Intellectual Engagement & Social Connection with Like-Minded Peers, Guided by Expert Mentors Who Get Bright & Quirky Kids

Welcome to Catalyst, Bright & Quirky's program for twice exceptional kids and teens

Parents, if your child faces these challenges, you're in the right place...

  • Difficulty finding intellectually compatible peers who share similar interests
  • Difficulty finding teachers who 'get' twice exceptional kids
  • Difficulty feeling engaged or motivated
  • Difficulty finding highly qualified and inspiring mentors
  • Craving social connection and productive use of time while sheltering in place
Schoolboy playing online game on laptop at home sitting table, teenage free time

Introducing Catalyst: A Program for 2e Kids, Ages 8-18!

Young girl waving during a video call

Catalyst classes are designed especially with bright and quirky kids in mind. We've searched high and low for the best instructors who really 'get' our twice exceptional (2e) kids. Our instructors understand that your child needs intellectual engagement and certain supports at the same time. Explore interests and strengths under the wing of experienced mentors.

Check out all that's on offer below.

Your bright & quirky tribe awaits!

Join for less than the cost of one piano or sports lesson per week.

Browse the listing below and enroll your child in the class(es) they find most intriguing:

Shocked boy in eyeglasses sitting on sofa and using laptop, he playing video game

Minecraft Build & Share

Does your child like playing Minecraft? If so, they'll fit right in our Minecraft Build & Share. Your child will receive a weekly challenge to build on their own and then come share, teach and learn in a Zoom session with new friends.

AGES: 8-16

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

A Japanese KANJI "Zen".

Zen of Self: Calligraphy & Philosophy

Does your child grapple with the big existential questions of life? Through the art of Japanese calligraphy and philosophical conversation, acclaimed 2e instructor, Mike Cantlon, MEd, will create the space to practice mindfulness, introspection and connection.

AGES: 12-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Little girl playing with her homemade planetarium as she holds an astronaut and spacecraft. Arms raised as she flies them over the planets.


Many bright and quirky kids are naturally inclined towards STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and math. Join instructor Chris Kobus for a weekly STEM learn and challenge in which students learn key STEM concepts, design their own creations, complete tasks, run simulations, and share them with a like-minded community of 2e peers.

AGES: 8-16

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Multi-ethnic group of students in classroom, working together on a project.

Executive Function Skills & Tools Group

Does your child struggle with time management, planning, organization or getting things done? If so, it may be time to work with an online executive function coach to learn effective skills and tools.

AGES: 7-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Group Of Teenage Students Collaborating On Project In Classroom

Let's Chat!

What would it be like to just be accepted as yourself, find like-minded friends, and discuss meaningful topics, all at the same time? Join us for a weekly chat for deep thinking and social connection with Mike Cantlon, of Satori camp fame.

AGES: 8-14

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks


Overcoming Math Anxiety

Do you or your child tense up at the thought of doing math? Do you or your child wish you felt more comfortable with it? Ms. Math's specialty is easing math anxiety. You're in for a potentially life-changing treat!

AGES: 7-14

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

A group of diverse students reading lines for drama

Improv for Interaction

I need an occupation... a place... and two different types of aquatic mammals. Sound strange? Not in Improv! If your child struggles socially, you won't want to miss this. We're bringing you this very special series in partnership with our friends at The Miracle Project.

AGES: 7-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Child appearing beneath the curtain. Red curtain.

Act! Move! Sing! Connect!

Does your child enjoy acting, movement, or singing? Join this club to improve flexibility, spontaneity, and self-confidence through physical activity, vocal exercises, mindfulness, and group acting activities, brought to you in partnership with our friends at The Miracle Project.

AGES: 7-13

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Finally, instructors who truly understand bright & quirky kids! 


Mike Cantlon, MEd

Mike Cantlon has dedicated his career to improving the learning environment of gifted and talented students and to helping people better understand the unique needs of highly capable children. He created a college campus residential summer camp for gifted students grades 6-12 called Satori. In Spokane Public Schools, Cantlon was instrumental in the identification of highly capable students, he taught in the Tessera Program, and was also the chair of a gifted education task force resulting in the Odyssey Program. He has been an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University and works collaboratively with the Gifted Education Center at Whitworth University.

Maina Gachugu

Maina has been teaching 6th grade for over six years in Kent, Washington. He has a passion for community involvement, so you can usually catch him helping out at after-school events. Maina runs an annual Minecraft Club using Minecraft: Education Edition for the last three years in Kent, focusing on collaborative play and Game-Based Learning. He also is a Professional Learning Specialist for Insight 2 Execution (i2e). Additionally, he is a Graduate student at the University of Washington's iSchool, working towards a Master's of Library and Information Science degree. Maina hopes to make gaming more prevalent in education as a mode of learning, not just entertainment. Maina lives with his partner and puppy in Seattle, loving learning, games, and the outdoors.


Elaine Hall

Elaine Hall, The Miracle Project's Founder & Executive Artistic Director, has been referenced by The New York Times as “the child whisperer” and is a pioneer in using theater and movement practices as a portal for connection among individuals with autism and related disabilities. Elaine was a top Hollywood acting coach when her adopted son was diagnosed with autism. When traditional behavioral therapies did not work for him, she developed an innovative methodology combining mindfulness and the expressive arts with what she was learning from autism experts, Dr. Stanley Greenspan, Dr. Ricki Robinson, and Dr. Barry Prizant. The 2008 Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, AUTISM: The Musical profiles Elaine’s early work with The Miracle Project, which has since been deemed evidence-based and is now being replicated nationally and internationally.


