A 21st century schoolhouse for
gifted and 2e students
who yearn for academic adventure.
A schoolhouse for the 21st century, designed for those gifted and twice-exceptional middle school, high school, and post-graduate students who are not thriving in traditional school. FlexSchool’s amazing faculty focuses on critical thinking in all areas of learning; a “toolbox” concept emphasizing how to learn rather than an “encyclopedia” concept emphasizing specific material (though all core bases are covered in depth!). We focus on our students’ strengths through academically rigorous courses, and then provide any support a student needs. FlexSchool is an accredited school providing a high quality, discussion-based, experiential educational experience for students who want more.
FlexSchool has two locations: Berkeley Heights, NJ and New Haven, CT. We also offer our innovative live online learning interface, Cloud Classroom.
Jacqui Byrne, Founder
Jacqui is the visionary behind FlexSchool, a learning network for gifted and 2e students. She loves all of the creative, quirky, asynchronous minds and figuring out how to reach each child is very satisfying to her. She is an acknowledged expert in education: training school district guidance counselors, speaking at college parent nights throughout New Jersey, and presenting at professional conferences. Jacqui earned a B.A. from Yale and has children who are twice-exceptional and gifted.
Heidi Molbak, Co-Founder
Heidi is nationally recognized as an expert on schooling options for gifted and 2E students. She holds an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University New Orleans and an A.B. in English from Stanford University. She is the recipient of the Oehmig Award for Excellence in Counseling.
Rich Sorkin, Co-Founder
Rich Sorkin is a pioneer in the technology business, creating over $1 billion in value during his twenty-year career in Silicon Valley. Sorkin cofounded and/or drove early scaling of FlexSchool, Zip2, Creative Labs, Jupiter Vision, Raptor Intelligence, Zeus Analytics and Kairos Aerospace. Rich currently advises a broad range of technology companies including EEME, a startup focused on teaching science and electronics with hands-on kits and videos. He is the parent of a 2e student. Rich started his career at Bain and Goldman Sachs, after graduating from Yale and the Stanford Business School.
Stephen Chou, Co-Founder
Director of Gifted & 2e Research
Stephen H. Chou, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in Multicultural/Community and Family/Child counseling and neuropsychological assessment, especially within the field of giftedness/2e/multi-e. Dr. Chou graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Integrative Biology and a minor in music, Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Nursing, and from Alliant International University - California School of Professional Psychology with an MA and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Maryellen Butke, MSW, PhD
Maryellen is an educational advocate and strategist deeply committed to ensuring all children reach their highest potential. In her educational consulting practice, Maryellen has cultivated in disrupting the traditional educational model and building demand for change. She is an advisor with the Untapped Potential Project, whose mission is to advance public policy that optimizes educational outcomes for children with unique abilities as well as a consultant to Teach For America for their Philanthropic Leadership Circle. A graduate of Providence College with a MSW and PhD in Social Work from Smith College, Maryellen also received a fellowship to Harvard Kennedy School's International Program for State and Local Leaders.
Elaine Christensen, MEd
Elaine is the Director of Professional Development and the Director of the Middle School at Lakeside School, an independent school in Seattle, Washington. She has held multiple roles in the middle and high school divisions since 1992, leading initiatives and developing policies that directly impact faculty expertise and student growth in both intellectual and social/emotional domains. Elaine holds a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, an M.A. in English Literature from the Breadloaf School of English at Middlebury College and an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Program at Columbia University. Elaine lives in Seattle with her husband.
Norma Lu Hafenstein, PhD
Dr. Hafenstein is the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences Department, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. Dr. Hafenstein is lead faculty for gifted education, Full Clinical Professor in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department. Dr. Hafenstein serves as a member of the Colorado Department of Education's Gifted and Talented Endorsement Standards Committee. Dr. Hafenstein established the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education in 1998 through support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In 1984, Dr. Hafenstein founded the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver and was director for 29 years.
James Webb, Ph.D.
