The dedicated and talented faculty at Bridges Graduate School is comprised of scholars, authors, experienced teachers, researchers and others with a respected international reputation in cognitive diversity.

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Susan Baum

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Professor Emeritus from College of New Rochelle; Director of 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy;  Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Susan Baum, Ph.D. is the Chancellor of the Bridges Graduate School for Cognitive Diversity in Education and Co-Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, a school for twice exceptional and. She is the author of many publications concerning the needs of special populations of gifted students including the award-winning 3rd edition of her seminal work To be gifted and learning disabled…. Her research and experience in the field of 2e education have earned her much recognition including the  Distinguish Professional Alumni Award from the Neag School of Education & the Alexinia Baldwin Award from National Association for Gifted Students.

Areas of Expertise: Special Education and Learning Disabilities, Education of the Gifted and Talented, Twice-Exceptional Education, Research Methodology, Creativity

Special advisor to the chancellor


Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Sally M. Reis, Ph.D. is an advocate, leader, and researcher in the fields of talent development and education for the gifted and talented. Sally has championed the benefits of encouraging strengths and interests, including gifted students with special needs. Her vision extends to innovative work on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, Gifted Girls and Women, and projects about 2e students, including “Music & Minds,“ a study of young adults with Williams syndrome. Her work highlights the success of recognizing and working with strengths in populations that traditionally only receive remediation. She has been awarded the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology, and served on the Board of Trustees, a Distinguished Professor, and Teaching Fellow at the University of Connecticut where she was also Senior Advisor to the Provost and President for Special Projects. Dr. Reis has agreed to serve Bridges Graduate School as advisor to the chancellor as we continue to grow, evolve and select the next generation of leaders and teachers. Dr. Reis’s primary job will be to lead the BGS Institutional and strategic planning initiatives.

Chief Operating Officer

Henry J. Nicols (Hank)

M.S. from Buffalo State S.U.N.Y.
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Henry (Hank) Nicols is a retired adjunct professor from the International Graduate Program for Educators at Buffalo State SUNY.  He spent nearly twenty years teaching graduate students in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and  South America.  He has conducted significant social and emotional research and was the recipient of two U.S. Department, Office of Overseas School Grants to develop materials for International Schools.  He is a popular as sought after keynote speaker and workshop leader at conferences and symposiums.  As a former hospital administrator and retired Chief of Police he has significant organizational and leadership experience.

Areas of Expertise:  Research, Social and Emotional Needs, Conflict Management, Leadership, and Organizational Improvement. 


C. Matthew Fugate

Ph.D. from Purdue University
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Matthew Fugate, Ph. D. is a nationally regarded educator in the field of gifted education and twice-exceptionality. His research has examined the relationship between working memory and levels creative thinking in gifted students with ADHD. He has also examined the coping mechanisms of twice-exceptional girls in secondary school as they navigate both their academic studies and interpersonal relationships. He has presented to national and international audiences. Matthew currently serves on the Board of the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented and as Chair of the Special Populations Network for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Additionally, he serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal for Education of the Gifted and is the Associate Editor of Teaching for High Potential. Matthew was named one of Variations magazine’s “22 People to Watch in the Neurodiversity Movement” and received the Early Career Award from the NAGC Special Populations Network. He has published several articles, book chapters, and books related to his work.

Areas of Expertise: Creativity, Equity and inclusion, Twice-exceptionality, Underserved populations, and Total School Cluster Grouping


(Listed Alphabetically by Last Name)

Lin Lim

Lin Lim

Dean of Students & Communications
Ph.D. from Boston University
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education; Quark Collaboration Institute Inc

Dr. Lin Lim has a diverse academic background, growing up in Singapore and arriving in the US for higher education. She holds a bachelors degree in Economics at Boston College and a doctorate in psychology (human development) from Boston University, Academic Graduate Certificate in Mind, Brain and Education (Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Education), and Academic Graduate Certificate in Twice-exceptional Education (Bridges Graduate School). Her parenting journey with her two profoundly gifted children, one twice-exceptional, and the other radically accelerated drives her to create better understanding, communication, and nurturance for such children between all educational stakeholders. She is a founding board member of the non-profit Gifted Education Family Network, and the founder of the non-profit Quark Collaboration Institute, and a serves on several non-profit education boards. She has presented both nationally and internationally in conferences ranging from education, interdisciplinary social science, to psychology. She is currently focused on using data visualization techniques, and developing interdisciplinary dynamic complex multi-systems embodied guiding frameworks around parenting, education, and applied research with gifted outliers across the life span.

