A gifted adventure: Nobbe leaves GCAA


Kennedy Brown

Christine Nobbe, gifted specialist, looking for scholarships opportunities and checking up on students grades.

Kennedy Brown , Staff Writer

With almost forty years in teaching gifted education, gifted education specialist Christine Nobbe, has been accepted to a position in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the director of gifted education. Her last day at GCAA was April 3rd, 2019.

“So I’m a little department of one person, me…You know gifted education is not mandated in the state of Missouri? It’s an optional thing that schools can offer…If school districts in Missouri have a program, then there are policies and procedures to follow, and so that’s partially my job to make sure policies and procedures are being followed. So if we have this gifted program in [a]  public school district, and we’re identifying gifted students…Well we’ve got providers here like ‘Hey, this is how we should be going about identifying gifted students’ so that it’s fair and equitable so districts aren’t just doing ‘Aw, I think this kid is gifted, you know, because their really cute and sweet’…So there are policies and procedures,” Nobbe said.

Nobbe will be over seeing five hundred and sixty seven school districts in the state of Missouri, and focusing in on the about 39% of them that have a gifted program within their school district.

“A gentleman, David Welch, took the job about thirty years ago, and he’s been in the position all of these years. He retired in June. I knew he retired but I didn’t really think about it and another person took the job as director of gifted education. It didn’t work out because her sister got very very ill…and the family needed someone to stay with her,” Nobbe said.

One of Nobbe’s teacher friends texted her soon after letting her know about the now open position encouraging her to take the job, “Stacey said you really should apply for that job ,and I’m like yeah I don’t know, and she’s like well what’s holding you back?” Nobbe said.

“I just waited to the very last minute to apply, and then I never heard from him…I never heard from him and it turned out the person responsible for doing the hiring for the position his wife became ill…So he wasn’t focused on getting this replacement, so eventually I was called in for an interview,” Nobbe said, “Now the good thing on that is that it’s almost the end of the school year because…unfortunately I couldn’t stay the whole school year. But at the same time the department had been an empty position since mid November, and so they need somebody. There’s only one person, so when one person’s gone it’s a big hole, it’s not like there’s a whole department that can [help]…nothing’s been getting done, which is bad. But I guess I expect that the first couple of months is going to be really hard work. I’m good for hard work, I’m a really hard worker.”

Nobbe’s interest in state government was sparked when she went on multiple field trips to Jefferson City on Capital Action Day, where she was able to see upfront how local government works. She was given the chance to discuss with legislators about bringing gifted programs to all districts in the state of Missouri and having it mandated. Throughout the years Nobbe has worked with a lot of different organizations to bring opportunities to her students. Some of these include the Jack Kid Cooke Foundation, Young Scholars Program, and the Duke Tip Program, which are either academically based programs or scholarship opportunities for the students.

“I really enjoyed working with the students and applying for those because you got to know kids on a different level, and hear about their experience in life and read their little hearts wrenching essays and I really like that. And I like the idea that I was getting kids to be able to do something, that’s you know they can put on resume. Okay those things that they did to put on their resume where also change their lives in meaningful ways so that’ll be another thing that I’ll point out,” Nobbe said  

While reflecting on her almost forty years in gifted education, Nobbe discussed her take away from the experience.

“What I really takeaway is that education is different in every place you know it really depends on the culture of the community. You know we kind of think of the United States as this one big conglomeration but here in Missouri there our very distinct cultures of people and ways of life, and I don’t know if any of us realize that,” Nobbe said