Advisor Team

Heidi Molbak, MS, NCC, CEP • Co-Founder

Heidi is nationally recognized as an expert on schooling options for gifted and 2E students. She is the founder and president of Seed Starter Educational Consulting, a school placement consulting firm specializing in gifted and twice-exceptional children. Heidi is past chair of the Independent Educational Consultants Association Schools Committee and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. Heidi also trains residential therapeutic programs and traditional schools on the unique challenges of gifted students and parents. Heidi’s teaching experience includes a one-room, multi-age school of 30 students, homeschooling and a small middle school she ran from her home in Kansas City. Heidi is a former Board Member of SENG (Supporting Emotional Need of the Gifted). She presents frequently at national conferences on the education, social-emotional and treatment needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She holds an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University New Orleans and an A.B. in English from Stanford University. She is the recipient of the Oehmig Award for Excellence in Counseling. Heidi believes in flexible schooling opportunities for all people and in that context has used independent day and boarding schools, home school, online schools, the self-directed Beach High School, public magnet and public charter foreign-language immersion schools as well as her one-room, multi-age school. Heidi has one 2e and two gifted sons who have attended sixteen schools in seven states and three countries, including the small school Heidi ran from home.

Stephen H. Chou, Psy.D. • Co-Founder • Director of 2e Assessment and Research

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Stephen H. Chou, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Training at the Summit Center. He is also the owner of and a licensed clinical psychologist within his private practice in Burlingame, CA and Boulder, CO. Dr. Chou is a former adjunct professor at the Alliant International University – California School of Professional Psychology at the San Francisco Bay Area campus, and current adjunct professor at the University of Denver. He has specialties in Family/Child and Multicultural/Community counseling and neuropsychological assessment, especially within the field of giftedness/2e/multi-e. Dr. Chou has been delighted with the myriad of fascinating mind, heart, and soulful presentations of gifted and talented children, youth, and their families; not only with their intelligence but also with their unique socio-emotional development over the lifetime.

Dr. Chou graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Integrative Biology and a minor in music, Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Nursing, and from Alliant International University – California School of Professional Psychology with an MA and PSYD in Clinical Psychology.

Maryellen Butke, MSW, PhD

FlexSchool_Advisor-Maryellen_ButkeMaryellen is an educational advocate and strategist deeply committed to ensuring all children reach their highest potential. In her educational consulting practice, Maryellen has cultivated expertise in disrupting the traditional educational model and building demand for change. Maryellen is an advisor with the Untapped Potential Project, whose mission is to advance public policy that optimizes educational outcomes for children with unique abilities as well as a consultant to Teach For America for their Philanthropic Leadership Circle.

Elaine Christensen, M.Ed.

Elaine is the Director of Professional Development and the Director of the Middle School at Lakeside School, an independent school in Seattle, Washington. She has held multiple roles in the middle and high school divisions since 1992, leading initiatives and developing policies that directly impact faculty expertise and student growth in both intellectual and social/emotional domains. Elaine holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University (1986), an M.A. in English Literature from the Breadloaf School of English at Middlebury College (1994) and an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Program at Columbia University (2005). Elaine lives in Seattle with her husband.

Norma Lu Hafenstein, PhD

FlexSchool_Advisor-Norma_HafensteinDr. Hafenstein is the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences Department, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. Dr. Hafenstein is lead faculty for gifted education, Full Clinical Professor in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department. She advises masters and doctoral degree students in education of the gifted and teaches graduate courses including Creativity: Theory and Practice, Psychological Aspects of the Gifted, Curriculum for the Gifted, Program Development, Leadership and Communication in Gifted Education, Instructional Strategies for the Gifted, Twice Exceptional Learners, and Research as Problem Identification, Intervention, and Application.

Carolyn Kottmeyer, MS Computer Science

Carolyn Kottmeyer is a leading international figure in giftedness as the founder and director of the powerful 1,100 page gifted resource website, Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and Hoagies’ Kids and Teens Page where she manages a parent and teacher community over 35,000 followers. A software engineer by training, since 1998 she has written for gifted newsletters and journals around the world, including Our Gifted Children, Gifted Education Communicator, The SENGVine, and a variety of state and local gifted newsletters. She is the winner of the NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Community Service Award and Annemarie Roeper Award, the SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Service Award and the PAGE (Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education) Neuber-Pregler Award. Carolyn frequently speaks at conferences including World Gifted Council, National Association of Gifted Children, Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, New Jersey Association of Gifted Children and many other state and local gifted associations, National Association of Gifted Children in Malaysia, and others. Carolyn earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg and an M.S. in Computer Science from Villanova. She is the parent of two profoundly gifted adult daughters.

James Webb, PhD

FlexSchool_Advisor-James_WebbJames T. Webb, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the most influential psychologists nationally on gifted education. Dr. Webb has written 16 books, over 75 professional publications, and many research papers for psychology conventions or for conferences on gifted and talented children. Six of his books are on gifted children and adults, and four have won “Best Book” awards.
His book, Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers, won the National Media Award of the American Psychological Association as the best book for “significantly contributing to the understanding of the unique, sensitive, emotional needs of exceptional children.” His other books include Grandparents’ Guide to Gifted Children; Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults; Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model; A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children; and Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope. Several of his books have been translated and published internationally.
Dr. Webb has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Gifted Children, was President of the American Association for Gifted Children, and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, he served for three years on its governing body, the Council of Representatives. A frequent keynote and workshop speaker, Dr. Webb, has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, The Phil Donahue Show, CNN, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio. Currently, Dr. Webb is President of Great Potential Press.

Nicole Oringer, MA, EdM • Founder

richNicole Oringer has a 27 year record of guiding students to schools that suit them well academically and socially, and she brings all of that experience to the students at FlexSchool. She has helped place hundreds of happy students at colleges and universities across the country. Visiting hundreds of colleges, Nicole offers her insights about college counseling to the many counselors she has supervised and trained. She is also a frequent presenter at state and national conferences. She opened up her private practice in 1994 and subsequently became a founding partner of Ivy Ed and then a founder of FlexSchool. While Nicole is no longer involved in running FlexSchool, she remains a champion for gifted and 2e students. She is a member of IECA, NACAC, NJACAC, and HECA and is a New Jersey Certified School Counselor.