Ever since Sarah Caroleo earned her B.S. in elementary education from Greenville University she has dedicated herself to the multiple schools and programs where she has taught. In her role as the K-4 Gifted and Talented teacher in Nashville, Tennessee’s public school system, Caroleo's passion for teaching gifted children became increasingly clear.
While working for the Nashville public school system, Caroleo received an English Language Endorsement from Lipscomb University. She then moved to Los Angeles where she taught first grade and currently teaches fourth grade in Burbank Unified School District. All of these experiences inspired her to pursue a master’s degree
“The more I taught, the more I realized the strength of my commitment to gifted education, so I decided to pursue my master's in educational psychology,” said Caroleo.
When Caroleo decided she wanted to pursue a master’s centered around gifted education she soon learned that there were no options that existed nearby that offered the specific focus she wanted. Caroleo wanted to thrive in a learning model that worked with her schedule and expanded her professional network outside of her state. Caroleo wanted to find an online M.Ed. program at a university with an established track-record of success in online education
“I learned about UGA's Educational Psychology program through researching online gifted education graduate programs. Every website and blog I found ranked UGA's program as one of the top online programs available in the field,” said Caroleo. “I knew online learning would broaden my opportunity to learn from institutions well-versed in my desired field. Also, living and teaching full-time in busy Los Angeles, I wanted to experience an education that could flexibly fit my schedule, without having to worry about longer commutes and rigid schedules,” said Caroleo.
Once enrolled in the UGA program, she found it highlighted aspects of creativity as a sign of giftedness. It prepared her as a teacher to identify students who show potential in this area.
The program’s curriculum also offers choices to hone in on specific passions and interests in the field. “I have never had a learning experience that modelled exactly what it preached in every sense, but it really felt like I received an education that was fit to gifted learners and that honored and supported students based on their strengths and needs,” said Caroleo.
Caroleo graduated from the University of Georgia’s Mary Frances Early College of Education in Spring 2020 with a Master of Education in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education. Caroleo plans to use this degree to become an established teacher of gifted education, not only in her school but also in the district and state. She also plans to advocate for the gifted population of students who are often overlooked.