California Association for the Gifted

Home » Executives and Chairpersons

Executives and Chairpersons


ann-smithAnn Smith



Ann serves as President-Elect for the California Association for the Gifted. She is Co-Founder of the Gifted Support Center in San Mateo, CA. The Center provides support to families of gifted children offering assessments, consultations, parent groups, and resources. The Center also works with underserved schools in The Bay Area providing an integrated language arts curriculum that is aligned with the CCSS and VPA standards. Ann also serves on the advisory board for the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, on the Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee for USC/US Department of Education Jacob Javits Grant Project CHANGE, on the Editorial Board for the Gifted Education Communicator, and on a public policy committee for the Institute for Educational Advancement.

Jennette Harperjennette-harper



Jennette Harper has been a teacher and administrator for the past 39 years in Southern California.  She has worked with Gifted children in mathematics as a teacher and as an administrator she oversaw the GATE services for the Rialto Unified School District until she retired in 2016. She worked with identification and placement of the students, curriculum and instruction, differentiation and teacher training.  She was instrumental in bringing in partnerships for training of teachers and assisting them in earning their GATE certification.  She is the mother of two gifted adult children.  Currently is the Chief Financial Officer for the California Association for the Gifted and volunteers her time to continue the work of meeting the needs all students and supporting educators in that process.

Krisa Mullerunknown-female


Krisa Muller recently became the GATE program specialist for PYLUSD. Prior to that, she was a cluster model and magnet school teacher in the GATE program for Placentia-Yorba Linda. Krisa received her MA in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. She has served as the Orange Region Educator representative for CAG and now serves as secretary.

Marie Thornsberry

(Communications Director)


Marie Thornsberry is the parent of two adult gifted sons. She has been involved with gifted education as a teacher and administrator for over thirty years, and currently teaches a third-grade GATE cluster class in the Rialto Unified School District. She was recently selected as a NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador and will fly on NASA’s SOFIA.  Marie has served on the CAG board for over fifteen years and advocates for appropriate services for gifted learners. As CAG President, she hopes to assist districts in seeing that all gifted and advanced learners in California are served at utmost levels.

Joan Kerrjoan-kerr

(Past President)


Joan Lindsay Kerr is the Past-President of the California Association for the Gifted. Joan has been a member of CAG since 1985 and has served on the CAG Board as the Educator

Representative for the San Joaquin Region, as the Educator

Representative Chair, as President-Elect and chair of the CAG Conference Committee, and as President.  She is a co-author of the CAG publication, “The Leadership Challenge:  A Guidebook for Administrators.” Joan loved her 17 years as a middle school GATE teacher and remains passionate about meeting the needs of the gifted students of California.  She received a M.As. degree in Educational Administration and served as the GATE program coordinator for two school districts in Bakersfield.  Under her leadership, the Rosedale Union School District was the recipient of CAG’s Five Star GATE Program Award. Joan retired two years ago and is enjoying spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Jessica Manzoneimg_0963

(Educator Representative Chair)



Krista Landgrafkrista-landraf

(Parent Representative Chair)


Krista Landgraf has served on the California Association for the Gifted for the last six years, during which time she has held the positions of Joshua Tree Educator Representative, Education Chair for the state and currently Parent Chair.  She has been an elementary GATE teacher for 20 years and has received the Sarah D Barder- Johns Hopkins University Lifetime Fellowship Award, CAG Distinguished Service Award and Teacher of the Year for Chino, California from the state Assembly. She is a speaker throughout the state on gifted education. She is also an adjunct teacher for UC- Riverside GATE Certification Program.


unknown-femaleSandra Kaplan

(Education Chair)







Kari Hanson Smith

(Legislation Chair)


Ms. Hanson-Smith is a tireless advocate for advanced learners. Eminently qualified, she has more than 15 years’ experience working in gifted education. Ms. Hanson-Smith earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Talented Education from the Three Summers program within the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. While there, she studied with Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis, authors of the Enrichment Triad Model, and the Schoolwide Enrichment Model.   Ms. Hanson-Smith’s breadth of expertise includes GATE program design, talent development, differentiating instruction at the K-8 level, the social and emotional needs of gifted individuals, working with students from diverse populations, and gifted education theory.  In addition to serving on the CAG Board as the current Capitol Region Education Representative, She is the Coordinator for GATE and AP Programs, Sacramento City Unified School District. She has also worked as a GATE Resource Teacher and as a classroom teacher.  She is passionately dedicated to urban gifted education and advocating for the academic and emotional needs of gifted and high ability learners in public school systems.

