Our History

Psychology Today Blog Post about Galileo School

Read more about the motivation and origins of the founding of Galileo School here in a blog post written by our founder:


History of Galileo School

In 2009, Dr. Michele Gill, a long-time advocate and researcher for innovative methods in education, associate professor of education at UCF, and parent of two gifted children, began gathering initial support for a local school that would incorporate cutting-edge, research-based practices in a developmentally-appropriate environment of high challenge combined with high nurture.

On October 23, 2009, Dr. Gill shared the initial philosophy of her vision of a school for gifted and talented students with other educators, parents, researchers, and community members via Facebook to gauge interest in the idea beyond the initial group of parents and friends. The responses to the philosophy and vision statement were highly supportive and enthusiastic, so Dr. Gill made the decision to pursue the creation of the school by August 2011.

On October 27, 2009, Dr. Gill met with UCF’s expert on gifted education, Dr. Gillian Eriksson (who is now the school’s Academic Adviser) to discuss the feasibility starting a local school devoted to gifted instruction. Dr. Eriksson was enthusiastic in her support for the school.

In November of 2009, Dr. Gill hosted a local meeting for interested stakeholders, including several local teachers of gifted students and several parents. Their feedback was immensely positive, and so a planning group was created to work on initial issues for founding a school. The initial planning group included Dr. Gill, as well as Cat Pursley, Stephen Schenck, and Debbie Hahs-Vaughn.

March 10, 2010: Dr. Gill and Dr. Eriksson met to craft the foundation of the school’s curriculum.

March 12, 2010: Dr. Gill began a Facebook Group Page to publicize the status of the as yet unnamed school.

June 10, 2010: Dr. Gill met with Robert Skiff, founder of Vermont Commons School (http://www.vermontcommons.org/about) to consult about opening a charter school for gifted and talented students.

June 10, 2010: Second community outreach meeting, publicized on the Facebook group. A different group of parents, teachers, and community members attended. Interest was exceptionally high for the school, with several parents talking about moving to the district in which the school would be located. After the meeting, Dr. Gill met with members of the planning group (Cat Pursley, Stephen Schenck, and Debbie Hahs-Vaughn) to ask if they would be interested in serving on the founding board. Thankfully for Galileo, they all agreed to serve.

July 22, 2010: FLDOE New Applicant Training for Charter Schools workshop. Attended by Chair of Founding Board, Dr. Michele Gill and Cat Pursley, then Treasurer of the Board.

July 26, 2010: The founding board members, along with Dr. Eriksson (Gifted Adviser), met with Dr. Bill Vogel and other SCPS personnel to appraise them of our plans to submit an application for charter school status with SCPS.

August 2, 2010: The founding board members of the Galileo School submitted their charter application to SCPS.

October 12, 2010: Galileo School Charter Application unanimously approved by the SCPS Board. Our Founding Day!

August 15, 2011: Galileo School opened its doors for its inaugural class!