Dr. Brandi Maynard, affectionately known by her students as Dr. B, knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was 7 years
old. She was invited to an old one room schoolhouse near her childhood home in Washington State by museum curators who thought she would
enjoy “playing school” with their grandchildren. Her journey to becoming a teacher began that day but morphed into something beyond her
Dr. B was fresh out of college when she stepped into her first classroom in 1997, a K-5 gifted pullout program serving nearly 100 K-5 gifted students. These precious children were nothing like she had experienced before. Gifted students thought differently, needed individualized learning experiences, and were not the children her teacher preparation program prepared her for and she quickly enrolled in a Master’s program in Teaching Gifted and Talented Students from Whitworth University. She was exposed to ideas, theories, and strategies that were new to her but were congruent with what she knew to be true about education. At her core, these new ideas fit perfectly with her synergistic style of teaching and desire to focus on the needs of the whole child.
She continued on with her education and graduated from Gonzaga University with a Ph.D in Leadership Studies focusing her dissertation research on the teacher characteristics needed to nurture gifted students in a technology rich environment. This was an intersection between her passion for gifted education, effective teaching, and technology integration.
Through her dissertation research, she found the message she was meant to share with the world. Dr. B learned that a highly effective teacher serving gifted learners is an ally and serves the students through the following servant leadership attributes: listening to students; empathizing with their needs; healing their hearts; being aware of what is needed; persuading students to become lifelong learners; committing to their growth; and being a steward of their time, talent, and resources. The teacher must realize that the process may get messy along the way, which causes the team to adapt in those situations. The teacher is an architect who creates a well-designed learning foundation, providing guidance and aggregating the necessary print, digital, and human resources together in one place. Finally, the teacher provides the appropriate level of autonomy to the student.
Her calling is to serve the gifted students in my life by walking alongside them, asking thoughtful questions, providing guidance, and connecting with their hearts while connecting them with one another. Her mission is to teacher the adults in their lives how to do the same. She believes that together we can transform the life of gifted learners, one child at a time.