Joan Franklin Smutny, Ph.D.

Joan Franklin Smutny, Ph.D.

Founder and Director of the Center for Gifted and Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity, Joan Franklin Smutny welcomes thousands of gifted students to her programs year-round. She also mentors teachers interested in gifted education, advocates for families and their children, consults with schools, and leads parent seminars.

Joan served as editor of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal for many years and currently writes for Parenting for High Potential, where she has also served as guest editor. She has developed several online publications through the Center for Gifted: Innovate—a quarterly publication for parents of gifted children; Torrance Journal for Applied Creativity—a practical journal based on E. Paul Torrance’s ground-breaking work in creativity; International Torrance Legacy Creativity Awards—a yearly publication of the award-winning entries of student writers, visual artists, music composers, and inventors (ages 8–18).


Joan has authored, co-authored, and edited over 20 books on gifted education for teachers and parents. They include: Teaching Gifted Children in Today’s Preschool and Primary Classrooms (2016), Discovering and Developing Talents in Spanish-Speaking Students (2012), Teaching Advanced Learners in the General Education Classroom (2011), Differentiating for the Young Child, 2nd Edition (2010), and Igniting Creativity in Gifted Learners, K6 (2009).

Joan has received a number of awards honoring her contributions to the field, among them the NAGC Distinguished Service Award and the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Research Award in 1996; the California Association for Gifted President’s Award in 2004; the E. Paul Torrance Award in Creativity (conferred by NAGC) in 2012; and the Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s Sally Walker Distinguished Service Award in 2019.