Your Team

Co-Founder, Executive Director
Ann Smith

Ann brings more than 25 years of management, business development, and entrepreneurial experience to Gifted Support Center. As Executive Director she offers support to families of gifted children by providing consultations, assessments, parent groups, social-emotional learning programs for youth, speakers, and resources. Ann is co-creator of the assessment structure and programs offered at the center. She has extensive experience mentoring parents of gifted children, and is the parent of gifted children. Ann serves on the Board of Directors for California Association for the Gifted, on the Editorial Board for The Gifted Education Communicator, and she works with SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) as a certified parent group facilitator. In her local community Ann serves as Vice President on the Board of Trustees for Odyssey Middle School for the Academically Gifted and Talented and as a Co-Chair for the bi-annual Innovative Learning Conference at the Nueva School.
To read about Ann's Personal Statement follow this link: Ann's Philosophy

Co-Founder, Research Director
Regan Foust, Ph.D.

Regan earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology with a specialization in the Psychology and Education of the Gifted from the University of Virginia. She authored the qualitative assessments and co-created the assessment structure that is utilized at Gifted Support Center. Regan has extensive research and evaluation experience in the field of gifted education and the psychology of the gifted. As research assistant at the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, she investigated the social/emotional implications of participation in gifted programs, evaluated the effectiveness of gifted education programs, and explored differences in preference for instructional methods by intellectual ability. Currently, Dr. Foust serves as Data Manager at The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.
Regan's CV

Licensed Psychologist, Examiner
Vivien Keil, Ph.D.

Vivien earned her B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She has since completed specialty training in pediatric neuropsychology. She completed her predoctoral internship at Children's Hospital, Orange County where she focused on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions. Vivien then completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she worked primarily with children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Following licensure, she worked at the Neurobehavioral Clinic and Counseling Center in Orange County, conducting neuropsychological assessments on children and adolescents. She also worked as the supervising psychologist in the Department of Outpatient Psychiatry at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego before relocating to the Bay Area in 2011. Since her relocation, Vivien has been a staff neuropsychologist at the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto.

Licensed Psychologist, Examiner
Cynthia Medina, Ph.D.

Cyndi earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of California at Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University, where she received specialized training in neuropsychological assessment. She completed her predoctoral internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, where she received training in the assessment and treatment of adolescents and adults recovering from traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. She completed her postdoctoral residency at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Department of Psychiatry, Child and Family Services, where she received further training and experience in neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. After completing her residency in 2006, Dr. Medina joined the clinical staff at Children’s Health Council (CHC) in Palo Alto, where she provides evaluation services. In addition to her work at CHC and the Gifted Support Center, Dr. Medina also provides evaluation services for children and adolescents in her private practice office in San Mateo.

Licensed Psychologist, Examiner
Bradley Siu, Psy.D.

Bradley is a San Francisco Bay Area native who earned his doctorate in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology with a focus on the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents. He conducted his predoctoral internship with Child and Adolescent Services at UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital. In 2004, he completed his postdoctoral residency at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Child Psychiatry in Santa Clara. Throughout Dr. Siu’s training and practice, he has performed countless assessments and evaluations to a wide range of children in both the clinical and research settings. Currently, he is on staff at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in South San Francisco. There, he delivers clinical evaluations, mental health treatment, as well as leads the ADHD Evaluation Clinic. He has a special interest in working with gifted children and their parents. For the Gifted Support Center, he provides WISC-IV and WPPSI-V testing.

Educational Advocate and Resource Specialist
Lisa Hartwig

Over the last 10 years, Lisa has researched educational resources, bay area public and private school programs and state and federal regulations to advocate for gifted students. Lisa collaborated with the Burlingame School District Superintendent on a district-wide column on school funding and curriculum issues and served on the Executive Board of the Burlingame Community for Education Foundation. Lisa received her J.D. at Northwestern University and practiced as a labor and employment attorney in San Francisco. Lisa currently serves on CAG PAC, the political action committee of California Association for the Gifted, and she is the mother of 3 gifted children.

SEL Educator and Consultant
Maria Lineger, MSM

Maria brings over 20 years of experience as an educator, administrator, educational developer, instructional designer and trainer to Gifted Support Center. She designed and co-authored The Project Happiness Handbook which is an experiential workbook of social-emotional lessons for youth. As an SEL educator, Maria taught self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness and relationship and decision-making skills to elementary students in a progressive school setting and middle school students at a local gifted school . She has created and implemented innovative and diverse curricula including mindfulness, compassion, Design-Thinking and SEL. At Gifted Support Center she is co-creator of the SEL program for youth, and she works with parents and children to foster better understanding of the unique intellectual and psychosocial characteristics of their giftedness. Maria holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with an Education Credential, and a Master of Science Degree in Systems Thinking Management.

