Guest Speakers

The whole school community benefits from a range of guest speakers who share their expertise and experience on a variety of topics with students, faculty and parents.

Recent visitors have included authors, puppet makers, cartoon drawers and improvisation comedians who held workshops for students, and a maths expert who helped faculty develop our program.

Upper School - March 31, 2017 11:40

Pianist Elisabeth Brauss

In conjunction with the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich's youth concert series, German pianist Elisabeth Brauss will play a special concert at the Upper School Theater. Just 22, Brauss studied at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater in Hannover, and is the winner of several prizes including the 2013 Grand Prix and Audience Award at the TONALi competition, and first prize in the 2015 Ton und Erklaerung competition. She will be previewing some of the works that she will perform in the following week's Tonhalle concert.

Lower School - March 7, 2017 18:00-19:00

Writing Workshop: Christy Currran

Please join us for our Parent Cafe on Writing Workshop. This cafe will be run by our visiting consultant, Christy Curran. Christy worked for many years as a literacy staff developer for the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been working with Lower School teachers on the teaching of writing for 18 months and is an engaging speaker and expert in her field. Christy will give a presentation aimed at parents who are new to the Writing Workshop approach, or would simply like to know more! Christy's visit is sponsored by the ZIS Annual Fund.

Upper School - Wednesday March 8, 2017

Professional Multi-Sport Athlete: Emma Pooley

Emma will be speaking at the Upper School as part of International Women's Day.

Emma is one of Great Britain’s most respected and successful road cyclists of the past decade, winning the UCI time trial World Championships as well as 5 further cycling medals at Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Upper School - Wednesday March 8, 2017

Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden

Eleanor will be speaking to Upper School students as part of International Women's Day.

Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden is the President and CEO of The Paradigm Forum GmbH (TPF), a global consultancy and think tank operating at the intersection of social justice and workplace innovation.  


All Campuses - Wednesday March 8-Thursday March 9, 2017

Science Expert Dr. Emily Grossman

 Dr. Grossman will be speaking at the Upper School on Wednesday March 8 and at the Lower and Middle Schools on Thursday March 9, 2017.

Dr. Grossman is an expert in molecular biology and genetics, and also trained and worked as an actress. She now combines her skills as a science communicator, broadcaster and educator.

 Her focus is on making science more accessible by explaining complex concepts in a fun and engaging way, and by inspiring more young people, especially girls, to study science.

Dr. Grossman's visit is made possible by an anonymous donation to the ZIS Annual Fund.

Middle & Upper School - Monday March 13, 2017

Scottish Mountaineer - Jamie Andrew

Jamie Andrew is a Scottish mountaineer and motivational speaker. Having lost four limbs in a climbing accident in 1999, his inspiring story of his recovery in the face of adversity is extraordinary. He has been at ZIS a number of years ago, and was most recently in Switzerland this past August when he climbed the Matterhorn.  Jamie is speaking to the Grade 8 students in the Middle School in the morning and the Upper School later in the day.

Middle & Upper School - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stephanie Inglis

Stephanie Inglis (2014 Commonwealth Games Judo silver medalist) will speak at the Upper School winter sports awards evening on Wednesday, March 15 and will also speak to Grade 7 and 8 during PE. classes. 

Upper School - December 11-14, 2016

Mindfulness Expert: Dr Philippe Goldin Ph. D

Dr. Philippe Goldin will be on the Upper School campus from 11-14 December.  This will be his third visit to ZIS. While here, he will lead a workshop with faculty across all campuses, work in classes and give presentations to all Upper School students, and present and work with the ZIS lnnovates research group that is examining approaches and strategies to incorporate wellness and mindfulness in our community.

Philippe will also give an open talk to all ZIS parents on Tuesday, 13 December starting at 18:30 in the Upper School Theatre.

On Wednesday morning, Philippe will be the keynote speaker for the Career Forum for the Grade 10 students.

Upper School - Monday November 21, 2016

Theory of Knowledge: Nicholas Alchin

On November 21 our students and staff had the opportunity to hear a talk by Nicholas Alchin. Mr. Alchin spoke on the topic of 'Perception' as pertains to Theory of Knowledge.

Mr. Alchin is a former chief examiner for Theory of Knowledge and author of Theory of Knowledge, a course text.  Originally from the UK, he has attended both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He has taught Mathematics in Switzerland at the International School of Geneva, and has also taught and been the head of a school in Mombasa, Kenya.  Currently the Upper School Principal of UWCSEA - East Campus in Singapore, he also teaches Theory of Knowledge and Mathematics. 

