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Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., Appointed Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education

January 13, 2022

Whitworth University is pleased to announce Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., has been named the new Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. 

Stambaugh arrived at Whitworth on Jan. 1. She comes to the university from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., where she was an associate research professor in special education with an emphasis in gifted education and talent development and the executive director of Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth. Under her leadership, program enrollment grew by over 400 percent.  

Stambaugh’s areas of specialization include curriculum development, talent development, leadership and policy, and instructional strategies in gifted education particularly for students from rural areas and low income households . As the Margo Long Endowed Chair, her work will focus on three main goals:

Pursuing strong, innovative research aimed at furthering an understanding of gifted education programming and equitable instructional practices.

Overseeing the Whitworth Center for Gifted Education Institutes, which support professional development for educators across the state and nation.

Preparing educators for leadership roles in gifted education as classroom teachers or gifted education specialists.

“Whitworth’s gifted education program is a leading regional and national program, and we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Stambaugh to Spokane,” says Ron Jacobson, dean of Whitworth’s School of Education. “Tamra brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the position, along with a deep care for K-12 students. Her passion will help us continue to grow and innovate, as we seek to prepare quality educators who foster equity for all students in our K-12 classrooms. We could not be more excited to have Tamra join our team, and we are looking forward to the next iteration of this important work.”  

Stambaugh’s career at Vanderbilt also included six years as a director and education consultant for Abu Dhabi, UAE Cycle One School. In this role she supported educational initiatives for an elementary demonstration school in Abu Dhabi, as part of a Vanderbilt University project. 

Prior to her employment at Vanderbilt, she was the director of grants and special projects at the College of William and Mary’s Center for Gifted Education.

Stambaugh received her Ph.D. in educational policy, planning and leadership with an emphasis on gifted education from the College of William and Mary and her master’s in gifted education from Ohio University. 

“I am excited to be part of the Whitworth faculty and staff team,” Stambaugh says. “I was drawn to this position because of the commitment to teaching and the ongoing focus on equity, evidence-supported instruction and talent development.”

Stambaugh succeeds Jann Leppien, Ph.D., who was the inaugural Margo Long Chair in Gifted Education. Leppien retired from Whitworth last spring.  

The Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education is named for Whitworth Associate Professor Emeritus Margo Long, who founded the university’s Center for Gifted Education in 1979 and worked as its director until her retirement in 2011. The endowment was made possible by a generous donation from Wanda and Jim Cowles.

Whitworth's Center for Gifted Education supports and develops policies and practices that encourage and respond to the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. 

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or