Areas of Expertise: Human Development, dynamic complex systems, gifted outliers, cultural diversity, attitudes and behavior, brain targeted teaching.

George Robinson

George Robinson

Dean of Evaluations & Institutional Research
Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity; Adjunct Professor of Writing, Western Connecticut State University; New York State Teachers of English: Teacher of the Year

George J. Robinson Ph.D. teaches Creating Strength-based Talent-focused Schools. George has published journal articles on Gifted Ed, Differentiation, and Science Programs. He is a young adult author focusing on Environmental Issues and History. He has presided as Middle School Chair for the National Association for Gifted Children. George, a retired middle school and high school English and Gifted and Talented instructor, served as the assistant Dean of the College of New Rochelle’s Graduate School, a differentiation Instructor for Renzulli Learning, a Director of a gifted elementary school, and an evaluator for multiple-year grants.

Areas of Expertise: Gifted Ed, Differentiation, Writing, Program Development, Evaluation, Funding

Karen Westberg

Dean of Doctoral Studies
Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Professor emerita from University of St. Thomas

Dr. Karen L. Westberg is professor emerita from the University of St. Thomas (UST), MN, where she taught graduate coursework in gifted education and research methodology. Before joining the faculty at UST, she was a principal investigator at The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and a faculty member at the University of Connecticut. She has published articles in several journals including Journal of Creative Behavior and Gifted Child Quarterly. Earlier in her career, she was a public school teacher.

Areas of Expertise: Research methodology, Program evaluation and Measurement, Curriculum, Education of the Gifted and Talented.


(Listed Alphabetically by Last Name)


Ed.D. from University of Denver
Current Affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity

Karen B. Arnstein, Ed.D. is a former assistant professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. She received her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction with a Specialization for the Gifted from the University of Denver. Prior to this, she worked with K-12 students and teachers for over a decade. Her research examined how parents, teachers, psychologists, and educational environments impact the developmental transitions of preadolescent twice-exceptional (2e) students. Karen has presented to audiences at local, state, national, and international conferences on topics including twice exceptionality, classroom supports, paradigm shifts in pedagogy, identification, creating inclusive classrooms, effective differentiation, parental experience of grieving, and the effects of subtle and overt communication on 2e students. She currently serves as a founding IRB Committee Member for Bridges Graduate School and as Secretary of the Board for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Her parenting journey with her twice-exceptional teen and life journey with a profoundly gifted spouse, motivate her to bring awareness and change to create a more inclusive society for all people.

Areas of Expertise: Gifted and Talented, Research Methods, Educational Theory, Curriculum & Instruction, Parenting, Twice Exceptionality, ADHD

Lois Baldwin

Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University
Current Affiliation: Educational consultant

Lois Baldwin, Ed.D., is currently an educational consultant specializing in the areas of twice exceptional, cognitive diversity, and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). She has been both a teacher of twice-exceptional students and the administrator of the Gifted Special Education Program operated by the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), one of the first programs in the country serving students who were gifted with learning and emotional needs. She has assisted teachers and staff with curriculum development, student issues, transition planning, assessment, and professional development. She co-founded the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS) and is currently serving as president. Dr. Baldwin has taught courses on giftedness and twice exceptionality at Manhattanville College, Pace University, College of New Rochelle, and Regis University. She has been a consultant and speaker at numerous national conferences and symposiums. She was a consultant with the Colorado Department of Education Twice-Exceptional Project, where she helped design online courses, workshops, training modules, manuals, and materials for educators throughout the state. In addition, Lois has published numerous professional articles on the subject of twice-exceptional individuals, as well as Response to Intervention and MTSS: (Gifted Child Today, Summer 2009 and October 2015 and Teaching Exceptional Children, March/April 2015) and chapters for books Introduction to Gifted Education (2018), Supporting and Educating Twice-Exceptional Children (2018), and RtI for Gifted Students (2011). She has also served as the chair of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Twice-Exceptional Special Interest Group (SIG) and has been the co-facilitator for the 2e Community of Practice (CoP) action groups.

