Board of Directors

Joan Franklin Smutny

Board Chair | President

Founder and Director of the Center for Gifted and Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity.The Center for Gifted offers programs to thousands of gifted children from all socio­economic and cultural backgrounds, ages four to grade eleven. She has authored, co-authored or edited over 16 books on gifted education, including such works as:

  • Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9 (1997)
  • The Young Gifted Child: Potential and Promise, an Anthology (1998)
  • Stand Up for Your Gifted Child (2001)
  • Underserved Gifted Populations (2003)
  • Gifted Education: Promising Practices (2003)
  • Acceleration for Gifted Learners, K-5 (2007)
  • Reclaiming the Lives of Gifted Girls and Women (2007)
  • Igniting Creativity in Gifted Learners, K-6 (2009)
  • Differentiating for the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas(PreK-3) (Second edition, 2010)
  • Manifesto for Gifted Girls (2010)

In 1996, she received the award for Outstanding Leadership in Gifted Education given by the National Association for Gifted Children and is a member of their National Parent Trust Advisory Committee. She regularly conducts workshops and sessions for teachers and parents around the country and speaks at national and state conferences on topics of interest to educators and parents of gifted children.

Oksana Creighton

Board Secretary

Oksana joined the Barbereux staff in the spring of 2010. She is the former editor and Director of Marketing for, an online magazine for children. Prior to that, she was Director of Admissions for DaVinci Academy, a school for gifted children in Elgin, Illinois. Oksana is a trained facilitator of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and has presented leadership workshops for middle school students, businesses and organizations. She is the parent of two Barbereux students.

Tom Creighton

Board Treasurer

Tom served as Head of School for Armitage Academy, a K-8 independent school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for five years and formerly was Head of School for DaVinci Academy, a private school for K-8 gifted children in Elgin, Illinois. Prior to these roles he was Director of Youth and Social Services for the Village of Deerfield for 25 years. Tom received a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from national-Louis University. He has served on Barbereux’s Board of Directors for a number of years and two of his children attended Barbereux School.

Janet Bartell

Board Member

Janet was Curriculum and Staff Development Director at Armitage Academy, Kenosha, Wisconsin, for five years; taught in the elementary grades in Northfield, Illinois, public schools for 29 years; and is currently an independent education consultant whose focus areas include staff development, gifted education, curriculum differentiation, and children’s literature. She has been a Program Site Director and Presenter of Parent Seminars for the Center for Gifted, Glenview, Illinois; has taught graduate workshop courses for beginning teachers at National-Louis University; and has had articles on gifted education published in gifted journals. Her B.A. degree in Elementary Education is from National-Louis University, with a minor in Music Education. Her daughter, now a teacher, loved attending Barbereux School.

Audrey Werner

Board Member

Audrey received BS/Ed from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio;  MS/Ed from Cal State Univ, Fullerton, CA.  Classroom teacher, elementary and middle schools, in Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, California for about 40 years. Received a district award as outstanding teacher of the year.  Directed Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco Education program for Walnut, CA School District–a program designed to teach the dangers of using these substances. Certified for CLAD (Cultural, Linguistic, and Ability Diversity).  Most recently, mentored student teachers at Cal Poly Pomona; Cal State, Fullerton; Whittier College.  Enjoys outings with family/friends.  Writes poetry for family/friends for special occasions. Has a poem in The Path Not Taken, published by the National Library of Poetry.

Nancy Messman

Board Member

Nancy received a B.A. in Education from Milton College in Wisconsin, fulfilling a lifelong desire to become a teacher. She also has taken graduate coursework in gifted education at National-Louis University. She taught kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grades at Fox River Country Day School (formerly The Chicago Junior School) in Elgin, Illinois, followed by a number of years teaching fourth and fifth grades at Quest Academy, a three-year-old through eighth grade school for gifted students in Palatine, Illinois. She has been active in the field of gifted education, attending conferences, mentoring teachers, and working with student teachers. She also has been a speaker and writer in the field and has judged national creative writing contests for elementary and high school students. Nancy has been recognized for excellence in teaching, receiving awards from the Golden Apple Foundation as well as Those Who Excel, sponsored by the Kohl Foundation. When not teaching, Nancy enjoys reading, gardening, bicycling, kayaking, drawing, photography, and travel.

Doris Sanford

Board Member

Doris spent several years teaching in an elementary school and also taught summer programs for gifted students at the high school level. Following her teaching career she and her husband, Don, created a photography studio in the Los Angeles area.  They specialized in the photography of school pictures, from preschool through college-age children. They worked with 70 schools in the Los Angeles area and also expanded their business to open a second studio in Evanston, Illinois. After several years they closed the Evanston location in order to focus directly on the expansion of business in California.  

Sanford Studio was awarded an honor of recognition for being the Best Small Business in Southern California. The award was presented by the Governor on behalf of the CA Association of Independent Business.