Dr. Antonio Acuna, Ph.D.
Dr. Antonio Acuna is a licensed psychologist with a doctorate in clinical psychology and a Colorado School Psychology Certification. In private practice since 1993, his specialty is in school-related problems such as ADHD, learning disabilities, gifted education, anger management, autism spectrum disorders, and second language acquisition. In addition, Tony is bilingual in Spanish and conversational French.
Tony comments, “I am fascinated by how children learn! How do they acquire such vast storehouses of knowledge? How do they solve tricky, complex problems?”
With a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Loyola-Chicago, Tony subsequently completed a two-year, post-doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy at Northwestern University. Perhaps commenting upon his own life’s pursuits, as much as his hopes for his students he offers, “the beauty of learning is that it is a lifelong process.”
Tony continues, “Executive Function intrigues me; how do children manage time, initiate tasks, and cope with life's little adversities? These questions are the basis of my work.”
“I am drawn to SAGE for several reasons. Its child-friendly environment impresses me, as every child seems truly happy to be at SAGE. I like their comprehensive approach to evaluation and intervention, which is based on ongoing communication. Finally, I love how each treatment plan is customized to meet that child's unique needs. SAGE embraces the whole child!”
Following a rich professional career, Tony retired from the Denver Public School system, where he had worked as a School Psychologist. Tony will join our team at SAGE Center Denver to provide psycho-educational assessments of children who may have giftedness, learning disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety or mood disorders, or some combination of these. Our growing community of families is fortunate indeed.
We at SAGE Center for Gifted extend a warm welcome to Tony – grateful for his multi-lingual talent, depth of understanding and experience.
Dr. Wendy Cowperthwaite, Psy.D.
Dr. Wendy Cowperthwaite is honored to be a resource for families through the SAGE Center. She works with families using an approach that honors each child’s individual personality and the wisdom parents bring to her about the child.
Experienced with a broad variety of children, Dr. Cowperthwaite provides psycho-educational assessment of children who may have giftedness, learning disorders, ADHD, anxiety or mood disorders, or some combination of these. She delights in discovering how each child learns, and she is keenly interested in working with parents to support their son’s or daughter’s learning profile. She is grateful for the holistic model of understanding and serving children that SAGE provides.
Wendy received her received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver. Her professional experience includes working in school settings and private agencies, with students ranging from preschool through college.
She is a parent to three unique learners ranging in age from elementary school to college. All her children have at some point been through the assessment process, and one is a twice-exceptional learner. Having been on “both sides of the desk,” Wendy appreciates the thoughtfulness that goes into parenting choices about learning assessments, identification of giftedness and other diagnoses, school placement, and establishing outside services to support a child. She strives to provide post-testing recommendations that are both useful and practical.
"It is an honor to partner with Renu Rose and the SAGE Center. Renu and the other professionals at SAGE bring a deep understanding and esteem for the blessings and the extraordinary challenges that come with being a gifted child and parenting gifted children. It is my privilege to come alongside SAGE Center families, providing information to help children and families flourish.”
School Psychologist and Registered Psychotherapist,
Erin Wise Jone
Erin has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology (California State University, Hayward) and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (University of Colorado, Boulder). Erin is recognized as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and is registered as a Licensed Educational Psychologist in California and a Registered Psychotherapist in Colorado, through DORA, which allows her to both maintain a private practice and work in the educational system.
As an adolescent, Erin knew she wanted to be a psychologist because she was drawn to the "detective" work of understanding human behavior. Her interests and experience include work with the autism spectrum population, social skills instruction, and crisis response. Identifying the needs of the whole child and establishing rapport with the child and family are the most important pieces of her evaluations. "I am so thrilled to be a part of the SAGE community. It feels like a natural next step in the advancement of my lifelong passion."
Erin has been a practicing School Psychologist for 20 years, starting in California where she worked for a local school district and established a private practice to contract with additional schools. Upon returning to her home state in 2008, Erin joined the Colorado Society of School Psychologists, serving as a Board member since 2017 and on the State-Wide Crisis Team since 2010. Additionally, she is a long-standing member of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association.
