Each year we highlight the work of an educational leader who has made an impact in areas of education that directly influence the work we do, and we call that person our Person of Significance. In the past we have recognized Dr. Joe Renzulli for his research and work in enrichment education and identification; Dr. Shelagh Gallagher for her work in authentic learning paradigms, particularly Problem-Based Learning; Dr. James Webb, for his work with social and emotional factors affecting gifted and talented children; and Dr. Bonnie Cramond for her work in creativity education and development.
For 2019, we want to highlight the importance of diversity and cultural awareness inherent in SIG programs.
A transformational leader in this aspect of gifted education is our 2019 Person of SIGnificance: Dr. Donna Y. Ford.
Dr. Ford is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology.
Professor Ford was formerly an endowed chair at Vanderbilt University in the College of Education. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Ford earned her Doctorate in Urban Education (1991), Master of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University.
Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on:
- The achievement gap
- Recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education
- Multicultural curriculum and instruction
- Culturally competent teacher training and development
- African-American identity
- African-American family involvement
She consults with school districts and educational and legal organizations on such topics as gifted education under-representation and Advanced Placement, multicultural/urban education and counseling, and closing the achievement gap.
Professor Ford has written over 300 articles and book chapters; she has made over 2,000 presentations at professional conferences and organizations, and in school districts.
She is the author/co-author of several books, including Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education (2013), Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students (1996, 2010), Multicultural Gifted Education (1999, 2011), Gifted and Advanced Black Students in School: An Anthology of Critical Works (2011).
Dr. Ford’s work has been recognized by various professional organizations including the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies, The American Educational Research Association; The National Association for Gifted Children; The National Association of Black Psychologists; and The Association for the Gifted.
Dr. Ford is co-founder of the Scholar Identity Institute (SII) for Black Males™, and creator of The Ford Female Achievement Model of Excellence (FAME). Donna is a two-time board member of the National Association for Gifted Children and has served on numerous editorial boards, such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Exceptional Children, Roeper Review, Journal of Negro Education, Gifted Child Today, and Journal of Educational Psychology. She also reviews for several journals in such disciplines and topics as urban education, the achievement gap, educational psychology, and counseling and development.
In this post, we want to highlight Dr. Ford’s work on the Equity-Based Bill of Rights in the article A Culturally Responsive Equity-Based Bill of Rights for Gifted Students of Color. The article is co-authored with Kenneth T. Dickson, M.Ed.; Joy Lawson Davis, Ed.D.; Michelle Trotman Scott, Ph.D.; and Tarek C. Grantham, Ph.D. This Bill of Rights was envisioned with the goal of effecting change based on equity and cultural responsiveness. The eight sections focus on fundamental issues representing the removal of barriers so that gifted students of color must have their gifts and talents recognized, affirmed, and developed, as districts endeavor to recruit and retain them in gifted education. Dr. Ford is currently working on an evaluative tool to accompany the document.