Beyond All Boundaries

Is your highly/profoundly gifted child getting the individualized support they need?

Penelope Institute brings together a global team of gifted education experts to collaboratively design solutions as unique as your child’s journey.

You name it, we customize it.


Hillary Jade, MA MSc (she/her)

Program Director

Highly and profoundly gifted (HG/PG) students have always been beyond: beyond the box, beyond the impossible, and beyond one-size-fits-all definitions. At Penelope Institute, our student Scholars pursue their areas of passion and untapped potential through highly customizable and adaptive, one-to-one and small group instruction with experts in their fields from around the world. Designed to serve the unserved, Penelope’s course offerings expand wherever HG and PG students’ imaginations go, with tailored content, inquiry, and support from our gifted Fellows — anywhere, and in any timezone.

Penelope takes students beyond gifted schools and enrichment programming, by giving students agency over what they learn and how they apply it. Unlimited by scope, funding, and accessibility, unfettered by emphasis on acceleration or differentiation, Penelope goes beyond traditional gifted programs to provide our Scholars what they want to learn, what they need to thrive emotionally, in a safe and inclusive community.

Join us beyond the boundaries of what you and your child have previously experienced in gifted education. We look forward to connecting with you!

Our Fellows

Penelope Fellows are a highly collaborative team of subject-matter experts, every one with extensive experience serving the highly and profoundly gifted — many are themselves highly/profoundly gifted — as well as many years, even decades, of direct tutoring and mentoring experience, not just managing large classrooms.

Jeffrey Tsang, PhD (they/he)

Mathematics · Computer Science · Game Theory · Music · Biology · Physics

There are always more ways to answer a question, and more perspectives to see the world from. Instead of asking students for “the” answer, we count just how many there are and then invent a few more. Even the term “student” doesn’t capture the full picture; the learner is an equal partner, and the journey to integrate new facets and branches into their tree of knowledge is their own. As mentor, I am there as a flashlight down the rabbit holes, an atlas for mapping all the hidden connections, and a safety net when they “fail” and find a new direction.

Noel Jett, PhD (her/they)

Psychology · Social Sciences · Film

I have worked with gifted students all my life and I have found so much joy and creativity in this weird little world. I firmly believe that every student has unique strengths, as well as personal needs, that should be adapted for and supported. So many gifted students long to understand the deeper meanings and connections behind the information they’re given, and my favorite thing to do is to follow a student down the path they want to take through learning. I really do think education can save the world!

LeeAnn Barlow, PhD (she/her)

Mathematics · Biology · Chemistry · Physics

Teaching is never one-size-fits-all. As a gifted educator with experience working with students with multiple exceptionalities, confidence issues, and those who struggle with traditional learning environments, I’ve seen the difference the right teacher can make. When I teach, I strive to enrich the whole student and meet them at their level. Every student brings their own strengths to the table, and it’s my job to help students use those strengths in new ways. I love working with students who feel intimidated by math and science and those seeking to connect their learning to the bigger picture.

Leon Conrad, MA GTCL (he/him)

Classical Liberal Arts · Writing · Classical Logic · Traditional Geometry · Music

My tutoring is informed by an integrated approach to the classical Liberal Arts. My approach to tutoring both intellectually challenged and gifted and talented students draws on this but is also inspired by the work of Reuven Feuerstein, who devised the Instrumental Enrichment programme, and George Spencer-Brown, author of “Laws of Form”. I also draw on techniques used by traditional storytellers, which typically encourage a holistic use of the brain, and involve integrating image-making, word creation, and movement as part of a unified act of communication, based on the innate understanding of story structures.

Susanne Sklar, DPhil (she/her)

Literature · Great Books · Mythology and Religion

“Education is not about the filling of a pail;
it’s about the lighting of a fire”.

Learning shapes life; sculpting the quality of each day can bring joy, not only to yourself but to many. Thinking in questions and responding creatively to great books and ideas allows you to stand on the shoulders of giants, enlarging your worldview.

Most of my classes (even in Oxford!) involve project learning: using performance, music, art, and creative as well as critical writing to enter into the world of a text, an epoch, or an idea.

Daniel Ashlock, PhD (he/him)

Mathematics · Game Design · Computational Biology · Science Fiction and Fantasy

My philosophy for gifted education is based on the observation that there are far more connections between subjects than there seem to be at first glance. Mastering specific skills is a good initial goal, but observing how and where these skills apply and have sister skills in other fields is both interesting and useful in its own right; it also serves as a context and anchor, so that the skills are retained. I am a mathematician and this has made me a far more effective programmer, for example, because the mental discipline of mathematics decreases the number of coding errors I make.

Wendy Ashlock, PhD (she/her)

Mathematics · Computer Science · Critical Thinking · Philosophy · Literature

Teaching occurs on a spectrum from teaching a skill to nurturing growth. At one end, the student often is asked to do exercises that seem pointless, like memorizing multiplication tables when the answer is readily available on a calculator. The teacher sets the student up for future success. At the other end, often the student surpasses the teacher in skill. For this sort of learning, the teacher’s expertise is in how best to make progress. I like teaching all along this spectrum, but find the most joy in teaching at the far end, helping my students learn to learn.

Lin Lim, PhD (she/her)

Psychology · Gifted Education · Sociology · Economics

Teaching is guiding through a journey of dynamic, complex, systemic interactions between immediate stakeholders (educators, students, families) and other environments such as the physical, social, and psychological. Teaching is a bi-directional relationship for “learning in development”. Thus, assessing a good fit between my natural range of teaching/guiding style and any potential student forms a meaningful foundation towards success, growth, and development.

Our Courses

Penelope Institute offers rigorous, interdisciplinary, and individualized study across the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities. Note that our courses are not offered by specific faculty; our entire team is collaborative and every course draws on our combined centuries of total gifted, teaching, and mentoring experience.

Need the perfect course?

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What We Offer

Lightning Seminars

  • On-demand, scheduled when sufficient interest in a topic

  • Rigorous content based on our faculty specialties

  • May also propose any topic our faculty can collectively cover

  • Any of our subject experts on the topic may present collaboratively

  • Online, live interaction between all participants

  • Safe environment sensitive to socio-emotional needs

  • 45-minute sessions

  • Individual sessions

  • Class size capped at 5

  • 100USD/session

Small Group Classes

  • On-demand, scheduled whenever all Scholars and Fellows agree on a topic

  • Rigorous content personalized to class interest

  • May also propose any topic our faculty can collectively cover

  • Any of our entire faculty may collaborate as appropriate for the current topic

  • Online, live interaction between all participants

  • Safe environment sensitive to socio-emotional needs

  • Session length flexible, usually 30–60 min

  • Course length flexible, usually 4–12 meetings

  • Class size capped at 5

  • 100–200USD/hr, depending on size

One-on-One Mentoring

  • On-demand, scheduled whenever Scholar and Fellows agree

  • Rigorous, personally individualized content

  • May also propose any topic or subject our faculty can collectively cover

  • Any of our entire faculty may collaborate as appropriate for the current topic

  • Online, live interaction

  • Safe environment sensitive to socio-emotional needs

  • Session length flexible

  • Any number of sessions

  • Personal instruction

  • 300USD/hr


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