Lower School - Monday November 15-December 6

Makers Unite! Hands-on Information Sessions
Tuesdays, November 15, 22, 29 and December 6, 09:00-10:00, Learning Lounge

Heard about the terms "Maker", "Maker Movement" or "Makerspaces" and wondered what is it all about? This is your chance to find your answers. During our four session Makers Coffee Mornings Series with expert Elif Raskin, you will be learning about the ‘maker culture’ which embraces discovery, innovation, learning and creativity, and embodies the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Maths) learning model. You will have a chance to dig deep into the maker culture, its concepts, watch related videos, look into some of Harvard's Agency By Design Research, be a part of enriching discussions and, last but not least, you will be making things!

  • November 15 - Introduction to Maker Culture
  • November 22 - Stuff Making + Community Making + Self making
  • November 29 - Co-inspiration & Co-critique
  • December 6 -  Design Sensitivity  and Makerspaces

Middle School - November 18-19, 2016

Mask Workshop: Emma-Rose Payne

Trestle Mask Workshops for Grades 6 and 7 will be presented by guest speaker Emma-Rose Payne. She believes that masks have the potential to develop the whole performer in a fun, engaging and holistic way. She will teach students how to perform using masks. The workshops on November 19 will be followed by two "mini-performances" for ZIS families.

Middle School / Upper School - November 2-5, 2016

Improvisational Theater professionals:
Amy Shostak and Joleen Ballendine

Improvisation Theater Workshops for Grade 6-10 students will be led by Amy Shostak and Joleen Ballendine of Canada's Rapid Fire Theater. These professionals have been performing and teaching for over a decade. After the workshops, a live improvisation show will be presented on November 5, starring the ZIS Middle and Upper School students and the guest artists.

Upper School - September 27-October 4, 2016

Freedom from Chemical Dependency - Deirdre Flynn

FCD Prevention Works™ is the leading international nonprofit provider of school-based substance abuse prevention services. FCD works worldwide to provide students and the adults who care for them with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to make intelligent, healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
Senior Prevention Specialist and Regional Officer Deirdre Flynn spent time with students in Grades 9 and 10, Upper School faculty, and parents during her week-long visit at ZIS, building on work she has done with the school community over the past years. 

Upper School - October 4-6, 2016

Music Education Expert - Michael Griffin

Music Education expert Michael Griffin is a speaker, conductor, performer and author of Learning Strategies for Musical Success. He addresses and works with schools throughout the world. His subjects also include fostering intrinsic motivation and expert learning. Michael offered a variety of lectures to groups of students, parents, and faculty during his visit ZIS. He worked with music classes and Theory of Knowledge students, and offered two lunch lectures for faculty, staff and parents. Michael's visit was made possible by the ZIS Annual Fund, the theme of which this year is arts and creativity.

Lower School - May 11-13, 2016

Visiting Author - Diane Ferlatte

Diane Ferlatte is a storyteller from the Southern part of the US and is steeped in a passion to preserve the oral traditions she grew up with. While her stories have many African, Southern and African-American roots, her performances weave tales from many cultures with songs, acting and music. She has a repertoire of hundreds of folktales, fables, legends, historical and personal stories for all ages.

She will visit ZIS LS and ECC on May 11 to 13, 2016 and has been invited to connect with units of inquiry on global issues such as migration and sustainability.

Lower School and Middle School - Tuesday, April 5 & April 18-19, 2016

Visiting Author - Deborah Ellis

Lower School: April 5
MIddle School: April 18 and 19 

Deborah Ellis is an award-winning author, a feminist and a peace activist. Deborah penned the international bestseller The Breadwinner, as well as many challenging and beautiful works of fiction and non-fiction about children all over the world. Deborah is a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised. She “walks the talk,” donating most of her royalty income to worthy causes — Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Street Kids International, the Children in Crisis Fund of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) and UNICEF (

She will be visiting Grade 4 and Grade 5 on April 20, 2016 to connect with units of inquiry on global issues such as migration and sustainability.

She will also be visiting the Middle School on April 18 and 19, 2016. Her presentations will tie in appropriately with the Grade 8 Global Issues unit, and will complement several themes studied in the Grade 7 English and Social Studies classes.

Lower School - Friday March 18, 2016

Learning from the Brain’s Perspective
Speaker: Andy Habermacher

Some researchers have claimed that teachers use of neuroscience is more damaging than helpful! There are some uncomfortable truths in this - Andy Habermacher will bust some myths and give some insight into how the brain develops, where genetics beats nurture and were nurture beats genetics and what this means for classroom learning.