As a mother, raising two gifted daughters alongside her husband, Erin is personally learning almost as much about the needs of the gifted population as all her years of graduate school. She is currently a School Psychologist in the Adams 12 School District at Stargate School, a k-12 charter school focused on educating gifted students.
We extend a heartfelt welcome as Erin joins our faculty. We look forward to a fruitful relationship serving the families of SAGE Center for Gifted.
Dr. Suzanne M. Hamm, Ph.D.
Suzanne Hamm began her career in 1972 first as a school psychologist for the Denver Public Schools, and then later, as a counseling psychologist in private practice. Her school psychology training was obtained from the University of Wisconsin and her doctorate from the University of Denver.
Dr. Hamm’s work with public and private schools has resulted in a rich understanding of children and what it takes for them to reach their potential. She specializes in assessments and educational programming for the gifted and also for children with AD/HD and other learning challenges. Sometimes all three of these conditions are seen in one child.
Suzanne offers, “After 35 years of practicing psychology, I am pleased to be affiliated with Renu Rose and her SAGE Center for the Gifted. This is a marvelous organization and director that meets children where they are, and supports and lifts them to a new awareness of their gifts. It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to observe Renu and her educators work with these children. Of the many outstanding educators I have met, Renu and her SAGE Center which illustrates the power of Renu’s giftedness in working with families and children.” – Suzanne HammDr.
Dr. Henrietta Pazos, Psy.D.
Dr. Pazos, known as “Hetty”, specializes in testing for ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Developmental Disabilities, and Gifted Identification. She also provides individual and group therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. She has practiced in Denver, CO since 1999. Dr. Pazos is bi-cultural and bi-lingual in English and Spanish. In addition to her work in private practice, she is a professor at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) and is the Director of their Latinx Psychology Specialty.
Dr. Pazos received her Doctorate at the University of Denver and completed her internship and post-doc at Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami, Florida, with a focus on Behavioral Medicine and Child and Adolescent psychology. She later obtained a certificate in School Psychology and worked in Denver Public Schools for 14 years providing administration over bilingual mental health assessment and intervention services to children and families and more recently in Cherry Creek School District.
Dr. Pazos provides therapy services for children, adolescents, and adults through a cognitive-behavioral and strength-based approach specializing in anxiety and depression. Some groups are focused on anxiety management for twice-exceptional students, anxiety management, and executive functioning skills for students with disabilities and/or ADHD, parenting support and psycho-education on disabilities including autism, ADHD, and Twice-Exceptionality. Dr. Pazos' approach is to provide a non-judgmental and caring space for her clients so that they can reach their highest potential during times of stress or when they are ready to embark on a journey of self-exploration and goal achievement. Lastly, Dr. Pazos also specializes in working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients who are seeking support on stress related to immigration, acculturation and/or racial discrimination.
In addition to testing and therapy services, Dr. Pazos provides in school consultation services, independent educational evaluations for special education, and in school social/emotional/behavioral services, when applicable, on a case-by-case basis. She also provides consultation and training services for medical or pediatric settings, schools, and higher education on topics related to the provision of culturally and linguistically responsive services to Latinx populations. Some topics include, how to provide culturally and linguistically responsive therapy and assessment services, how to effectively use interpreter services, culture-bound mental health symptoms/disorders, language difference versus disorder in special education testing, and the identification and treatment of immigration/acculturation stress.
Hetty comments, “It is my passion and life’s work to uncover the many strengths and talents children have to learn and to be healthy and happy in their lives. Many times children with disabilities receive messages about their limitations, and barriers are usually put up for their families to access the learning environment that will allow their children to truly reach their potential. By providing testing, psychoeducation, and/or therapy, I feel I can provide that bridge of support to families they need as they navigate through their child’s academic and social-emotional journey. SAGE Center for Gifted and Renu’s vision is aligned with my professional beliefs and values and I am honored to be part of such a nurturing and professional environment and team.”
