Hello! We are Mike and Julie Postma,
Co-founders of Gifted and Thriving, LLC
We are passionate about helping and supporting the complex needs of the gifted/twice-exceptional (2e) community. Why? Because it is our community too!
In our 26 year marriage, we have raised our 4 gifted/2e children. We know just how difficult and rewarding this journey is and can be, and that is one reason why Mike has dedicated his life work to the holistic development of this unique community, and why we have created Gifted and Thriving!
In Mike's 25+ year career, he has served as a gifted teacher, an administrator of gifted programs/schools, a professional developer of gifted programming, and as the Executive and Programming Director of the non-profit organization SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Currently, he is the co-founder and President of our company, Gifted and Thriving, LLC, where Julie is co-founder and working as the Marketing and Business Officer.
Ten years ago, Julie left her business executive career in corporate America to become a full time advocate for our children who were really struggling in the local school system. Each of them presented different challenges as twice-exceptional children. All were intelligent yet struggling with varying exceptionalities. The list included high levels of anxiety/depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Issues, ADD, and more.
In time, the system proved too much for our kids, and two were homeschooled using a variety of methods and curriculum. The traditional school proved to be too much. It neither understood our kids and certainly could not accommodate for their needs.
Using the 'unschooling' process, Julie allowed the kids to embrace–and yes, deeply explore–their gifts while assisting them with the challenges. In essence, she let them be themselves; gifted, creative, and thriving.
Now, having survived the arduous trek through ups and downs, challenges and successes, tears and smiles, good days and bad, the children have grown into confident young adults. Most importantly, we rejoice in the fact that they have carved their own paths to success, and that they are happy and thriving on their own terms.
It is our belief that through our compassion, understanding, and experience, we can offer help and support to you and your family as you navigate through your own gifted/2e path to HOPE and THRIVING. We are honored and humbled to be part of your "Village People" and look forward to the journey with you!
Mike & Julie's Bios
Dr. Michael Postma, Ed.D.
Dr. Michael Postma is an educator, author, speaker, coach and consultant dedicated to the holistic development of the gifted/twice-exceptional (2e) community.
Over the last two decades, Dr. Postma has served as a gifted teacher in the classroom, as an administrator and leader of gifted schools – both public and charter schools in multiple states, and was the architect of the Minnetonka Navigator Program, a magnet school in Minnesota specifically designed for highly gifted and twice-exceptional students.
He currently is the President and co-founder of Gifted and Thriving, LLC and the Programming Director for the non-profit SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) organization.
Dr. Postma has published a number of articles and two books, the latest titled The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students.
He travels and speaks nationally and internationally on a variety of topics such as: the social/emotional development of the gifted, understanding twice-exceptional learners, gifted/talented programming, neuroscience and the gifted/2e brain and more.
Dr. Postma holds a B.A. from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON; a M.A. in Gifted, Talented and Creative Education from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN; and a Ed.D in Educational Leadership (Critical Pedagogy) also from the University of St. Thomas.
He currently serves as a board member of Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA) and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) organizations.
Dr. Postma resides in Bellingham, WA with his wife Julie, and is the father of four adult children, three of whom are twice-exceptional.
Julie Postma is an advocate, speaker, writer and co-founder and Chief Marketing and Operating Officer at Gifted and Thriving, LLC, an organization that provides education, consulting and services to the gifted and twice exceptional (2e) communities.
Together with her husband, Dr. Michael Postma, an educator and leader in the gifted and 2e education community for over two decades, they have raised four gifted children, three of whom are twice exceptional. They know first-hand the daily challenges and complexities of navigating and advocating for four unique and complex children within an education system that has little knowledge and/or training around the social, emotional and academic needs of the gifted population.
It is because of this lack of knowledge, support and understanding that Julie joins Michael to serve, advocate and educate within this community, in order to help others in the battle for their children’s success in the classroom, at home and in life so that can realize their full potential.
Julie is a former business/sales executive who worked in the fast-paced technology and software industry for over 20 years, providing mission-critical software and solutions to Fortune 500 companies around the world. She personally knows the enormous stress and challenges of trying to balance the responsibilities of home, work and life and has learned the hard lesson of having to “put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others,” and the importance of taking care of yourself as one of the most critical moments in her journey.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota), is a certified SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Model Parent Group (SMPG) facilitator, and also holds a current real estate broker license.
She currently resides in Bellingham, WA together with her husband Mike and three of her four adult children.
Meet the Family!
We are a family of 7 and have raised our 4 kids, 2 girls and 2 boys, who are now young adults aged 21-31. And who is the 7th in our family? Nikki's husband and our son-in-law, Drew! We are thrilled to be growing our family and have experienced pretty much everything in our family's gifted/2e journey over the past 25+ years.
Over the years, we have summarized our four kids as "The four A's."
Our oldest daughter, Nikki the "Academic," did great in school. She worked very hard, got very good grades, graduated with honors and went on to get her 4 year degree at the University of Iowa in the field of Business/Marketing. She landed a great job in her field, continues to do well, and now just finished her MBA at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. She met her husband Drew at the University of Iowa where he got a degree in Biology. He then went on to receive his Pharmacy Doctorate at the University of Minnesota. They are both extremely hard workers, and it's been such a privilege to watch each of them grow and flourish in their lives, and now as a young married couple starting their next adventures together with their own family. And we are all especially enjoying and loving the arrival of their first child, our first grandchild Evan!
Our oldest son, Sean the outdoor "Adventurer," is very bright but struggled in the traditional classroom. He would rather be learning in the great outdoors exploring nature and science versus being confined to the traditional classroom. However, with the aid of an IEP, support from wonderful teachers and school psychologists, he managed to survive both elementary and middle school. Once he arrived in high school, we found that homeschooling would be the most effective means of instruction using a combination of strength-based curriculum and a lot of passion projects. Today, Sean is enjoying exploring the great outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, camping and hiking with his video camera in hand while pursuing a college degree in Wildlife Biology/Science.
Our second son, Alex, is a gifted Athlete, and excels in the areas of math, science, logic/strategy. He is also a gamer. In fact, when all the online/XBox strategy games first became popular, Alex excelled so much at this, he began earning money coaching others and playing in sponsored tournaments! He graduated from High School with a lot of support from his amazing school counselors and teachers because of his struggle with debilitating anxiety. With time, Alex has learned strategies that have helped him to manage his chronic anxiety, and is currently doing very well as he just completed his Professional Fitness Trainer License, works out daily at his beloved "Happy Place" - the gym - , and travels and explores in adventures that include meeting up all over the country with his gaming friends he's had over the many years.
Our youngest daughter, Amanda, is an amazing Artist. Smart, sensitive and soulful, she has found her outlet in digital art and animation. Her school journey was very similar to Sean's. While extremely intelligent, she struggled greatly with sensory processing issues, that were triggered by the traditional loud and noisy school environment and proved to be too challenging for her. During her middle school years, we experimented with a few different art schools but found that homeschooling was the best option for her. It allowed Amanda the flexibility to create her own art-based program. She completed her GED so she could start her next journey with going to a great animation/art school that she started in the fall of 2022.
In our 25+ year gifted/2e family journey, we have seen it all, done it all and tried it all. We have found that there really is no perfect educational environment. For each unique child, it is an individual journey.
The most important lesson we found was the need to stay flexible and strong with support from your "Village People" (your community), and this is a key to finding to the right fit for our gifted/2e children.
However, it is a battle worth fighting for, as is true for all children, these amazing kids/families have so many gifts to share with us all, and they are real game-changers in making our world a better place for our future!