You’ll See Some New Faces at the Center This Fall


ingest-140814-TJ-9233.nefMs. Kristin Flanary

Ms. Flanary, M.A., is the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA) administrator and has hit the ground running.  The day she started at the Belin-Blank Center, IOAPA registration was already in process, and she’s been busy collaborating with colleagues, especially in terms of the In-School Testing component of the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).  This year, Ms. Flanary hopes to expand IOAPA’s programming to include more access to above-level coursework  for middle school students, better preparing them to take Advanced Placement courses when they reach high school. Ms. Flanary grew up as a Talented and Gifted student at a small rural school in Texas, and this perspective helps her understand many of the issues IOAPA students, parents, and schools face.  She said, “I am very happy to be joining the Belin-Blank Center team, and I am excited to help bring advanced learning opportunities to Iowa’s rural schools.”



Dr. Joyce Goins

Dr. Goins began her current appointment at the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development on July 1st.  Dr. Goins works with Dr. Megan Foley Nicpon and Dr. Alissa Doobay in the Wallace Assessment and Counseling Center (ACC) .

Her work at the ACC includes completion of psychoeducational evaluations and providing counseling and consultation services to high-ability students who present with a range of needs related to their talents, as well as challenges related to learning and mental health issues.  Dr. Goins obtained her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Iowa.  Dr. Goins’ research and clinic interests include assessment and intervention with twice-exceptional children, and children and adolescents with nonverbal learning disabilities.  Dr. Goins is excited to join the Belin-Blank family.


IhrigDr. Lori Ihrig

Lori Ihrig, Ph.D., a long-time associate of the Belin-Blank Center through her work teaching and administering student programs, is now officially a full-time member of the Belin-Blank Center Administrative staff.  She is the Administrator for Curriculum and Instruction, which fits perfectly with her newly-minted Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Science Education (from Iowa State University).  Dr. Ihrig will oversee all of the faculty hiring and development for our pre-college student programs throughout the year.  Importantly, she will also be the lead administrator for the Secondary Student Training Program, working on a new outreach STEM program for middle-school students in Iowa, and overseeing the Invent Iowa Program. Dr. Ihrig said, “I am looking forward to the opportunity I have been given to develop and administer highly successful programs that inspire and nurture students throughout the school year.  I am fortunate to work with a group of bright, highly motivated, and innovative people. People who are committed to working on some of the difficult problems and exciting opportunities in STEM education in ways that have the potential to be transformative for gifted students.”

AnnShoplik4b_croppedDr. Ann Lupkowski Shoplik

Ann Lupkowski Shoplik, Ph.D., is the new administrator for the Institute for Research and Policy and Acceleration (IRPA) and will revamp the IRPA website in preparation for the forthcoming Nation Empowered (the updated version of A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students).  Dr. Shoplik has many associations with the Belin-Blank Center, having co-authored publications with Susan Assouline (The Iowa Acceleration Scale and Developing Math Talent, to name a few).  She was also a co-author with Susan Assouline and Nick Colangelo on a chapter on whole-grade acceleration in Nation Deceived. Dr. Shoplik said, “I am  absolutely thrilled to be working with such a fine team of experts in gifted education at the Belin-Blank Center. I look forward to these new opportunities with IRPA as well as the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).”

Ms. Ashlee Van Fleet

Ashlee Van Fleet, M.A.T., is the new Assistant to the Administrator for Curriculum and Instruction. Ashlee is an alumna of the College of Education at the University of Iowa. She will be assisting with student outreach programs such as these: Challenge Saturdays, Invent Iowa, Secondary Student Training Program and Blast! (formerly ChESS). She will also be coordinating the Weekend Institute for Gifted Students (WINGS) Program in the spring. Over the summer, Ashlee worked as an assistant for the Challenges for Elementary School Students program as classroom support. Ms. Van Fleet said, “I am delighted to begin my professional career with the Belin-Blank Center. With a background in education, the goals of the Belin-Blank Center in gifted education fit directly with my teaching philosophy for creating valuable education for all students.”

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