Past Speakers

Seattle Country Day School thanks the guest speakers below for helping us further our mission by inspiring our children through inquiry, curiosity, and wonder.

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Katie Greer

Monday, April 1, 2019 

Internet Safety Expert Katie Greer spoke to students, faculty and staff, and parents about how children can foster a healthy relationship with technology. Topics included technology usage in the household, identity theft, tech addiction, and how to harness the power of social media for good. 

Dr. Sapna Cheryan

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dr. Sapna Cheryan presented, "Understanding and Remedying Gender Disparities in STEM" to SCDS's faculty, staff, and parent community. Using an analytical lens to explain underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, she discussed stereotypes of computer scientists, the effects of a masculine culture, the impact of K-12 courses, media influence, and how environmental changes and role models can change the tech industry. If you would like to read more about her research, you can visit her website here

Javaka Steptoe

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Children's book author and illustrator spoke to grades 2-5 students about his books, their historical context, and his creative process. He primarily discussed his biographical book, Radiant Child: The Story of Jean-Michel Basquiat, which earned the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the 2017 Caldecott Award. Steptoe said of art: "It's like a language. Looking at a good piece of art is like reading a good book." 

Giselle Geney and Andrés Montaña

January 31, 2019 

Director Giselle Geney and Producer/Sound Director Andrés Montaña spoke to Middle School students to discuss Colombia, cinema, and their short film, "3pies." This 14-minute live action film, about "an imaginative and tenacious 10-year-old" who "faces the most difficult task of his life: get[ting] to school with clean shoes," premiered in North America at the Children's Film Festival Seattle. The filmmakers began their visit by asking what students already knew about Colombia, then discussed Colombian language, religion, and education before screening the film. 

Natalie Place

January 7, 2019 

Natalie Place from City Fruit prepared grade 7 students for their upcoming service trips to Burke-Gilman Trail by teaching them about ecological sustainability and the anatomy of trees. Throughout three seasons, students will accompany Natalie to learn more about the maintenance of trees, the harvesting of fruit, and how they can use these skills to better help those in need.  

Kavya Dharmarajan

December 17, 2018

Kavya Dharmarajan from The Sophia Way visited grade 6 students to discuss the organization's mission of assisting women from homelessness to independence. She also explained how to use more inclusive language when discussing this topic, and how students can have a direct impact on their community. 

Victoria E. Thomas

December 13, 2018

University of Washington PhD student Victoria Thomas returned to SCDS for a third time to speak to grade 6 students about African-American hair as a form of social political protest. Utilizing a multimedia presentation, she began her talk by asking students about A Raisin in the Sun, inquiring what they thought Beneatha's haircut symbolized politically, then explored the lives of Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Assata Shakur, and more. 

Tom Walsh

October 26, 2018 

Tom Walsh visited the Lower School to speak about his work at the Queen Anne Food Bank and help them prepare for their own food drive. The Queen Anne Food Bank helps provide food to low-income and homeless people throughout Seattle with the goal of creating a hunger-free community. 

Karen Toth

October 12, 2018

Karen Toth, a licensed clinical psychologist, has worked in child and educational psychology with organizations such as Seattle Children's Hospital and Seattle Children's Autism Center and Research Institute. During Faculty Development Day, she spoke with teachers about how to support students diagnosed with high-functioning autism.

Dr. Amer Ahmed

October 10, 2018

Dr. Amer Ahmed, a leader in diversity, inclusion, and intercultural development, spoke to Middle School students about multimedia Hip Hop Interculturalism. With a presentation including photography, historical timelines, videos, and spoken word performances, he examined the history of Hip Hop and its involvement in different cultural, economic, and socio-political climates, exploring how this form can address social justice issues and bridge societal divisions.

Rosetta Lee

April 30, 2018 

Many of us cringe at the idea of talking about sex with our children, but research shows that well-informed children are safer and make better choices. When should we expect our kids to get curious and bodies and where babies come from? How do we handle those questions that make us squirm and feel tongue-tied? What, exactly, is age-appropriate? Sponsored by the Daniel Bailey Elementary PTA, Rosetta Lee explained what the research said, taught some strategies and sample answers, and practiced handling the unknown with fellow parents and guardians.

Aidan Key

January 24, 2018

Expert on gender diversity, Aidan Key, led a dynamic discussion to help parents understand gender nonconformity and transgender identification in kids.  This frank and open discussion left plenty of room for questions, including ones about bathroom sharing, sleepovers, faith, etc, and broadened broaden parent education on these issues. Key taught how we can support others and walk away with a message that is beneficial to everyone—how we can fully embrace and love our kids for who they are.

