Early Leader Award

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) annually presents the Early Leader Award to an individual who has made significant contributions in leadership and service to the field of gifted education, and who is in the first 10 years of their career after completion of his or her last earned degree.

Submission Procedure & Checklist
The NAGC national office will make every effort to contact those who have nominated a colleague, or those who have nominated themselves, to let them know of any missing materials, provided the nomination packet arrives at least two weeks before the deadline.

  • On the online form, the person submitting the nomination that details why the nominee would be an appropriate recipient of the award.
  • Two letters of recommendation (from other than the person submitting the nomination) from persons who have the ability to judge the significance of the nominee's contributions.
  • Vita and/or supporting documents for the nominee.

Selection Criteria
Evidence submitted should represent significant contribution in one of the following areas, or various contributions in more than one area:

1. Evidence of leadership roles in local, state, and national organizations for the gifted.

  • Active participation in starting a new group or organization to promote the field.
  • Ongoing membership on the board of directors of this new organization.
  • Executive officer in an organization promoting the field.
  • Received an award for leadership from an organization in the field.
  • Demonstration of advocacy for an organization for gifted education, with the public, legislators, or public officials.
  • Received grant funding for special projects in the area of giftedness at the local and state levels, which resulted in moving the field forward.

2. Evidence of service to local, state, and national organizations for the gifted.

  • Chair of a task force, event (i.e., conference), or major committee.
  • Editor of newsletters or author or editor of other publications for an organization.
  • Provider of service to a state through the Department of Education in a role that assists the field.
  • Coordinator of information dissemination (i.e., listerv, Web site, brochure) with demonstrated impact on the field.
  • Presenter at professional conferences on the topic of gifted education at local, state, and national conferences.
  • Developer or initiator of successful conferences or seminars on the needs of gifted students.
  • Active member on a committee in NAGC that produced products or policy important to the field.

3. Evidence of leadership or service that originated in a unique contribution.

  • Worked actively to support new legislation with demonstrated results.
  • Developed new training activities for staff development.
  • Initiated a new publication or other information dissemination vehicle.
  • Started new gifted education programming at pre-K-collegiate levels (i.e., new gifted program K-12, new certification program at university level).


  • An individual may receive this award once.
  • The nominee must have been in the field for 10 years or fewer years.
  • The nominee must have been a member of NAGC for the two consecutive years preceding his or her nomination.

The recipient(s) of the award and the other applicants will be notified of the Awards Committee's decision in writing no later than August 31. The award recipient will receive a plaque presented at the NAGC Annual Convention in November as well as a one-year membership to NAGC.