Published on October 16, 2014 by Dr. Patti Wood  

Samford University alumna Rita Sparks has been named the 2014 Alabama Gifted Specialist of the Year by the Alabama Association for Gifted Children (AAGC).

Sparks, a 2007 Samford education graduate, is a gifted specialist at Thompson Intermediate School and lead teacher for gifted programs in Alabaster City Schools. She was elected to serve as vice president of the state gifted association. 

The AAGC seeks to honor individuals who have made a difference in the life of a gifted student and/or in gifted education in the school or community.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.