Three UA Little Rock students receive AGATE scholarships for gifted and talented education

UALR sign at the entrance on S. University Dr near University Plaza on January 28, 2016.

Three graduate students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock have been recognized for their excellence in gifted and talented education in Arkansas with scholarships from Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE).

“One of my favorite aspects about AGATE is the organization’s ability to give back to the students and teachers in the form of awards and scholarships each year,” said Dustin Seaton, president of AGATE. “I am a recipient of the AGATE scholarship previously, and it helped my family tremendously in paying for my G/T certification and endorsement.”

Countess Cyrus, a kindergarten teacher with Little Rock School District, Krista Hinton, K-12 gifted and talented coordinator for Lavaca School District, and Sarah Willis, gifted and talented K-4 facilitator at Lakeside School District in Hot Springs, received $1,000 scholarships from AGATE.

Dr. Ann Robinson, director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at UA Little Rock, described Cyrus as an early career teacher who was inspired by a gifted and talented facilitator at her elementary school to pursue a master’s degree in gifted, creative, and talented education at UA Little Rock.

“Countess is an exemplary early childhood educator who understands that fostering creativity, providing hands-on instruction, and spotting talents in young children makes a real difference,” Robinson said.

Dr. Christine Deitz, associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center, described Willis, who is a member of the Online Gifted Education K-12 Licensure Program, as an excellent student and educator.

“Sara immediately distinguished herself as a very special educator,” Deitz said. “Sara is amazing. Her work reflects interesting and insightful perspectives that stimulate thoughtful responses from others.”

The third scholarship recipient, Hinton, is also in the Online Gifted Education K-12 Licensure Program and has also recently been elected to serve on the AGATE Nominations Committee.

“Krista will assist the AGATE Board in spotting leadership talent among Arkansas’s educators,” Deitz said. “As she is finishing her GT licensure with UA Little Rock, she is beginning her National Board Teacher Certification in Exceptional Needs/Gifted. I’m looking forward to working with her as she seeks this national credential.”

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