This week we are going to be exploring profound giftednessI’ve done a few podcasts about giftedness as a neurodifference in the past, and I’ve certainly talked a lot about twice exceptionalities, but today I wanted to explore those children who are considered profoundly gifted, which means they score at least three standard deviations above the norm on the bell curve, so they are at the extreme end of the intelligence, or IQ, continuum. 

As you can imagine, profoundly gifted children have unique educational and social emotional needs, and so today, I’m talking with two experts from the Davidson Institute, a US-based organization that offers support to profoundly gifted young people through programs and services. My guests are Stacy Hawthorne, the Director of Online Learning for the Davidson Academy Online, and Dr. Jessica Potts, a teacher at the Academy. Stacy and Jessica have extensive experience serving this population of unique learners, and today, they share with us their insights and best practices for how to identify and support profoundly gifted children. 


About Jessica: Jessica Potts PhD holds a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in Secondary Education, with an emphasis on gifted education and online learning. Her MA is in English Literature, with an emphasis on the English Renaissance. She has spent most of her teaching career at the Davidson Academy of Nevada, both at the Reno and online campuses. Currently, she teaches online courses for the Davidson Academy, develops online content, and previously taught graduate courses on gifted education at UNR. Her research is focused mainly on furthering the burgeoning field of online learning for gifted students. She has been published in Gifted Child Today, Gifted Child Quarterly, Education Week, and has contributed chapters to books on gifted students. Jessica and her husband live in the Czech Republic with their three sons.


About Stacy: As the Director of Online Learning, Stacy Hawthorne led the design of Davidson Academy Online programs, which now include a la carte middle schools courses and a full-time online high school for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S. Davidson Academy online courses offer students live, synchronous sessions; quality interactions with intellectual peers; small class sizes; responsive, caring instructors; Personalized Learning Plans; and embedded opportunities for socialization. Hawthorne was awarded a 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Award in the Teaching and Learning category for the unique and personalized model of online education used at the Davidson Academy.

Hawthorne is currently a doctoral candidate at Boise State University. She is working on her dissertation in the field of online learning with an emphasis in gifted education. She holds an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Ashland University and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Georgia. She has been a licensed educator and administrator in Ohio and Oregon and currently holds licenses in mathematics, social studies, gifted and talented, and school administration in Nevada.



  • What it means to be profoundly gifted (versus gifted)
  • If there is correlation between being profoundly gifted and having some other sort of neurodifference
  • The unique challenges for parents of profoundly gifted children
  • What profoundly gifted students need in an educational setting
  • Recommendations for parents who suspect their child is profoundly gifted
  • How parents of profoundly gifted children can tap into the resources at The Davidson Institute






Read through the whole episode!






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