McDaniel offers online graduate certificate for Gifted and Talented Education Specialists

October 05, 2017

McDaniel College has received approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to offer a post-baccalaureate graduate certificate for gifted and talented education specialists. The Gifted and Talented Education Specialist (GATES) program, available entirely online, leads to a Maryland state endorsement in gifted and talented education.  

This five-course online program, plus three-credit internship for gifted and talented specialists, is geared towards educators in PK–12 schools who already hold a master’s degree and seek to gain expertise in serving the needs of diverse individuals with gifts and talents. The program prepares educators to address learning differences by creating environments that challenge all students. Course topics focus on social and emotional needs of gifted learners, critical and creative thinking strategies and differentiated curriculum, instruction and assessment. 

Students can take one or more GATES courses, complete the entire GATES sequence and apply for state endorsement, or apply to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with GATES certification. Courses at McDaniel begin Jan. 15, 2018. 

The coordinator of the program is Daria Buese, associate dean of graduate and professional studies at McDaniel. 

Jeanne Paynter, former state specialist for gifted and talented education at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), who serves as an area coordinator in McDaniel’s graduate and professional studies program, was one of the GATES program designers. Paynter has been instrumental in the development of state policies in gifted programming and teacher certification. Prior to MSDE, she was the coordinator for gifted education and magnet programs K–12 in Baltimore County Public Schools. She has served on numerous advisory councils, task forces and commissions, including the Governor’s Commission on Gifted and Talented Education and the Maryland State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education. 

“The time has never been more urgent to prepare educators to work with this special needs group,” said Paynter. “Our state’s focus on equity and excellence has made teacher professional development in gifted education a priority in its just-released ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ plan. The teachers I work with know they have these diverse students in their classrooms, but they don’t feel well-prepared to meet their needs. Our GATES program takes theory into practice with highly relevant course assignments.”  

Faculty in the curriculum and instruction graduate program at McDaniel along with gifted and talented specialists from the Carroll County, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County public school systems also assisted in the development of the program. 

GATES is one of four graduate certificate programs at McDaniel offered exclusively online and is among eight graduate programs available 100 percent online. Other programs are graduate certificates for Writing for Children and Young Adults and the Learning Technologies Specialist, as well as master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, School Librarianship and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). McDaniel also offers a master’s degree, as well as graduate certificate, in Gerontology.
To apply or for more information, call 410-857-2516 or visit