Finance Director
Nicole Niederer, CFA

Nicole has over 25 years of experience in finance, international business development, and strategic leadership across many industries. She has worked with companies large and small, from Fortune 20 companies to startups in China and the US. Through her career, she has developed a collaborative style to fostering business partnerships and relationships. Nicole was identified gifted as a child and grew up experiencing many programs for gifted education in San Francisco public schools in addition to experiencing grade acceleration twice in elementary school, and early college entrance at 16 years of age. She holds a BA in physics from Reed College, Portland, Oregon and an MBA with a finance specialization and a strategy concentration from University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Nicole is the parent of two gifted children, and she is passionate about finding education solutions for gifted kids which keep alive their excitement about ideas.


Anabel Jensen, Ph.D.

Anabel is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Synapse School, President and Co-Founder of Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network and Department Chair and Professor of Education at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and she has been a visionary in gifted education since the beginning of her career designing programs for gifted minors, evaluating school programs, and guiding teachers in selecting methods and materials for prescriptive teaching. She served as Executive Director at a private school for gifted children on the peninsula for 14 years during which time she led the school to achieve recognition as a Federal Blue Ribbon school, twice-honored for excellence in education. Dr. Jensen is a master teacher and a pioneer in emotional intelligence education. She helped develop Self-Science, a proven approach to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) which is featured in Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence. Anabel also designs training programs and mentors school principals on how to develop an effective program and climate for social-emotional learning. For the latest in SEL/EQ please see Anabel’s website,, and Anabel’s blog.

Sandra Kaplan, Ed.D.

Dr. Sandra Kaplan is Professor of Clinical Education at the University of Southern California. Dr. Kaplan has been Principal Investigator on four projects funded by the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Student Education Act, with the Department of Education. Each of these projects focused on Gifted/Talented economic, linguistic, and culturally diverse students in Title 1 K-8 California schools. Dr. Kaplan has been an international and national consultant for districts, State Departments, and other educational agencies to provide professional development in the areas of differentiated curriculum and instruction. She has written over 40 articles and 10 books related to identifying and providing appropriate educational services to gifted students. Currently, Dr. Kaplan is an active member and past president of the California Association for the Gifted and chair of both the Blue Ribbon Committee and Education Committee for the organization to research a non-traditional identification instrument to recognize the underrepresented students as gifted. Dr. Kaplan has received recognition for her work, including awards for Excellence from the Council of Exceptional Children, National Association for the Gifted for Service and Achievement as well as research awards from the California Association for the Gifted.

Karen McCown, MA

Karen is co-founder of Synapse School in Menlo Park, and Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network. She is known worldwide for her expertise in educating gifted learners and her pioneering work in the field of emotional intelligence. She founded The Nueva School, an independent school for the gifted, in 1967. Nueva grew into an internationally renowned Blue Ribbon Independent School for the gifted and talented. At Nueva, Karen created the nation’s first emotional intelligence curriculum, Self-Science, a program she facilitated for nearly three decades. She believes that the central foundation of a school should not be simply giving students knowledge, but giving them the opportunity to develop wisdom. Karen is a leader in the Bay Area community with a profound commitment to supporting positive change.

Susan Baum, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Baum is the Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, Co-Director of the International Center for Talent Development, and the Director of Professional Development at Bridges Academy in Studio City, CA. Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle, and an international consultant, Susan is published in a multitude of books, chapters, and articles in the areas of twice exceptional students, primary-aged gifted students, social and emotional factors affecting gifted students, and multiple intelligences. She served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and is past president and co-founder of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students. She is recipient of the Weinfeld Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the 2012 CAG Friend of the Gifted Award, for her work in educating the twice exceptional child.

Stephen Goodenow, MBA

Steve is chairman and chief executive officer of Bank Midwest located in Spirit Lake, Iowa. In addition, Goodenow also serves as president and chief executive officer of Goodenow Bancorporation in Okoboji, Iowa. Steve holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa, an MBA in Finance from DePaul University and is a 2004 graduate of Stonier Graduate School of Banking. During Steve’s career, he has been actively involved with the Iowa Bankers Association, and currently serves as the chairman. He has served on the American Bankers Community Bankers Council, currently serves on the board of trustees at the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado and recently concluded a three-year term as a Class A Director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Dipti Pratt, MBA

Dipti Pratt has extensive business development, marketing and strategic partnership expertise. She recently joined UpLift and is focused on offering their payment marketing technology to nonprofits nationally. She has over ten years of experience working with early stage companies and multinationals on their corporate social responsibility programs during her tenure at Entrepreneurs Foundation. Additionally, Dipti spent two years with Silicon Valley Community Foundation serving as the marketing partner for their corporate and development teams as well as marketing lead on key projects for the organization. Dipti holds an undergraduate degree in English and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Allen Uzzell

Allen brings more than 35 years of government and business experience to Gifted Support Center Inc. Allen retired in 2013 from his position as Vice President and General Counsel for Chevron Energy Solutions in San Francisco. During his career with Chevron, he held positions as Chevron Corporation's Chief Patent Counsel and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. Allen received his B.A. in chemistry from Trinity University and his J.D. from St. Mary's University Law School in San Antonio, Texas. He began his legal career as a patent attorney for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, which became the U.S. Department of Energy, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and attended classes part time to earn his M.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Allen is also father and grandfather to gifted individuals and is a member of California Association for the Gifted.