Jocelyn Balaban


Jocelyn Balaban began her teaching career at Mirman School for the Gifted in 1987. She earned a B.S. degree from National College of Education in Elementary Education (K-6) and minored in theater. Ms. Balaban holds an Illinois State Certification in gifted education.

It was in Illinois that she began her career and worked as the coordinator of gifted education for two local school districts, where she created their gifted programs. After teaching many years at Mirman School, she was asked to move into Administration. Presently, Ms. Balaban serves as the Director of External Gifted Relations/Administrative Liaison.

Additionally, she has held the positions of Interim Head of Lower School and Interim Director of Admissions. She started a Morning Math Club where students and parents of different ages come together to do math problem solving. Biannually, she plans and coordinates a school-wide Women In STEAM Conference for the students. Besides her other responsibilities, she is the Director of Assistant Teachers, plans special events, organizes teachers professional development, supervises the bus program, sits on the Admissions Team, and is a Senior Administrator.

She has co-authored a teacher’s black line master activity book, and has presented at local, state, and national conferences, including California Association of Independent Schools, California Association of Gifted, and the National Association of Gifted Children. She continually promotes the need for gifted education.

Ms. Balaban enjoys many activities outside of school: traveling, sailing, cooking, attending the theater, taking Pilates classes, and spending time with family, friends, and her new grandson Dylan.

Always full of energy and passion for what she is involved in, she is the woman who wears many hats! She has always said that her classroom is her stage, the students her audience, and their success her applause.


Jocelyn is excited to be involved with the development of programing, where she can share her knowledge and life long passion for gifted education with Nasri Academy.

Ellen Honeck, PhD


Ellen Honeck, PhD is currently the Dean of Gifted and Talented Academy at Laurel Springs School in California and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for The Knox School of Santa Barbara in California. She has been involved in the field of gifted education for over 20 years in various roles, including classroom teacher, gifted specialist, administrator, adjunct professor at a University, and Associate Director of a Gifted Education Institute. She is actively involved with the National Association of Gifted Children and the Special Schools and Programs and Early Childhood Networks.


Her doctoral degree is in the area of Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate of Gifted Education from the University of Denver. She has authored Teaching Gifted Children in Today’s Preschool and Primary Classrooms designed for teachers and parents, as well as editions for the "Smart Start Series" for parents and caregivers, such as Let’s Play!, Around my House!, and Let’s Go to the Market!. Ellen has also  contributed to the Teacher Compendium for Human Rights Education and authored various integrated curriculum units and journal articles.


She has presented at numerous gifted conferences locally, at the state level, nationally, and internationally including the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented, National Association for Gifted Children, California Association for the Gifted, Texas Association of Gifted and Talented, and the World Council for Gifted.


She has her Gifted and Talented Specialist endorsement on her Colorado Teaching license and has been nominated and accepted into the Colorado Academy for Educators of the Gifted, Talented and Creative. Ellen is passionate about curriculum for gifted students, social emotional needs, and the infusion of creativity into learning which allows each child the opportunity to foster their own passions and engagement. Ellen enjoys anything Disney and spending time with her family. She is excited to share her knowledge of gifted education and curriculum development as she works with Nasri Academy for Gifted Children.

Kimberly Simons


Kimberly Simons life experience comes from being a mother of 6 boys and grandmother to 14 grandchildren. Education is a priority and she attended college at the age of 40, receiving an Associate of Applied Science in Business Education in 2005 from Snow College. She and her husband Rick lived in Utah until 2016 and moved to Henderson to assist opening a private school.

The following list is of her previous employment and life experiences with youth both in middle and high school settings:

· Office/Technology at Far West Academy
· Technology Specialist at the Ephraim Middle School
· Data Coordinator for the Snow College Alumni Office
· TRIO programs, Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search for 12 years.

· Owner and operator of Kim’s Katering for 15 years, catering weddings, family reunions, youth events, and parties.
· Secretary/Treasury for the Tri County Little League Football Board and Secretary for Jr. Templars for 14 years


Her passions include: computers, reading, sewing, cooking, scrapbooking, jewelry making, and spending time with her family!

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