Dr. Roland Rotz, Ph.D.
SAGE Center, Santa Barbara
Roland Rotz, Ph.D. is a clinical child psychologist and director of the Lifespan Development Center in Carpinteria, California. For over 30 years Dr. Rotz has specialized in providing a full range of diagnostic and clinical services for children. He focuses on appreciating and embracing the complexities of the unique characteristics associated with gifted and twice exceptional children and adults.
To empower the unique strengths of those with ADHD, Dr. Rotz wrote the book, Fidget to Focus; Outwit Your Boredom: Sensory Strategies for Living with ADD.
Dr. Rotz's style in working with the unique needs of gifted children and their families is an especially empathic one, gently flowing with their gifts and their sensitivities. He is a highly experienced clinician with keen expertise and insight in assessing for giftedness, as well as providing insightful guidance on the strengths and needs of gifted children across a developmental spectrum from preschool through adolescence.
Dr. Victoria Stevens, Ph.D.
SAGE Center, Los Angeles
Dr. Victoria Stevens is our liaison in the West Los Angeles region, who offers a private psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice for children, adolescents, and adults.
Victoria shares, “Learning, questioning, wondering, mind-wandering, the arts, and reading were all early passions and proclivities of mine, and having been identified very early as a gifted child, I was free to study in many different areas throughout my life.”
Victoria studied ballet and cello from an early age, and added formal training in acting and singing in high school, leading to a career as a performing artist in classical music, jazz singing, musical theatre and theatrical improvisation. She was privately mentored in Jungian psychology and the mythological studies of Joseph Campbell, as well as the work of Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, and Anais Nin (in person) among others throughout high school and continued on this dual track of the arts and philosophical and literary study through college and beyond.
Experiences professionally and personally in Hollywood, teaching theatre, music and dance in a private high school, and leading personal growth workshops led Victoria to the formal study of psychology. “Specifically I wanted to understand how to manage extreme sensitivity, empathy, sensory, cognitive, and affective overload, perfectionism, and the lifelong experience of alienation. In addition, I wanted to understand the abuse of power in individuals and groups and the effects of interpersonal trauma on children and adults.”
Victoria is a licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, speaker, researcher, and educator. She is the director of the Stevens Creativity, Imagination and Leadership Training based in Los Angeles, California. Victoria holds a BA with honors in philosophy, cello and theatre from the University of Kansas, an MA and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
As part of her graduate work, she studied Child Psychoanalysis and Play Therapy with Rudolf Ekstein and Logotherapy with Viktor Frankl in Vienna. Victoria has an international psychoanalytic certification from the Psychoanalytic Center of California where she was focused on infant observation and child psychoanalysis and was mentored by James Grotstein. Subsequent to her certification and licensure she studied interpersonal affective neurobiology with Allan Schore for 14 years.
In addition, Victoria is an adjunct faculty member of Pacifica Graduate Institute in the Clinical Psychology PsyD and Ph.D. Programs and an Assistant Professor for the Clinical Psychology Program at Antioch University at Santa Barbara where she created and is founding faculty for the Somatic Psychotherapy Certification Program with a focus on Trauma Treatment. She is also a founding faculty member of the California Institute of the Arts Teaching Artist Training Program. She has been a faculty member at a number of institutions: California Institute of the Arts School of Critical Studies, Mount St. Mary’s College, and the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for Infant and Child Development, as well as Director of Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Research for the Young Musicians Foundation in Los Angeles.
A synthesis of her training and experiences as an artist and teacher with her study of child development and trauma led to her research specialty, which is the study of the development and inhibition of creativity in children and adults. Her work focuses on the relationship between creative thinking, neurobiology, emotional development, affect regulation, trauma, the arts and cognitive processes. In addition to her private psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice where she sees mostly gifted children and adolescents, Victoria consults for various programs, trains teaching artists, and integrates her experience as a classically trained cellist, singer, actress and dancer with her expertise in psychology and pedagogical theory to develop innovative pre-K through 12th grade art education curricula and assessments, teacher training programs, and trainings for mentors who work with foster children, “at-risk” youth and gifted children.
