MAGE announces 3 new Professional Advisory Council members

Midwest Academy for Gifted Education is thrilled to announce that 3 more Professional Advisory Council members were welcomed by our Governing Board in the month of May.

A year ago, when we wrote our business plan for Midwest Academy, we had a goal of founding a Professional Advisory Council in 2019, and growing it to 3 members. We over-delivered on this goal a year early, in 2018. We are pleased to add 3 additional members to the council, bringing its membership to 10 education, science, technology, mathematics, design, law, and health professionals. The council provides guidance to help us create policy based on best practices, solve new challenges, develop continuous improvement and innovate our curriculum, and other aspects of creating a top school for the gifted in Chicago. The link to our entrire Advisory Council Page is here.

Neil Margolis, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO is a Developmental and Rehabilitation Optometrist practicing in the Chicago metro area. He has specialized his practice over the the last 28 years towards the evaluation and treatment of patients with binocular, oculomotor, visual/vestibular integration and visual field defects, as well as visual processing difficulties. Dr. Margolis is a recipient of the Advancement of Sciences Award for his contribution to the science of neuro-optometric rehabilitation and is one of the contributing authors on a collaborative textbook on multidisciplinary care of the patient following brain injury, which has become the standard reference for student doctors and clinicians. Dr. Margolis is passionate about helping his patients achieve their goals, and studying functional neurology. He says, “In my clinical practice, I personally have evaluated many gifted students who have relatively poor visual spacial skills, or tracking skills, but are sophisticated at using contextual cues or other strategies to mask their weakness. This ultimately leads to inefficiency, underachievement, avoidance, and frustration. These students’ grades are typically too high to qualify for educational support or even appropriate accommodations in the public schools. Priate schools often do not have teachers sufficiently specialized in recognizing this profile, or who are able to address this need. A private school with the specific mandate of providing an optimum, customizable education for their gifted students is needed. This will not only allow each student to achieve their maximum potential academically, but to also feel more confident and happy emotionally.”

Neil Margolis, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO is a Developmental and Rehabilitation Optometrist practicing in the Chicago metro area. He has specialized his practice over the the last 28 years towards the evaluation and treatment of patients with binocular, oculomotor, visual/vestibular integration and visual field defects, as well as visual processing difficulties. Dr. Margolis is a recipient of the Advancement of Sciences Award for his contribution to the science of neuro-optometric rehabilitation and is one of the contributing authors on a collaborative textbook on multidisciplinary care of the patient following brain injury, which has become the standard reference for student doctors and clinicians. Dr. Margolis is passionate about helping his patients achieve their goals, and studying functional neurology. He says, “In my clinical practice, I personally have evaluated many gifted students who have relatively poor visual spacial skills, or tracking skills, but are sophisticated at using contextual cues or other strategies to mask their weakness. This ultimately leads to inefficiency, underachievement, avoidance, and frustration. These students’ grades are typically too high to qualify for educational support or even appropriate accommodations in the public schools. Priate schools often do not have teachers sufficiently specialized in recognizing this profile, or who are able to address this need. A private school with the specific mandate of providing an optimum, customizable education for their gifted students is needed. This will not only allow each student to achieve their maximum potential academically, but to also feel more confident and happy emotionally.”

Gabe Lerner works in technology. Gabe has been programming since 8 years of age, was the youngest grandmaster at the time of achieving that status in Illinois, and likes chess and rock climbing. He believes that gifted education is needed in this city and it would be important to have a school in the city that exceeds high expectations of other top cities and international standards. He is a 1st generation immigrant from Moldova who values his international roots and identity, and lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Gabe Lerner works in technology. Gabe has been programming since 8 years of age, was the youngest grandmaster at the time of achieving that status in Illinois, and likes chess and rock climbing. He believes that gifted education is needed in this city and it would be important to have a school in the city that exceeds high expectations of other top cities and international standards. He is a 1st generation immigrant from Moldova who values his international roots and identity, and lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Dr. Laura LaSalle is an Assistant Professor and Program Leader, Differentiated Instruction in the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs. She joins Concordia University after thirty years of service to public education in Illinois. In the past, Dr. LaSalle was a special education teacher as well as an elementary and middle school principal and served in the capacity of RTI, Gifted and Second Language Learner Director. She’s been awarded with the Apple Distinguished School Award, Board Award for Excellence, IASCD Leadership Award, and national recognition for U.S. Healthy Schools. Her research interests include culturally responsive teaching, parent involvement, instructional coaching and mentoring, educational leadership and differentiated instruction.  Outside of the classroom Dr. LaSalle also presents workshops on the importance of parent engagement for student success. She continues to be an ISBE approved trainer for Gifted Education.

Dr. Laura LaSalle is an Assistant Professor and Program Leader, Differentiated Instruction in the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs. She joins Concordia University after thirty years of service to public education in Illinois. In the past, Dr. LaSalle was a special education teacher as well as an elementary and middle school principal and served in the capacity of RTI, Gifted and Second Language Learner Director. She’s been awarded with the Apple Distinguished School Award, Board Award for Excellence, IASCD Leadership Award, and national recognition for U.S. Healthy Schools. Her research interests include culturally responsive teaching, parent involvement, instructional coaching and mentoring, educational leadership and differentiated instruction.

Outside of the classroom Dr. LaSalle also presents workshops on the importance of parent engagement for student success. She continues to be an ISBE approved trainer for Gifted Education.