Gail Hanninen has establish an endowed Faculty Excellence fund to recognize and reward faculty members who have an established record of excellence in teaching and research in all disciplines within the College of Education. The Gail Hanninen Faculty Fellowship Endowment specifically assists leading faculty whose research is applicable to current issues within Idaho that can also be applied nationally. The faculty fellowship can also be used to recruit promising new faculty positions.
“How can we ask someone else to invest in our work if we don’t make our own investment in it?” asked Gail. “I am so passionate about our work at the U of I that I want to do my part to demonstrate that our work is meaningful, relevant, and valuable.”
Gail grew up in the Kellogg, Idaho area. Because of a strong desire to experience education beyond the boundaries of Idaho, after she graduated from high school with honors, she attended Eastern Washington State College for her freshman and sophomore years before transferring to the University of Idaho. In 1966, she graduated with a B.S. in Education with a major in secondary science. In 1974, Gail returned to Eastern Washington State University to study for her M.Ed. with a major in special education and an emphasis in the disabilities of giftedness, learning disabilities, and emotionally disturbed. Because of the positive experience she had during graduate school, Gail then committed to a doctoral program at the U. of I. After a semester of study at the University of Arizona in 1989, she completed her Ed. D. in administration and special education at the University of Idaho.
Gail became nationally recognized for her expertise in the areas of preschool gifted and gifted handicapped when she received a grant for her project, “A Rural Preschool Gifted and Gifted/Handicap Model Project.” She also served as the first president of Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education (Montana AGATE). Six years later she was recruited by Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to work as State Supervisor of Gifted Education. Concurrent to her involvement at OSPI was serving as President of the Council of Exceptional Children’s division of The Association of the Gifted (TAG). In 2009, Gail became the University of Idaho’s Regional Coordinator for the Idaho Building Capacity Project. Through these efforts, she has been instrumental in shaping much of the direction of the state in their prescribed approach for improving schools and student learning.
Gail’s comes from a family of Idaho farmers, loggers, and miners. She takes great pride in her family history and particularly, her Finnish heritage. The Gail Hanninen Faculty Fellowship Endowment for the College of Education was established in part to recognize the important role the University of Idaho has had on Gail’s life.