My name is Teresa Ryan Manzella, and I have been advocating for gifted youth since 1993, when my first child was born. As a person who weathered adolescence being both gifted and bisexual, I have first-hand experience with the challenges that come from being G2.
- National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
- Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT)
- Minnesota Educators for the Gifted and Talented (MEGT)
Elected and appointed positions in these organizations include:
- Gifted Youth Coordinator, Minnesota Mensa
- Past President, Minnesota Mensa
- Member and Mensa Honor Society Coordinator, Mensa Educational and Research Foundation National Gifted Youth Committee
- Advocacy Chair, NAGC GLBTQ Network
- Past Under-served Populations Representative (at-large board position), MCGT
Because this combination is not something many people have researched or advocated for—leaving most organizations unaware of the need to address it—I work to inform groups and individuals of the unique needs of these kids. I also press for more inclusive language, policies, and opportunities for them.
In 2011, I was part of a group of three people who founded the special interest group dedicated to G2 youth, within the NAGC. This SIG has now grown into a network of hundreds of people, and it has its own strand of sessions at NAGC’s annual convention.
I worked with MCGT to adopt language on its site that welcomes people from all backgrounds. I served on my city’s Human Rights Commission for a year, and I also testified at more than one city council meeting, in support of a proposed domestic-partnership ordinance (which passed).
For the last several years, I have been digging deeper for research and resources that address the gifted/GLBTQ combination. There is actually very little written on this combination, so I had to synthesize ideas I found in educational psychology, sociology, gender studies, and philosophy.
I have a Master of Liberal Studies degree. The focus of my research was on the challenges faced by adolescents who are gifted/talented (whether formally identified or not) and GLBTQ. The results of the synthesis I mentioned became the basis for my master’s thesis.
As an advocate and a scholar, I have made numerous presentations to groups of educators, parents, and community groups. I have established a reputation as someone who not only has specific expertise around gifted/GLBTQ issues, but who is also approachable and willing to help.
If you are interested in having me speak to your group, please visit my Speaking page. Whether you are part of a parent group that would like a presentation for a meeting, or a teachers’ organization that is planning a professional development workshop, I can help you.