Deborah L. Ruf earned a Ph.D. in Tests & Measurement with a minor in Learning & Cognition at the University of Minnesota. She worked as a private consultant and specialist in gifted assessment, test interpretation, and guidance for the gifted for 30 years. Among her volunteer roles, she served as the National Gifted Children Program Coordinator for American Mensa from 2003 to 2008. She was awarded the Mensa Foundation’s Intellectual Benefits award in 2007 for her professional work in the field of intelligence. Having been a parent, classroom teacher, and administrator in elementary through graduate education, she continues to write and speak about school issues and social and emotional adjustment of gifted children and adults. Dr. Ruf maintains an interest in educational policy, particularly how to set up schools that meet not only academic but social and emotional needs of children through grouping and instruction with true peers. She is the author of the award-winning book Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind (2005) and retitled 5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options in 2009.
In late 2022, Dr. Ruf releases her follow-up longitudinal book study of the now-adult children from the original book and how they are doing now. Her focus has now progressed toward the social and emotional health of the gifted adults who parent gifted children. Her most recent invited paper, How Parental Viewpoint and Personality Affect Gifted Child Outcomes (2020, Gifted Child International Journal) looks into specific parent-child interactions of the subject families from the 5 Levels book.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Ruf has served as a keynote speaker, workshop, and conference presenter, and written chapters for 5 textbooks, more than 12 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 100 plus articles and handouts for newsletters, magazines, and websites.