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Duane Helfer

                   I am excited to be returning to Freedom as the Gifted and Talented teacher.  I have been an educator for over 30 years.  During this time I have taught at the elementary, middle school, and graduate college level in both traditional and online schools.  As a part of my teaching experience I have worked with gifted and talented students through pull out programs, District 11's SAIL program, and at a magnet gifted school in Texas.   In addition, I have also been a principal and worked as a district administrator directing assessment, curriculum, and technology programs for several school districts.  Interesting fact: I started teaching computers and robotics back in the early 1980s when personal computers were just being invented as part of a National Science Foundation and Apple Computer grant.

Gifted education is also a part of my family as well.  My wife is a second career teacher.  With both undergraduate and graduate degrees in math and science, her first career was working at an environmental lab as a chemist and quality control specialist.  Seeing the need for improved math and science in the elementary level, she earned her teaching license and is currently teaching STEAM at the elementary level where she provides enrichment and application challenges in the areas of science, math, and engineering.  All four of our adult children were part of District 11's GT, SAIL, and International Baccalaureate programs.  Our oldest son has his degree in computer science and works as a software engineer for MiTek designing architectural engineering software.  My oldest daughter is working on her PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke University, and is a past Whitaker Fellow and a current Nation Science Foundation Fellow researching cardiac stem cells.  One of our twins earned a degree in astronomy and entrepreneurship and is working in software quality assurance at MiTek.  The other twin has a degree in finance and economics and works as a marketing director for a real estate firm as well as a consulting "shark" for several startup and non-profit companies.