Areas of Expertise: Twice-Exceptional Education, Special Education

Sally Dobyns

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Adjunct faculty at SUNY at Buffalo State College; Retired professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Sally M. Dobyns, Ph.D. is a nationally regarded educator in the field of gifted education and talent development. Prior to completing her doctoral degree in gifted education and talent development at The University of Connecticut in 1992, she was a classroom teacher in Kentucky and South Carolina. For 21 years, Dr. Dobyns served as Professor, Program Coordinator of the M. Ed. Program in Gifted Education, and Director of the Center for Gifted Education, and is noted for her contributions to teaching and learning on a variety of topics, including curriculum design, higher order thinking skills, differentiating curriculum and instruction, talent development, and other aspects of gifted education.  She has served as a consultant to over 100 schools in the United States, Mexico and South America.

Areas of Expertise: Curriculum, Education of the Gifted and Talented, Teacher training, Creativity

Brian HousandBrian Housand

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Brian Housand, is the coordinator of the Academically or Intellectually Gifted program at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. Housand earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Connecticut with an emphasis in both gifted education and instructional technology. He served two terms on the National Association for Gifted Children’s Board of Directors as a Member-At-Large. Along with his wife Dr. Angela Housand and Dr. Joe Renzulli, he co-authored Using the Schoolwide Enrichment Model with Technology. He is also the author of Fighting Fake News! Teaching Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in a Digital Age. Brian has worked in education as a classroom teacher, a teacher of the gifted, and a university professor for over twenty years. As a speaker and consultant, he has presented in 40 states, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Kuwait, and Chilé. Brian is a lover of technology, Star Wars, all things Disney, video games, and fonts. He proudly identifies himself as a geek. You can learn more on his website at and by following him on Twitter @brianhousand

Areas of Expertise: Gifted and Talented Education, Instructional Technology, Creativity, Curiosity, Critical Thinking, and Media Literacy

Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman

Ph.D. from Yale University

Scott Barry Kaufman is an author, researcher, and speaker who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. Curious about the mind, brain, and behavior, Dr. Kaufman likes to share his enthusiasm for these topics through his teaching, writing, and podcasts. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review. He contributes a regular column called “Beautiful Minds” to Scientific American, and hosts The Psychology Today Podcast. Named as one of “50 Groundbreaking Scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider, his books include Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, and, as editor, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties. Dr. Kaufman received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an M. Phil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Areas of Expertise: Creativity, Intelligence, Research

Joy Lawson-DavisJoy Lawson-Davis

Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity; Johns Hopkins; Creating Positive Futures

Joy Lawson-Davis, Ed.D., is a career educator focusing the last four decades on working to increase equity in gifted programs for underrepresented students, with a particular focus on culturally diverse students. She has served in multiple roles over her career
including in higher education, state agency, and regional school for gifted students.
She has worked with school districts across the nation, and presented at conferences in Dubai, Istanbul, South Africa & the Caribbean. 2019 Special Populations Award (NAGC); 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award (SENG)  

Areas of Expertise: Gifted Education Equity & Diversity; Thrice-Exceptional students; Parent & Family advocacy

Jann Leppien

Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut
Current affiliation: Whitworth University

Jann Leppien, Ph.D. is an associate professor and the Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Whitworth’s Center for Gifted Education supports and develops policies and practices that encourage the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. Whitworth offers educators a specialty endorsement and Master degree in gifted education. Dr. Leppien conducts professional staff training for educators in the areas of differentiated instruction, curriculum design and assessment for advanced students, thinking skills, and gifted program development, both nationally and internationally. She has served on the board of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and currently serves on the board of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS), the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, NAGC’s Diversity and Equity and Awards Committees, and Washington State’s Gifted and Talented Advisory Board. She is the co-author of The Multiple Menu Model: A Practical Guide for Developing Differentiated Curriculum and The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge High-Ability Students.    

Areas of Expertise: Curriculum, Differentiated Instruction, Leadership, Research and evaluation, Gifted and Talented, Underachievement, Twice-Exceptional Education

Dan Peters

Ph.D. from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology
Current affiliation: Summit Center

Dr. Dan Peters, licensed psychologist, is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Summit Center, specializing in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Peters is author of Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears and From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears. He is also co-author of Raising Creative Kids, and writes for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today. He is also Co-Founder of Parent Footprint, and on-line interactive parent training community.