“My work in every area revolves around a holistic view of each unique individual and the facilitation of integration of all aspects of the self to provide a secure internal base from which to develop and express their gifts, find fulfillment in every area of life, and have a personal sense of meaning and purpose.”
“Creativity in my view is much broader than scientific or artistic invention or creation, it involves a way of Being and relating to others and the world. I specifically develop the capacity for an interdisciplinary creative combinatory play that crosses domains and is crucial for situational judgment as well as skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Many call today the “era of the polymath” and none are more suited for this that exceptionally gifted children – however, the current educational system is generally not designed to support the development of their gifts, nor provide the necessary emotional and social skill training that will provide the ability to utilize their gifts to fullest, and protect them from emotional, empathic, sensory, and cognitive overload.”
Victoria states, “The SAGE Center for Gifted is in perfect alignment with my work and vision. I am thrilled to be able to offer my services in the following areas: individualized psychotherapy for gifted students and those gifted students with learning differences; Psychotherapy and Play Therapy for young children; Parent support and consultation; Customized integrative curricula for homeschooled children; Professional Development for teachers; and speaking on gifted education topics.”
Dr. Emily Brown Werner, Ph.D.
Emily Brown Werner specializes in the assessment of a variety of learning differences, including working with non-traditional learners, children with variable cognitive profiles, gifted learners, those with developmental concerns such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Twice Exceptional children.
Dr. Werner attended Washington University in St. Louis as an undergraduate, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. She understands the different kinds of issues that may interfere with classroom performance, social development, mood, emotional regulation, and well-being among gifted children.
Dr. Werner views her role on the Sage team as helping to put the child and his/her family on a path toward healthy development that maximizes strengths and provides support for weaknesses.
“I believe in the right of every child to be supported by adults who are empowered with knowledge and strategies to help them.” – Emily Brown Werner
Mr. Michael G. Kurtz
“Why would a child not do well if they could do well? Regardless of behavior, motive, or intent, children do well if they can. When they don’t do well, there is ALWAYS a reason, and I consider it my mission to identify those reasons and intervene accordingly.” – Michael G. Kurtz
SAGE Center is honored to welcome Michael G. Kurtz, Ed.S, to provide assessment support for our growing educational services centers. He is a registered psychotherapist in private practice providing both assessment services and counseling. He has an Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S) from the University of Colorado at Denver with a concentration in Therapeutic Interventions for Children and Adolescents, and a B.S. in psychology, and an instrumental music minor from Colorado State University.
As a Member of National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Colorado Society of School Psychologists (CSSP), Michael has been a practicing school psychologist since 2002. He has knowledge, expertise, and experience with children demonstrating a wide array of learning differences ranging from significant disabilities to giftedness, and frequently both together (twice exceptionality).
Michael currently works with Jefferson County School’s Central Assessment Team and has provided assessment services for many of the district’s programs and most significantly impacted students. Michael is a certified SENG (Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted) facilitator and has successfully supported/advised countless parents about the social and emotional needs of their gifted children.
He is currently a member the Jefferson County Public Schools Crisis response team as well as the Colorado Society of School Psychologists State Wide Crisis Response team. He is dually licensed by both CDE and DORA to provide services both in and out of school.
Michael’s professional background with children is very diverse. While in college, he volunteered his time on a suicide hotline where many of his calls were from teens in crisis. Shortly thereafter, Michael became a Residential Program Manager for 11 developmentally disabled children and charged with their total and complete care 24/7. After becoming a school psychologist in 2002, Michael sought specialized training through both NOVA (National Organization of Victim’s Assistance) and NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) for crisis response. Since 2005, Michael has been called to respond to every one of Colorado’s high profile school crises.
We are pleased to have Michael bring his years of exceptional expertise and diversity of experience to our families at SAGE!