Robin Schlei

Secondary (6th-12th Grade) G/T Coordinator

and Curriculum Specialist

Education is my passion, and I am honored to be a part of the education of the students in the Mequon-Thiensville School District. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and I received my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I have worked for over twenty-five years in gifted education. I served on the Board of the Wisconsin Association of Educators of the Gifted and Talented (WAEGT) for a number of years as its Treasurer. When WAEGT merged with the Wisconsin Council for Gifted and Talented (WCGT), I became a member of the Board for our new state organization, the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted (WATG). I served on the state association Boards for a total of nine years until I reached the term limit set by WATG by-laws. I served as Treasurer, President and Past-President of WATG.

I have provided professional development in gifted education for various districts and parent groups around the state on topics such as program design, understanding the social and emotional needs of the gifted, teaching for thinking, learning styles, and much more. I have often presented at the WATG state conference on such topics as teaching for thinking, program development, the social and emotional needs of the gifted, AD(H)D and gifted, orientation and professional development for new G/T Coordinators as well as facilitating parent-to-parent sessions. One year I was the keynote speaker for the special needs divison at the state Teachers Convention (Wisconsin Education Association). I presented on the needs of the gifted at that state conference. I have also presented at the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) state conference and have presented to local chapters of the WSRA on literacy for the gifted.

As the Secondary Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator, I have the privilege of working with all staff and students at Lake Shore, Steffen and Homestead. I coordinate the district's gifted and talented program for grades 6-12 and work with the Elementary G/T Coordinator to coordinate district services for the gifted/talented. We are dedicated to developing all students' gifts. As the secondary coordinator of the gifted/talented program, I work with staff to develop enrichment and acceleration opportunities and programs for students and to plan to meet students' academic needs. I also work with students in classes, small groups and individually. Our goal is to provide a comfortable struggle for each student: challenges that require effort for student success. We work to help each student to reach his/her potential.

We have worked to align our gifted and talented program to align with Response to Intervention (RtI). Thus, the identification procedures and services were updated to meet that expectation. Information on identification can be found on the district G/T web page at https://www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/teaching-learning/gt.

Our Thinking Skills Curriculum, which I developed with a team of outstanding MTSD educators, was used at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a methods class for pre-service educators. This thinking skills curriculum is now embedded into every curriculum in our district, thus enriching the education for all district students. The curriculum develops critical thinking, creative thinking, and leadership skills.

One of the highest awards a district can receive is when other districts emulate its programming. Our Independent Study model has been adopted by a number of other districts, and our thinking skills curriculum has been shared with over 53 other districts throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.

In addition to my duties in the gifted and talented program, I assist in the development and implementation of district curriculum in various subject areas. In my role of supporting the Instruction piece of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, I help teachers with differentiation and with strategies to help them teach for thinking, problem solving and inquiry. I work directly with students in various ways as well, for example through work in classes, small group work, and individual conferencing.

I welcome contact with parents and students. I encourage you to contact me via e-mail at rschlei@mtsd.k12.wi.us should you have any questions regarding programming and opportunities that are available in our school district. Parents are welcome to schedule a conference at any time during the school year.