My guest this week is Dr. Melanie Hayes, an expert in gifted education and the founder of Big Minds, a micro-school designed for twice-exceptional learners. Dr. Hayes holds a master’s in gifted education, a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on twice exceptionality, and is also the parent of two differently wired children. 

In our conversation, Dr. Hayes shares her story of going from teacher, to homeschooling parent, to doctorate, to school founder. We also discuss how the educational model and philosophy of Big Minds seeks to support the intellectual, social, and emotional well-being of 2e students, as well as the ways these needs can be met in traditional educational settings. As you’ll hear, her insights are profound—rooted in professional, academic, and personal experience—and her passion for supporting the 2e population runs deep.


About Dr. Hayes: Dr. Melanie Hayes has focused on helping gifted and twice exceptional persons find their niche and work to their strengths. She holds a master’s in gifted education, a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on twice exceptionality, and is currently interning as a marriage and family therapist at Summit Center. Her research and outreach over the past decade has been centered on building support and understanding for the 2e population. Dr. Hayes is also the founder of Big Minds, an educational model for 2e children that mentors and supports their intellectual, social, and emotional well-being.



  • Dr. Hayes’ experience transitioning from teaching to homeschooling and eventually founding Big Minds (and pursuing a PhD along the way)
  • What makes the Big Minds educational model different
  • How Big Minds supports the emotional and social development of 2e and gifted kids 
  • The two most important things Dr Hayes believes teachers in traditional educational systems can do to help 2e students succeed
  • How parents can ask for the supports/accommodations their children need in the classroom
  • How we can help others—professionals, other parents, etc.—who don’t “get it” to understand more about 2e (and why it is such an important undertaking)






Read through the whole episode!






Do you have an idea for an upcoming episode? We’d LOVE to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in our Suggestion Box!

And if you have any other feedback or thoughts you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below or send us a note directly through our Connect form.

If you liked this episode and know of others who would find value in the information, please use the social media share buttons below to help spread the word.

Lastly, if you are so willing, I encourage you to leave an honest review for the TiLT Parenting Podcast over on iTunes. Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and we would love your support in helping us find ours!

To subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss a single episode, you can do so on iTunes here and SoundCloud here.