James T. Webb, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the most influential psychologists on gifted education. Dr. Webb established SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted Children), a national nonprofit organization that provides information, training, conferences, and workshops. Six of his books are on gifted children and adults, and four have won “Best Book” awards. His book, Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers, won the National Media Award of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Webb graduated from Rhodes College, and received his doctorate degree from the University of Alabama.
Carolyn Kottmeyer, M.S.
Carolyn Kottmeyer is a leading international figure in giftedness as the founder and director of the powerful 1,100 page gifted resource website Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page. She is the winner of the NAGC Community Service Award and Annemarie Roeper Award and the SENG Service Award. Carolyn frequently speaks at conferences including World Gifted Council, National Association of Gifted Children plus many state and local gifted associations. Carolyn earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg and an M.S. in Computer Science from Villanova. She is the parent of two profoundly gifted adult daughters.
What is FlexSchool?
Many highly creative and eager gifted students struggle to thrive in school. Some lose their confidence, their sense of purpose and finally their will to try. Whether they are impacted by a specific learning disability, poor executive functioning, struggle with slow processing speed, anxiety or even intense stubbornness to “do things their way,” they are stuck. It’s no wonder. Gifted kids can be a conundrum for schools.
While not suitable for every 2e student, FlexSchool can support those who are socially-minded to enjoy a community of peers. At FlexSchool, students are safe: to have conversations with other students that they previously only had with adults and to accelerate or decelerate coursework as necessary.
FlexSchool has two campuses located in the northeastern United States. Our original campus is located in Fanwood, New Jersey and our newest campus is located in New Haven, Connecticut. These campuses are deliberately embedded into the community to utilize local resources for experiential learning opportunities such as FlexFridays.
Cloud Classroom allows FlexSchool to bring our innovative programming to students around the country and the world who are unable to attend one of our campus locations. Unlike traditional online learning platforms, the students are part of a live class and participate in real time. FlexSchool also uses Cloud Classroom to provide private classes and learning support to our students. Cloud Classroom serves students from locations such as Switzerland, Taiwan, the Bahamas, Florida, Colorado, California, and Massachusetts.
Our English as a Second Language/English Language Learner courses meet federal visa requirements. Students are admitted on an individual basis. A high school transcript, translated into English, is required. Interviews are conducted in person or via video conference.
FlexSchool is accredited through Middle States Commissions on Elementary & Secondary Schools to grant US high school diplomas.
FlexSchool has the ability to offer over 100 different courses in core subject areas, electives, as well as custom-designed classes. We hire educators who not only meet our students where they are academically and emotionally but are also content experts in their fields. All courses not currently being offered in a group setting are available privately. For full course descriptions, please contact us.
While upper level high school courses are taught at the AP level and students are prepared for the exam, we have chosen to write our own curricula rather than following those designated by the College Board. Courses include: Pre-Algebra-Algebra II, Geometry, Advanced Trigonometry, Calculus, Advanced Calculus, Statistics, Differential Equations, English: I-IV, Expository & Creative Writing, Art History, Music History, Playwriting, World Languages, Anthropology, Current Affairs, Advanced Biology, Anatomy and Physiology I-II, Biochemistry I-II, Ecology, Environmental Science, Organic Chemistry, Physics I-II and many more.
Post Graduate Year
Students who have graduated from high school either in the United States or internationally are welcome to spend an additional year readying themselves for college. Challenging coursework, extended projects and mentoring opportunities are offered.
FlexSchool welcomes a limited number of international students to ensure immersion in the American school culture and English language.
International students are paired with an American FlexSchool family for a homestay during the school year. Additional costs associated with the homestay are added to the cost of tuition.
FlexSchool is authorized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to issue I20 Visas to international students. Please contact us for more information.
Berkeley Heights, NJ
Jacqui Byrne, Yale '84
+1 (908) 322-0554
New Haven, CT
Heidi Molbak, MS, Stanford '86
+1 (203) 628-4018