You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”

Clay P. Bedford

Jocelyn Balaban-Gifted-SchoolJocelyn Balaban
Director of School Development

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-Gifted-SchoolEllen Honeck, PhD

Director of Curriculum Development

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.


Allison BermanAllison Berman
Lead Instructor

Allison Berman was a gifted educator and facilitator for 26 years in the Clark County School District. Her experience in the field of gifted education began in 1981 as a teacher/specialist and she has been part of the growth of the GATE program in the public school system. Ms. Berman earned a Master’s degree in school counseling in 1983 from UNLV and has developed innovative programs for families of gifted students and their parents. Allison Berman was SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) certified in 2003 and has coached parent and student groups. In addition, she has created the curriculum and course work for the Nevada State Gifted Endorsement Program at Sierra Nevada College and taught several foundation courses for new GATE specialists. Allison was part of a team of GATE specialists that developed the Scope and Sequence for the CCSD GATE Program in 2005 and has presented at national and local conferences on various topics related to gifted education.

Ms. Berman’s experience and passion for gifted students is prominent. She is excited to work with the team of professionals at Nasri Academy for Gifted Children. Her goal is to guide students to meet their academic and social potential. She looks forward to being part of this exciting opportunity to serve the educational needs of gifted learners in our community.

Ellen LambertEllen Lambert

Ellen Lambert graduated from California State University Northridge with her B.S in Environmental Biology. Her educational experience involves studying and promoting the conservation of plants and animals and their vital ecosystems. Before graduating from Cal State Northridge, she had the opportunity to visit various locations of the Ecuadorian rainforest, which is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth! In Ecuador, Ellen conducted independent research on plants and amphibians while taking tropical biology coursework. Aside from being a biologist and a naturalist, Ellen is also an educator and has worked with young kids as a tutor and mentor for several years. During her time as an undergrad she gained interest in the field of education after working as an Assistant Teacher at a local public school and doing private tutoring on the side. Upon graduating Cal State Northridge, Ellen began working as a Science Instructor for a non-profit organization that provides enrichment programs for kids. In continued pursuit of teaching experience she began her career in the Gifted Education field as a Science Assistant for a highly gifted elementary and middle school in Los Angeles. As a gifted educator, she gained hands-on teaching experience and attended various professional development workshops for Science and Gifted education. Ellen joined the Nasri Academy team in 2016 and plans to share her enthusiasm for learning with her students, while bringing science, critical thinking and exploration into the classroom.