Beyond IQ

Teacher Bios

Meet our Instructors and see where to find them.

Hosanna Patience
is a writer, editor, and teacher. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in English. As an undergraduate, she was awarded, “Most Outstanding Work in the Department of English.” Her fiction was nominated for the anthology, Best New American Voices. She is the recipient of the Pearl Sperling Evans Prize for “Most Promise in Fiction,” and the AWP scholarship for an emerging writer. She was the copyeditor for Connor Coyne's lauded novel, Urbantasm: The Dying City and has worked as editor for numerous online and print publications. Hosanna was a gifted student herself, and a participant in California’s G.A.T.E. program and she has years of experience challenging gifted students both in and out of the classroom.

John McDonald
's writing journey started in the summer of 2007 with a long winded and not very good Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction. From those first few pages, he learned that expressing himself as a writer would take much more than just a good idea. In 2017, he earned his Bachelors degree from Portland State University, where he majored in theater and took a variety of writing courses- where he learned about adaptations, mask work, and non-prescriptive editing. He was inspired and challenged by mentor Karin Magaldi into rethinking what the fields of writing and theater were to him and now has a growing portfolio of screenwriting and plays under his belt. John writes narrative fiction with a focus on less represented characters and most of his writing has a fairy tale aspect to it. John believes literary art relies on community engagement and inspiration from other artists in order to grow a person's craft (and yes, that inspiration can include even surprising things- like the ride queues at Disneyland). On his dvr, you will currently find Planet Earth episodes, The Great British Bake-off, Legion, and The Good Place.

Josh Shaine has been working with gifted students of all ages for more than 35 years, including many years teaching, administrating, advising, and sometimes directing programs for 7th – 12th graders through MIT’s Educational Studies Program. He has taught at public, private, and alternative schools, as well as working with special needs students, either at home or institutionalized, for school districts in several states. He was the headmaster of a small 7th - 12th grade alternative school in Boston for gifted "disgruntled" students. In addition to teaching and consulting, Josh currently organizes the Beyond IQ conferences near Boston and serves on the board for Hoagies Gifted. He's more fun than this makes him sound!

Justin M. Schwamm, Jr., is Founder, President, and Chief Learner of Three Column Learning Corporation, which helps language learners, teachers, and small business owners make rapid progress through the power of Story, Question, and Community. After he received his B.A. in Classical Languages, summa cum laude, from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and completed a teacher certification program at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, he taught Latin in public schools in southeastern North Carolina for 22 years. In 2008, he and his students began to develop the Tres Columnae Project, an online Latin curriculum cleverly disguised as a fan-fiction writing community and role-playing story-world. He is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences for Latin teachers, with a focus on innovative curriculum, teaching practices, and assessment, and he served on the Joint Task Force on Teacher Training and Certification under the auspices of the American Classical League and the American Philological Association / Society for Classical Studies.

Justin’s “physical world” classes were particularly popular with gifted and twice-exceptional learners, especially those from underserved and under-identified groups. Together with his students, he developed a student-led Socratic Seminar program whose structure is at the heart of “The Hero’s Journey for Teens.”

Lisa BabaCPCC, is a self-taught artist and mother to two gifted kids, one of whom is twice-exceptional. Through her blog Artisan of Creative Miracles and as the co-founder and current leader of the Facebook group Brilliant Chaos, Lisa impacts others by inspiring them to create. She also has a passion for helping gifted people understand themselves and setting their brilliance free. When she doesn't have her arms up to her elbows in paint, you can find her teaching Taekwondo or Nia, a dance fitness program. She can be found on Twitter and Google Plus.


Lisa Fontaine-Rainen has been teaching gifted children in the public school system and working with homeschoolers for 18 years. She earned her MA in Gifted Education from William and Mary in 2001, and has been lucky to be able to work with these amazing young people ever since. Lisa relocated with her family to South Africa in 2014 and When she's not teaching she loves to read, play games, do puzzles, and experiment in the kitchen with her two year old and five year old. Both children have been largely unscathed by this so far. Teaching and learning are passions - schooling is not.

Nancy Vander Veer
is a Latin and English teacher and Space Camp alumna. She has taught in the classroom, but especially loves working with small groups of students who are pursuing topics with passion and curiosity.

When she's not teaching online, in a classroom, or tutoring one-on-one, she enjoys playing the organ, practicing her German skills, and reading a good time travel novel.

Dr. Sabrina Weiss specializes in developing theoretical models that represent the ethical and social dimensions of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society.  Topics of interest include gender and sexuality, discourse theory, bodies and cyborgs, bioethics, food ethics, and innovative pedagogies, as well as the institutional and change dimensions affecting those areas. 

Dr. Weiss earned a B.S. from Stanford’s Science, Technology, and Society program, an M.S. in Bioethics from Albany Medical College, and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a former U.S. Naval Officer (ROTC) who served overseas in Japan and at the Office of Naval Research.  An interdisciplinary and international scholar, Dr. Weiss has taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, which houses the National Institute for the Deaf, and at Leuphana University in L√ľneburg, Germany.  Dr. Weiss is a coauthor of Worlds of ScienceCraft: New Horizons in Sociology, Philosophy and Science Studies (2009).

Sherene Raisbeck 
has been teaching gifted and 2e homeschoolers for more than a decade, starting with her own, then branching out, working with students at the Voyagers Homeschool Cooperative and tutoring. She also helps to run the Beyond IQ conferences, plots building management schemes, and plays a broad variety of games. She majored in math undergraduate, but still seems able to do arithmetic.

Taormina (Tara) Lepore, M.S. is a dedicated science teacher and paleontologist. She has had over six years of experience teaching at public and private high schools, and is an enthusiastic field instructor of high school paleontology and field environmental science, among many other life and earth science topics. Her research experience includes the study of ancient trace fossils such as tracks and coprolites, as well as how field paleontology impacts student learning and enthusiasm for science stewardship. She is excited to join the Gifted Homeschoolers community and help students build their passion for science!

Trina Overgaard Toups
has a master's degree in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota (1991). Her interest in teaching was sparked by the need to homeschool her older daughter, who was hungry for more math and science than were provided in school. Trina has continued to teach classes in chemistry, biology, and earth sciences from the middle school to AP levels to homeschoolers in the greater Boston region, as well as tutoring clients who attend local area high schools. Trina has gradually acquired a collection of useful science equipment, including burets and electrochemistry equipment(made by her EE husband). Her most interesting chemistry class was teaching two 7-8 year old boys chemistry with experiments last year.

Outside of teaching, Trina's interests are a science fiction book group, knitting, and bicycling. She also enjoys family visits to museums, especially science and industrial revolution venues.

Copyright ©2017 Gifted Conference Planners, All rights reserved.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software