Ricks Center faculty members are extraordinarily creative, passionate and gifted themselves. Ricks Center recruits and hires teachers who are certified professionals with special training, experience, or advanced degrees in gifted education. Many faculty members from the Early Childhood to the Upper School level hold advanced degrees in education or specialized content areas. Ricks Center employs content specialists in areas such as art, drama, foreign language, music, physical education, science and technology. Faculty members are active in both regional and national organizations for gifted education. They present at local, national, and international conferences and have received numerous awards for excellence in the field of gifted education, such as the National Association for Gifted Children Curriculum Studies Award for Outstanding Curriculum.
- Average of 14 years of teaching experience
- 72% hold or are pursuing master or doctoral degrees
- Over 25% are licensed as teachers of gifted education
In order to meet the needs of gifted students, the faculty and staff must understand the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of gifted children. Professional development and training are key elements in the successful fulfillment of the school's mission. Teachers understand the purpose and importance of using innovative, targeted approaches with learners. They are easily able to discuss and advocate for the varied learning needs of gifted students. These educators are firmly committed and dedicated to the school's philosophy and have a finely tuned understanding of the needs of gifted students.
Established in 2001 through a $1 million endowment gift, The Considine Excellence in Teaching Award is given to a teacher at Ricks who has shown exceptional performance, a commitment to Ricks Center, both in the past and future, and who has demonstrated a "how to think, not what to think" philosophy with students by engaging students in intellectual pursuits and who has demonstrated a capacity to learn and implement new knowledge. Considine awards have been used to gather and implement units related to Egypt, South America, and Alaska, as well as to develop the atelier model in Early Childhood.
Amy Clune began her teaching career over 20 years ago, and found her true passion, working with and for gifted children and their families in 1997, when she started as a teacher at the Ricks Center. Ms. Clune worked in a first and second grade multiage classroom at the Ricks Center for five years before relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada. There Ms. Clune continued her work as a teacher of gifted students as teacher and later a district facilitator for Clark County School District's Highly Gifted Program until her return to the Ricks Center as Director in 2013.
Ms. Clune has completed two masters' degrees; one Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Gifted Education from the University of Denver; the second in Educational Leadership from NOVA Southeastern University. She has been a contributing author for the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education, as well as designing the nationally recognized Gifted Scope and Sequence for the Clark County School District's GATE program and the Clark County School District's Title I program in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ms. Clune has presented at local and national conferences on a variety of topics; presentations include Literature Quilts, Creating and Sustaining a Highly Gifted Program, Lifebooks, Creating a Scope and Sequence for Gifted Learners, Marvelous Masks: a Creative Research Project, and Math Workshop. She is also a trained facilitator for SENG (Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and has conducted multiple teacher and parent workshops focused on the social and emotional needs of the gifted.
Outside of school, Ms. Clune enjoys spending time with her husband and their daughter.