, Kathleen edits Parenting for High Potential magazine and serves as the outreach liaison contact for parents, grandparents, and caregivers of gifted and talented children. She has extensive experience in creating and implementing professional development, training, and communications programs for various audiences within the gifted population, including parents, educators, psychologists, and specialists. She is a frequent presenter at national and state conferences, workshops, and seminars to educators and parents. Kathleen holds a master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in gifted education, and dual bachelor’s degrees in public relations and business management.
Theresa Hosey, MCG Board Member, has served as the Director of Gifted & Extended Learning Opportunities in Community Unit School District 115 in Yorkville, Illinois, since 2007. She created an exemplar gifted education program based on best practices and research, servicing 500 students in a large unit K-12 school district. Theresa is also the Director of Camp Imagination, a hands-on summer enrichment program serving over 700 students in Yorkville and surrounding communities that she founded in 2009. She was a board member of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children from 2010-2018 and part of the 15-member group of experts chosen by the Illinois State Board of Education to write and edit the Gifted Education Seminar, a graduate course presenting a comprehensive overview of gifted education intended for every teacher and administrator in the state of Illinois.