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Dr. Richard D. Courtright has held the positions of lecturing fellow in the Duke University Program in Education, and as an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Education at Elon University. Dr. Richard D. Courtright serves as Gifted Education Research Specialist for Duke TIP.  He has held the positions of lecturing fellow in the Duke University Program in Education, and as an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Education at Elon University. A lifelong educator with more than forty years of experience in PreK-12 public education, Rick has been an elementary and middle school classroom teacher, gifted teacher, and a gifted program administrator for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


He has co-written and co-edited several works, has taught a variety of courses and workshops in gifted, general and special education, has presented at state, regional, national and international conferences. Rick has provided consultation to numerous schools and districts interested in delivering quality differentiated programs for gifted and talented students.
Rick has served multiple terms of office on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented, which awarded him the Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement in 2015.

Dr. Courtright's keynote topic is: 'Socratic Inquiry – Portal to Creative, Critical & Higher Order Thinking' - What is more important in the educational process than acquiring knowledge and developing skills? Far more important than either of these is the goal of enlarging understanding. When students engage in learning for understanding, its very nature involves creative thinking, critical thinking and higher order thinking. When engaged in learning for understanding, students gain an appreciation for why the knowledge and the skills are the important foundation of understanding. Centuries ago, Socrates gave us the model for the process of teaching for understanding – questioning. That approach is as significant today as it was then - indeed, even more so. Just as we differentiate content, process, product and learning environment for gifted students, we can differentiate our teaching, as well, for the outcomes of knowledge, skills and understanding.

Richard D. Courtright, PhD
Duke Talent Identification Program's (TIP) Gifted Education Research Specialist