Cotabish to Receive National Gifted Education Award

Dr. Alicia Cotabish, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in UCA’s College of Education, has been selected to receive the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Early Leader Award. The Early Leader Award is given to “an individual who has exhibited the highest and most consistent degree of leadership in the gifted education field since receiving his or her doctorate.” The award will be presented to Cotabish at the NAGC national conference in Denver in November.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the National Association for Gifted Children,” said Cotabish. “The talent in the field is top-notch, and is supported by strong leaders. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be recognized by the national organization and the field.”

Before working in higher education, Cotabish taught eight years in the public school system as an elementary and middle school science teacher, a gifted and talented teacher and an award-winning, district-level, gifted program administrator.

“As a former middle school science and K-12 gifted education teacher, I had the opportunity to inspire students to be creative and to embrace scientific habits of mind,” she said. “With a pressing need to produce more Science, Technology, Engineerning, and Mathematics (STEM) talent in the U.S., the cross mix of science and gifted education was a good fit for me.”

Prior to joining UCA, Cotabish was the associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and served as one of two principal investigators of STEM Starters, a federally-funded Javits project. In addition, Cotabish coordinated the Arkansas Evaluation Initiative in Gifted Education, a federally-funded, state-wide school program evaluation initiative. She has delivered more than 100 professional development workshops and presentations focused on STEM and gifted education at local, state, national and international venues.

Cotabish received the 2012 Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education Challenger Award for her work in STEM and gifted education and was the recipient of the Educator Award from the organization in 2007. In 2006, the National Association for Gifted Children awarded her the Doctoral Student Award for potential leadership and early scholarship in the field of gifted education. She was honored with the Texas A&M University – Texarkana Distinguished Alumna Award in 2008.

Cotabish is the currently the president-elect of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators (AAGEA), a constituent arm of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators. In addition, she is the legislative co-chair of Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education and serves on a dozen other committees for education organizations.

She serves on six editorial review boards including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Administrative Issues Journal, TEMPO, Gifted Child Quarterly and Teaching for High Potential. Her recent work has focused on STEM education, school administration and low-income promising learners.

Cotabish received her doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2007, where she majored in Administration and Supervision with an emphasis in Gifted and Talented Administration.