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Roberts honored for impact on education in Kentucky

Julia Link Roberts received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators on Friday (Sept. 25), recognizing the impact she has had on teacher education and all facets of gifted education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Julia Link Roberts speaks at the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators conference after receiving the Distinguished Educator Award during the organization's annual conference Sept. 25 at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowilng Green. (Photo by Sam Oldenburg)

Julia Link Roberts speaks at the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators conference after receiving the Distinguished Educator Award during the organization’s annual conference Sept. 25 at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowilng Green. (Photo by Sam Oldenburg)

The KATE Distinguished Educator Award honors outstanding professional educators who have made significant contributions to the educational community in Kentucky. The award was presented during the organization’s annual conference in Bowling Green.

The recognition by her fellow teacher educators from across Kentucky humbled Roberts.

“What an honor it is to be recognized by the Kentucky Association for Teacher Educators for my work in teacher education and gifted education,” she said. “It is very important to recognize differences among children in order to address their needs. Gifted young people have needs created by their strengths so they may not look needy.”

Roberts has been impacting Kentucky’s current and future educators since she began working at WKU in 1974. With the founding of The Center for Gifted Studies in 1982, she began serving gifted students and their parents as well. Participants have come from all 50 states and 34 countries representing six continents. Close to 40,000 young people have participated in summer and Saturday enrichment course offered by The Center. Roberts is the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Education at WKU as well as Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies and The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.

Tracy Inman (from left), Martha Sandefur, J.T. Sandefur, Julia Link Roberts, Sam Evans and Mary Evans pose for a picture after Roberts received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators Sept. 25 at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green. J.T. Sandefur was dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences when Roberts started The Center for Gifted Studies 34 years ago, and Sam Evans is the college's current dean. (Photo by Sam Oldenburg)

Tracy Inman (from left), Martha Sandefur, J.T. Sandefur, Julia Link Roberts, Sam Evans and Mary Evans pose for a picture after Roberts received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators Sept. 25 at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green. J.T. Sandefur was dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences when Roberts started The Center for Gifted Studies 34 years ago, and Sam Evans is the college’s current dean. (Photo by Sam Oldenburg)

Since 1983, Roberts has taught courses for the gifted endorsement offered every year at WKU, and with the MAE in Gifted Education and Talent Development now in its inaugural year, she teaches courses for that master’s degree as well. She has presented on gifted education topics at numerous state, national and international conferences throughout her career.

In the last 10 years, Roberts has authored or co-authored seven books on gifted education and contributed chapters to 13 more, with one book available in both English and Arabic.

Additionally, Roberts has been an active advocate for gifted students at the state, national and international levels for more than 30 years. She serves on the boards of the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education and The Association for the Gifted (a division of the Council for Exceptional Children), and she is one of seven elected members of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children’s Executive Committee. For her advocacy work, Roberts received the first David W. Belin Advocacy Award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2001. She was also described as one of the 55 most influential people in the field of gifted education in the 2004 publication “Profiles of Influence in Gifted Education.”

The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU serves gifted children, their educators and parents through educational opportunities, professional development and a variety of other resources and support.

Contact: Sam Oldenburg, 270-745-3014, samual.oldenburg@wku.edu

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