USM professor receives distinguished award


The National Association for Gifted Children recently chose Frances A. Karnes, retired Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at The University of Southern Mississippi, as the recipient of its 2015 Legacy Award. Karnes is founder of the University’s Karnes Center for Gifted Studies.

The award is given to prominent individuals who have devoted their energies and professional talents to enhancing the lives of gifted and talented learners to preserve the theories of eminent leaders and honor them, their memory, and their contributions for future generations.

“It is an honor and privilege to receive this award,” Karnes said. “I thank the NAGC for this recognition and for its work to advance the field of gifted education.”

NAGC’s 62nd annual Convention and Exhibition was held Nov. 12-15 in Phoenix and on Friday, Nov. 13, The Portraits in Gifted Education: The Legacy Series and The Conceptual Foundations Network presented “Reflections on the Work and Contributions of Dr. Frances A. Karnes.”

During the event, background information on Karnes and The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies was shared and a panel of Karnes’s former doctoral students reflected on her contributions, legacy, and impact on their lives. The panel included Kevin Besnoy, University of Alabama; Kristen Stephens, Duke University; Debra Troxclair, Lamar University; Pola Jakacki, Southern Miss; and Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, University of South Florida.

The Karnes Center for Gifted Studies was established in 1979 to further the education of gifted students and those with leadership abilities through teaching, research, and services. Emphasis is also placed on these areas for those interested in the gifted: teachers, parents, administrators, psychologists, counselors and other concerned citizens.

Many services are offered through the Center. Instructional programs are provided for intellectually gifted students in

grades pre-kindergarten through twelve. A program to develop leadership concepts and skills is offered for students enrolled in grades six through eleven. A three-week, intensive program is offered to students who have earned qualifying SAT or ACT scores as a seventh grader. Teacher training and staff development are provided for regular education personnel and for teachers who specialize in gifted education. A conference for parents of gifted youth and other concerned adults is provided on an annual basis. In addition, research is conducted in rural and urban schools in response to issues in the field of gifted-education.