Areas of Expertise: Assessment and treatment of children with stress and anxiety, Twice-Exceptional Education, Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Learners

Jade Rivera

Ed.D. from Bridges Graduate School
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School for Cognitive Diversity in Education

Jade Rivera is an author and professor specializing in designing curriculum and micro-schools for twice-exceptional children. In 2016 Jade was honored by the California Association for the Gifted for distinguished service on behalf of gifted and twice-exceptional children. More recently, she has been recognized as a ‘person to watch in the 2e movement’ by 2e News. Jade was a member of the inaugural cohort at Bridges Graduate School and earned her doctoral degree in 2022.

Areas of Expertise: Designing curriculum; Micro-schools for twice-exceptional children

Nicole Tetreault

Nicole Tetreault

Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology
Current affiliation: Awesome Neuroscience, Beyond the Cell. PEN Los Angeles Committee

Nicole A. Tetreault, Ph.D., is a compassionate neuroscientist, author, meditation teacher, and international speaker on topics of neurodiversity, neurodevelopment, creativity, mental health, and wellness. Her book, Insight into a Bright Mind, explores groundbreaking research examining the experiences of unique, creative, and intense brains through interviews, storytelling, and literary science, while advocating for new directions of human diversity and neurodiversity. Nicole received her Ph.D. from Caltech in biology specializing in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. As the founder of Awesome Neuroscience, she translates the most promising neuroscience and positive psychology for people to live their best life. Nicole has authored numerous academic papers on intelligence, autism, brain evolution, neuroinflammation, and behavior. She is a dean at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education and teaches the complexities of neurodiversity, meditation, and neuroscience. Nicole leads a new generation of meditation practices by fusing modern discoveries in neuroscience with the ancient art of meditation. As recipient of the Milton Career Exploration Prize from Caltech, she founded the novel non-profit Beyond the Cell, a transformative program to rehabilitate incarcerated women through guided meditation, neuroscience, literature, and expressive writing. Nicole believes we have the ability to wire our minds for positive plasticity through compassion and wisdom and live the life we dream. For more about Nicole, please visit and

Areas of Expertise: Neuroscience, Neurodiversity, Neurodevelopment, Physiology, Mental Health, Wellness, Meditation, Creativity, Writing, Research, and Complexities of Twice Exceptionality. Milton Career Exploration Prize Fellow

Christopher Wiebe

Ed.D. from California State University, Los Angeles
Current affiliation: Associate Head of School, Bridges Academy

Chris Wiebe studied philosophy and literature before spending seven years in print journalism. He began teaching high school English in 2008, developing an interest in multimodal literacy and curriculum design. He has been the high school director at Bridges Academy for three years, and received his doctorate in education in 2016. His paper comparing technology policy and teacher belief was a finalist for an AERA “Best Paper” award in 2016 and he is a co-author of a chapter in in the book Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties.

Areas of Expertise: Leadership and change, Policy in Education, Twice Exceptional Education, Qualitative Research Methods


(Listed Alphabetically by Last Name)


B.A. from New York University
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Stephanie Coxon received her bachelor’s degree from New York University in 2018, where she studied Linguistics, American Sign Language, and dance. After graduating she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in the American Studies department at Ovidius University in Constanta, Romania. Upon returning home, she assisted Dr. Robin Schader in organizing the 2e Symposium held in October 2019. She currently serves as the registrar of Bridges Graduate School where she earned a Certificate in 2e Education. She is an avid dancer and traveler. She completed her registrar training through the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.


Planning & Accreditation Coordinator
Ed.D. from Bridges Graduate School
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Bringing over 17 years of experience, she is currently serving as a LIM teacher and the Ballet Coordinator at ASFM. The creator of both of these programs, which attempt to enhance student learning by infusing motion, creativity, and cross-curricular instruction to the classroom. Passionate about creating environments where learning is equitable for all, unique learning profiles and neurodiversity are celebrated, and awe, excitement, and student voice are brought back into learning. She holds a BS in Finance, a BA in Classical Ballet, a Masters in Education, and earned her doctoral degree in Cognitive Diversity at Bridges Graduate School in 2022.


Director of Admissions
M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles
Current affiliation: Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education

Kim Vargas is the admissions director for the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education and the Bridges Academy Online High School. She is a trained facilitator of SENG Model Parent Groups for parents of twice exceptional children. She received her bachelor’s degree from USC Rossier School of Education and holds a masters degree in Special Education for Gifted and Talented from California State University of Los Angeles. Kim earned a credential in mild/moderate learning disabilities from California Polytechnic University at Pomona. Kim’s teaching career spanned 26 years in public schools. She is currently in her last year of the doctoral program at the Bridges Graduate School.