Aidan Key is the founder and director of Gender Diversity, an organization dedicated to providing support and educational services with respect to transgender and gender-diverse children. He has served as a consultant to SCDS as well as hundreds of schools and other youth-based agencies across the United States. He is a co-author of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and Gender Cognition in Transgender Children

Emily Meade, Queen Anne Food Bank

October 25, 2017

Lower School students had the opportunity to learn about the Queen Anne Food Bank from Operations Manager Emily Meade. She detailed how the food bank operates, the constituents it serves, and the importance of giving back to the community. Students learned a lot about hunger in our local community and they look forward to donating food for Thanksgiving in our annual holiday food drive!

Book-It Repertory Theater: "El Deafo"

Book-It Theatre visited SCDS with their inspirational and creative theatrical interpretation of the Newbery Honor and Eisner award-winning autobiographical graphic novel El Deafo by Cece Bell. The performance was performed using spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL).

All of their work is adapted in the unique Book-It Style®, where a book's narrative is brought to life by the characters in the story.

Kofi and Amma Anang, West African Dancer and Drummer

March 24, 2017

Kofi Anang spent seven years with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble and performed throughout much of the world. Since that time, Anang’s energy has been focused on teaching and developing Ocheami, a West African Music and Dance Ensemble. He is currently an instructor of African drumming at Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle.

Kofi Anang spent seven years with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble and performed throughout much of the world. Since that time, Kofi and his partner, Amma, have focused their energy on teaching and developing Ocheami, a West African music and dance ensemble. Kofi is currently an instructor of African drumming at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and Amma is a social worker for a local nonprofit working primarily with at-risk black youth.

Together, this dynamic team performed for and provided workshops for Lower School students as part of the year's VOICES III programming.

Jessixa Bagley, Author and Illustrator

March 03, 2017
Jessixa Bagley is picture book author and illustrator most known for her comics work and debut picture book, Boats for Papa. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington with a BFA in painting and printmaking. Her work has been in publications such as The Chicago Reader, The Comics Journal, The Seattle Weekly, and Nickelodeon Magazine.
Bagley performed and read to students in the SCDS Library as part of this year's VOICES III program.

Antonio Sacre, Storyteller

January 30, 2017

As part of the Voices III program, renowned bilingual storyteller Antonio Sacre conducted a storytelling session and workshop with 3-8th grade students on January 30, 2017. Later that afternoon, the Parent Council and Education Committee hosted a session for SCDS parents and guardians to complement what students experienced at school to bring the Voices experience home.

Read more about Sacre's visit here.

Mark Holtzen, Former SCDS Grade 3 Teacher and Author

January 4, 2017

Author Mark Holtzen visited 5th graders to discuss the process of writing stories and to give them the opportunity to critique one of his works-in-progress.

Holtzen is a current SCDS parent (Alice ‘23 and Luke ‘21), former SCDS 3rd grade teacher, and the author of The Pig War, a Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 Selection. Holtzen’s most recent publication—A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle—was released in April 2016. 

Book-It Repertory Theater: "Last Stop on Market Street"

In the week before the Thanksgiving Break, Book-It Theatre visited SCDS with their inspirational and creative theatrical interpretation of the Newbery Award winning Last Stop on Market Street. All of their work is adapted in the unique Book-It Style®, where a book's narrative is brought to life by the characters in the story.

Sarah Kay, Poet

November 18, 2016

American poet, Sarah Kay, visited SCDS as part of the "VOICES III" guest speaker series. Known for her spoken word poetry, she is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE and will delivered a performance in the SCDS Gym to Intermediate and Middle School students and faculty.

Kay then ran two workshops with 7th grade students; taking participants on an intimate tour of spoken word poetry and leaving students with the tools they needed to being writing and performing their own creative work.

Please watch her inspriing performance and presentation at TED2011 by clicking here.

Andy Schocken, Class of '88

October 20, 2016

Documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Andy Schocken '88 visited campus to speak to current students about the process of creating films and, specifically, about "Song of Lahore." This film is Andy's directorial debut and examines the lives of Pakistan's classical musicians; asking whether there is still room for them in a society roiled by social and religious upheaval. Read more about Andy's visit here.

Karam Dana, BA, MAIS, PhD

September 27, 2016

SCDS Middle School students learned about the history and implications of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from Dr. Karam Dana. Dr. Dana is an Assistant Professor of Global and Middle East Studies at the University of Washington (UW) Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences. According to his profile on the UW website, "My research examines how religion influences political identities in different cultural and societal contexts. My work on the Middle East explores how religious messages were used as tools of tapping into the popular impulse of the people, in order to mobilize and rally support against the British colonial authorities in Palestine, during the British Mandate period. I also study the political and civic engagement of Muslims in Western contexts, but specifically in the United States." Learn more about Dr. Dana's work and background here.

Razia Jan

September 22, 2016

Razia Jan, President and Founder of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation and the Zabuli Education Center visited SCDS to speak about the work she has done to ensure girls in Afghanistan have an opportunity to recieve education. "What I am trying to do in Afghanistan is get these girls to school so that their children will have a better life and their children's children will have a better life because they were able to be educated," Razia explained. Read more about Razia's visit here.