Andy Habermacher will take us on a journey through the brain, how it develops and what this means for you and your children. He will bust some of the persistent myths and give you plenty of food for thought on how to keep your and your child’s brains active, healthy, stimulated and to reach its full potential.

Upper School Theater - Wednesday, March 2 18:30-20:00, 2016

The Math Our Children Need to Thrive in the Future and the Math We Need to Make Commonplace in Our Daily Lives

Dr. Steven Leinwand

Join us as we welcome inspirational speaker, author and internationally recognized mathematics leader, Dr. Steven Leinwand to the Upper School on Wednesday, March 2 for a special evening designed for Middle School and Upper School parents. The world is changing, the need for mathematical understanding is increasing rapidly and therefore, how we teach mathematics to our teenagers must change as well.  Dr. Leinwand will explore a wide range of examples of what best serves our children - both in school and at home - and how the ability to apply mathematics and see mathematics everywhere is more important than ever. 

Dr. Leinwand has over 35 years of experience as a leader in mathematics education. He is currently a Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C., where he supports a range of mathematics education initiatives and research. Steve served as Mathematics Supervisor in the Connecticut Department of Education for twenty two years and is a former president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. Steve Leinwand is the author of several mathematics textbooks, numerous articles as well as the bestselling books Accessible Mathematics: Ten Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement and of Sensible Mathematics: A Guide for School Leaders in the Era of Common Core State Standards. 

Upper School - Tuesday March 1 - 7, 2016

Faculty Workshops - Project Based Learning: Suzie Boss

We are pleased to welcome back Suzie Boss to ZIS. Suzie will be working with faculty and staff during the first week of March focusing on deepening enquiry and project based learning. 

Ms. Boss focuses on the power of teaching and learning to improve lives and transform communities. She is the author of Bringing Innovation to School: Empowering Students to Thrive in a Changing World and co-author of Reinventing Project-Based Learning and Thinking Through Project-Based Learning. She is a regular contributor to Edutopia and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and a member of the Buck Institute for Education National Faculty.

ECC & Lower School - Friday, March 18, 2016

Irish Storyteller Niall de Burca

Irish storyteller, Niall de Burca will join us at the villa for a morning of storytelling.  He's a favorite among the children, full of energy and wonderful tales from Ireland.  While here, he will also work together with our ECC students and Secondary School students to help them develop their stories for our end of year Performing Arts show.  This is an ongoing collaborative project involving students from both campuses.  Niall will help our oldest students guide the youngest as they imagine the world inside Monet's garden. Later in the day, he'll perform for students in the Lower School.

Lower School - Monday February 29, 2016

Artist in Residence Stuart Stotts

Stuart will be talking about the importance of Kindness and Mindfulness for children. Stuart's presentations are relevant, fun and engaging for all. Our teachers walked away with many strategies and deep thoughts to enhance learning by focusing on conscious interaction between us as human beings.

Stuart Stotts is an author, storyteller, educator, and songwriter. He’s sung with and performed for kids and families in schools, libraries, and community settings around the world since 1984. Stuart is a Kennedy Center teaching artist and a frequent presenter at educational events, keynoting conferences and leading workshops for early childhood and elementary school teachers, librarians, and social service professionals around the country.

Guest Speakers

Lower School & ECC

March 7, 2017 - Christy Curran
Writing Workshop 

March 9, 2017 - Dr. Emily Grossman

November 14, 2016 - Christy Curran

November 15-December 6, 2016 - Elif Raskin

MIddle School

March 15, 2017 - Stephanie Inglis

March 13, 2017 - Jamie Andrew

March 9, 2017 - Dr. Emily Grossman

November 2-5, 2016 - Amy Shostak and Joleen Ballendine

November 18-19, 2016 - Emma-Rose Payne

Upper School

March 8, 2017 - Emma Pooley
International Women's Day 

March 8, 2017 - Emma Tabi Haller-Jorden
International Women's Day 

March 15, 2017 - Stephanie Inglis

March 13, 2017 - Jamie Andrew

March 8, 2017 - Dr. Emily Grossman

December 11-14 - Dr Phillippe Goldin Ph.d

October 2-6, 2016 - Michael Griffin

About Us

With more than 1,450 students at four unique campuses, ZIS offers an extensive educational program with all the benefits of size but the intimacy of smaller settings.



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