Earlier this month, Annemarie Roeper, one of gifted education’s most tireless advocates, passed away at the age of 93. Although her name may be unfamiliar to some, her contributions as one of the pioneers in the field of gifted education are immeasurable. The daughter of German educators, Annemarie and her husband George fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and came to the United States in 1939. In 1941, the Roepers founded The Roeper School in Michigan to address the needs of gifted students from preschool through high school.
As noted in this recent Huffington Post blog, Annemarie considered giftedness in a broader context and focused on the following ideas in a time in which it wasn’t the norm to do so:
- Students may be exceptionally bright in one area, but average or even delayed in their growth in other areas.
- Gifted students view the world differently, with a keener sense of justice, a deeper commitment to their core values, and a curiosity of learning that is astounding.
- Children have an innate sense of right that can (and should) shape the world—not the other way around.
Although Annemarie had no formal schooling beyond high school, she devoted her life to ensuring gifted students’ needs—both academic and emotional—were met. In addition to focusing on The Roeper School, Annemarie and George founded one of gifted education’s peer-reviewed journals, Roeper Review, in 1978. During the course of her career, Annemarie wrote more than 100 articles and book chapters, as well as three books, on gifted education and mentored many educators.
In Educating Children for Life, Annemarie shared, “Humanity has made two promises to its children. The first is to prepare a world which accepts them and provides them with opportunities to live, grow, and create in safety. The other is to help them develop their whole beings to the fullest in every respect.” Annemarie Roeper helped make both possible.