Mark Henkels

Mark has been and continues to be a middle school math teacher for over 20 years in New York state. He's been a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 5 years and a Minecraft Global Mentor for 2 years. He lives with his wife, middle school age daughter, and elementary age son in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.


Chris Kobus, PhD

Professor Krzysztof (Chris) Kobus has been teaching full-time at Oakland University since 1998. His field of interest is in the thermal-fluid sciences including topics like conventional and alternative energy, energy conservation, phase change phenomena, and experimental and theoretical techniques associated with fluid thermal processes. As the Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Retention for the OU School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS), he hosts K-12 summer STEM camps and STEM field trips and Saturday workshops during the academic year. He has been doing K-12 outreach in addition to his faculty duties for almost 12 years. He and his wife are raising their 7 children including one on the spectrum.


Rachel McAnallen, PhD

Known simply as Ms. Math to children across the country, Dr. Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than 60 years, she travels the globe teaching her subject at every grade level. Recently Rachel has co-authored with Carol Williams, children’s math books and teaching manuals that accompany the books. A life-long learner, Rachel approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style. She believes that mathematics is a language to be spoken, a music to be heard, an art to be seen, and a dance to be performed.


Simone Miliaresis, EdS

Simone Miliaresis, EdS is an executive functioning coach with Beyond BookSmart, a school psychologist, and a special ed instructor. She has a Master's degree in Education and an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology. Simone has also been the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships. Simone's focus includes working with children with disabilities and her experience spans from working with babies as a special ed instructor, k-8 children as a school psychologist, and middle school and high school students as an executive functioning coach.


Stephen Russell, MA

Stephen Russell, MA is an Executive Functioning Coach with Beyond BookSmart, an experienced Special Education Teacher, and father of one. He has a Master's degree in Special Education and has presented at state and national conferences. He works with students aged 10-25 on barriers to education that may not be addressed within the school setting.


Ava Sharifi

Ava Sharifi is a recent Political Science graduate from the University of Washington and progressive youth activist. Since a young age, she has been passionate about politics, law, activism, and academia, her first experience being the Occupy Wallstreet movement while still in middle school. Later on, she was deeply involved with speech and debate competitions, consistently ranking top three in Washington state four years in a row. In college, she took a quarter off to work for Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. as a legislative intern, forever marking her desire to work in politics. Overall, her passions revolve around criminal justice, immigration, income inequality, human rights, civil justice, and environmental policy.


Jessica Sudler

Jessica Sudler is Bright & Quirky's children's program coordinator and is the 'air traffic controller' who keeps the Catalyst program humming along. In addition to all the magic she does behind the scenes, you might see Jess running tech on a class, facilitating, or answering your emails. Before joining Bright & Quirky, Jess worked for a global education technology company in China. She's also working on her masters degree in Project Management. Jess lives in Florida, loves coffee and travel.

What People are Saying...

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Catalyst Bonuses!

When you sign up for a Catalyst class, you also get:

  • Monthly Parent Brainstorms: Community brainstorms help make the program great! There are so many incredible families in the program, from around the world. 
  • Quarterly Remarkable Mentor Talks: We'll talk with 2e mentors, also on the bright and quirky journey, who can inspire your child and be there for questions. Past mentors include Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD and Jonathan Mooney.

Ready for an adventure?

Let's create a magical oasis, with amazing mentors, friendship, and lightbulb moments for our 2e kids!

Hi Friends,

When I started Bright & Quirky, I only had parent education in mind. It's been my absolute joy getting to know our member families around the globe and learning more about your needs, from Nashville to Norway. I am moved by your stories and want to use Bright & Quirky's connections and know how to tailor unique programming for your kids and teens.

When Coronavirus hit, we knew we had to rise to the challenge. We tried a number of different kids classes, and ran a number of experiments, some successful and some not so much.

The result is the unique program we continue to iterate here: Catalyst 2.0, a one-of-a-kind program for bright and quirky kids and teens, crafted with your unique child's needs in mind.

Catalyst is a bold experiment, just like our flourishing IdeaLab was over a year ago.

Enroll in one or more of the class offerings above, and also enjoy monthly parent Zoom coffees and quarterly Remarkable Mentor talks for the kids.

It's exciting! We have the opportunity to create a magical oasis for our kids where they're accepted for who they are and their minds will be sparked with new possibilities by some of the most enthusiastic and competent 2e mentors I have ever met. The instructors are simply a dream team.

I look forward to meeting you and seeing the sparkle in your child's eyes, as we learn together.


Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Founder, Bright & Quirky

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catalyst Kids & Teen Program?

Think of Catalyst like after-school classes geared specifically for twice exceptional kids; bright kids with social, emotional and/or learning challenges. We've hand-picked the best instructors who are lauded for their engaging style and expertise in our uniquely wired kids. They will help your child identify his or her own budding potential.

What is the cost of classes in the Catalyst program?

Class costs vary. Join the waitlist to get more details when new classes become available. FYI, when you an enroll in a class, you also get monthly parent Zoom calls with Debbie, and kids get quarterly Remarkable Mentor talks with inspiring bright & quirky adults!

Are we able to use insurance, a Health Savings Account or a Flexible Spending Account?

While Bright & Quirky does not handle billing for any insurance, HSA's or FSA's, please check with your specific plan to see if you can get reimbursement or coverage. We have members who ARE getting reimbursed by their healthcare plans for certain classes.

What is your cancellation policy?

You can cancel any class within 24 hours after the first class for a full refund. Simply reach out to, we are happy to help!

What if I have more questions?

We're happy to help! Just email

Enrollment is now closed. Join the waitlist and we will notify you when enrollment reopens.

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