Amy Lang, MA

May 11, 2016

Amy Lang, MA came to SCDS's campus May 11, 2016, to discuss her book, Birds+Bees+Your Kids, which provides years of answers to just about any question your kids may have. You can learn more about her and her work here.

Monica Van Winkle, MS, RD

March 28-29, 2016

Monica Van Winkle, MS, RD, a registered dietitian specializing in sports and wellness nutrition, visited SCDS to teach Middle School students about the importance of a good night's sleep, the dangers of dieting, and the science of food. She is well-versed in the nutritional needs of top athletes as Sports Dietitian for the Seattle Mariners and she is an Affiliate Faculty member at the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. More information about Monica can be found on her website, Nutrition in Action.

Scott Davies

March 28, 2016 

Scott Davies, a Public Info Specialist at the Pike Place Market, spoke to second grade students about the past, present, and future of the Market to kick-off the students' social studies unit on communities. More information about how the Pike Place Market works with local schools can be found here.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD

March 16, 2016

Harvard-trained developmental and clinical psychologist, Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, came to SCDS's campus March 16, 2016, to discuss her research on technology and The Big Disconnect. More information on her visit can be found here.

Eric Dijkhuis

March 9th & 11th, 2016

Eric Dijkhuis is Co-Founder of Po Paraguay, a non-profit organization that changes people’s lives using technology. Their main project is the development of high-quality, low cost 3D-printed prosthetics for people with upper limb disabilities. Dijkhuis spoke to Lower and Intermediate School students about his passion for technology as a tool for social change.

Karen Ofsthus

February 9, 2016

Woodland Park Zoo Experience Specialist, Karen Ofsthus, engaged SCDS Grade 2 students with a visit from "Buddy" the pharaoh eagle-owl. Students learned about the traits and flight patterns of raptors through a presentation, props, and a series of hands-on activities.

Peter Donaldson

January 27, 2016

Master teacher and storyteller, Peter Donaldson, captivated grade 3 students this past January 2016. Over the course of three one-day workshops, Mr. Donaldson took students on the Corps of Discovery reenacting the adventures of Lewis and Clark.

Tim Geil

January 20, 2016

Tim Geil, a Guiding Teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation, led Middle School students through thoughtful discussion and exercises in mindfulness in meditation. More information about Geil and Seattle Insight Meditation can be found here

Cindy Nofziger

January 11, 2016

A big thank you to Cindy Nofziger, founder of Schools for Salone for coming to campus to speak to the Middle School on Janunary 11, 2016, about Sierra Leone.

Matthew MacDonald

November 20, 2015

Matthew MacDonald, a fire captain with Cal Fire in Napa County visited campus to speak with Intermediate and Middle School students on November 20. MacDonald spoke about the duties and life of a firefighter in relation to this year's Engineering Event theme: "Too Hot to Handle: The Engineering of Wildfire Fighting."

Carmen Agra Deedy

December 3-4, 2015

Carmen Agra Deedy, an internationally known children's author and storyteller visited the SCDS campus December 3-4, 2016. 

Deedy performed for all three divisions on Thursday, and held a question and answer session with Middle School students. On Friday, Deedy held storytelling and writing workshops with students in grades 3 and 5.

Bryan Gula

November 19, 2015

Bryan Gula spoke to Middle School students on November 19. Gula is the founder of the startup Cardswapper and is also starring in the 5th Avenue Theatre's summer production of "Grease." He related to students how important it is not to limit or define themselves to one specialty, skill, or career path.

Yoram Bauman, PhD

October 27, 2015

Yoram Bauman, PhD spoke to Middle School students on October 27, 2015, about his work on the economics of climate change. He highlighted several pages of his new book, The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change. 

More information about Bauman can be found on his website, The Stand-Up Economist.

James Webb, PhD

October 14, 2015

Dr. James Webb, is a noted author and long-time expert in the field of education for the gifted. SCDS has used his book, A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, as both a key resource and the basis for Parent Education discussion groups. Dr. Webb held a faculty discussion regarding teaching the gifted, then held an evening session where he answered parent questions and addressed the 11 key parenting concerns for parents of gifted children. 

Carl Wilkens

September 25, 2015 

Carl Wilkens was a humanitarian aid work in Rwanda when the genocide began in 1994. Wilkens refused to leave the country, despite urging from the United States government. Wilkens saved hundreds by providing humanitarian aid to orphans throughout the city. Wilkens spoke to to Middle School students on September 25, 2015. 

Kurt Timmermeister, Class of '75

May 21, 2015

Kurt Timmermeister, class of '75, spoke to Lower School students about his farm, Kurtwood Farms and his store Kurt Farm Shop.

Allison A. Barto, Class of '91

May 1, 2015

Allison A. Barto, class of '91, is a Program Manager of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NASA’s next flagship astronomical observatory that will launch in 2018. She spoke to Middle School students about her work and how SCDS influenced her love of science. 

Seattle Country Day

2619 4th Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone 206-284-6220 

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