Advisor Team

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.