Merritt Boostermeritt-booster

(Publications Chair)


Merritt Alden Booster worked for twenty years as the GATE Coordinator in the Rincon Valley School District, in Santa Rosa, California, and served as its editor, maintaining the district website and newsletters. She was instrumental in developing the GATE program and teacher training within the district and has provided workshops in many surrounding districts. Merritt has served on the CAG board since 1998, as educator representative, parent representative, and Publications Chair.

Anna Williamsunknown-female

(CAG PAC Chair)


Anna Williams has been on the CAG board since 1998 as Parent Rep, Educator Chair, President and currently CAG PAC Chair. In addition to serving on the board, she is the parent of three grown children and a classroom teacher of over 30 years. In 1996 she received her Master’s Degree from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. In 2004 she was a founding teacher at Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School, a National Blue Ribbon Award School in 2016. Anna continues to advocate for students and families at both the state and local level.

Dana Reupertimg_0962

(Public Relations/Membership Chair)


Former GATE Teacher, K-12 GATE Coordinator, and Principal in Riverside USD..  Twice CAG President and twice CAG Secretary, plus Joshua Tree Representative.  Presently on California Foundation for Gifted Education Advisory Board, CAG Board Member, UC Riverside Extension Instructor for the GATE Certificate Program, Member of Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce Business/Education Council and Chair of the Annual Riverside College and Career Fair.  Presenter at California Association for the Gifted, National Association for Gifted Children, and World Council for Gifted Education Conferences.

kathy-alexander-2Kathy Alexander

(Special Needs Chair)


Kathy has been a middle school teacher for the past twenty-two years in Rincon Valley Union School District in Santa Rosa. She has been involved in gifted education for seventeen of those years, including time as site GATE mentor teacher, GATE Identification Committee member, CAG board member (Educator Representative for four years, and currently, Membership Chair), and now, GATE Coordinator and Consulting Teacher with Rincon Valley. She earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on Educational Technology at Sonoma State.  Her thesis focused on Higher-Level Thinking within the Student-Centered Classroom. When not working to help teachers meet the academic needs of their gifted students, she enjoys reading, being outside, and spending time with her grandchildren.

kate-spragKate Sprague

(Technology Chair)


Ms. Sprague is a dedicated educator with classroom and GATE coordinator experience. She has seen gifted education programs in three states, giving her perspective on the possibilities for best serving gifted students. After filling the role of Bay Area Region Representative, she took on the position of Technology Chair. She works hard to connect CAG members with resources and to offer a network across a diverse state for parents and educators.

img_0951Lucas Thornsberry

(GEC Webmaster)

Lucas Thornsberry graduated UC Santa Cruz in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science: Computer Game Design.  After graduating, he worked for Intel Corporation as a computer software validation engineer, where he identified and debugged potential issues with the design of video processing hardware on Intel microprocessors.  In 2014, he left Intel to become an independent software developer to design and create phone applications and games.  Since 2015, Lucas has managed the editing and publishing of CAG’s quarterly online journal- the Gifted Education Communicator

kristyna-masonKristyna Mason

(CAG Website Developer and Graphic Designer)

Kristyna Mason is majoring in Computer Science with an emphasis in International Relations at Fort Hays State University. In her adolescent years Kristyna resided in Singapore and now lives in Redlands, California. Kristyna has a background in creating various professional and social websites, as well as creating multiple graphic logos and artistic digital design features. Currently, she is the website developer and graphic designer for California’s Association for the Gifted as well as managing other websites while she finishes her degree.