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.

March 16-20, 2019

Youth STEAM Speaker - Kari Lawler

Kari Lawler, youth STEAM speaker

Kari will spend five days at ZIS, from March 16 to 20, working with student groups on all campuses and speaking at the TEDx Youth@Zurich event at the Upper School on March 16. Her visit is sponsored by the ZIS Annual Fund.

Kari was accepted onto the City of Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubator at just 14 years old, where she became the youngest ever start-up entrepreneur on the Innovation Birmingham campus. Now, at 15 years old, she helps start-ups and small enterprises understand and deploy artificial intelligence within their businesses, through education, development and training.

In May 2018 she founded Youth4AI, an Artificial Intelligence Youth Program with the sole aim to encourage more young people to explore and understand the world of AI.

Kari has received multiple awards, including the coveted UK Space Agency SatelLife challenge ‘18, for her AI proposal. She was named one of 10 top teen female tech talents in the UK through the InspiringJuniors UK competition. Recently, she became the youngest ever nominee and winner of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Future Face 2018 award for Technology & Innovation.


Upper School - September 20-21, 2018

Playwright, Rohina Malik and Musician Aliya Cycon

Rohina Malik

Playwright Rohina Malik and musician Aliya Cycon will visit the Upper School on September 20 and 21, working with students in some theater, music and theory of knowledge classes. 

On Friday, September 21 they will perform Rohina's piece, Unveiled, at 19:00 in the Upper School theater.







Lower School - May 16-18, 2018

Educational Consultant, Kath Murdoch

Kath Murdoch, Educational ConsultantKath Murdoch is an experienced teacher, author, university lecturer and popular consultant who has worked for many years in schools throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, America and Europe. She is widely respected for her work in the field of inquiry based learning and integrative curriculum in which she has taught, researched and published for well over 20 years.

In support of our school's primary pedagogical stance of guided inquiry, we are privileged to have Kath Murdoch here to work with us. Kath will be working with homeroom teaching teams on planning for upcoming ‘Unit Units’.

Kath also visited and worked with Faculty in November 2017.

Lower School - December 4 and 5, 2017

Visiting Author, M G Leonard

M G Leonard, Visiting AuthorOn Monday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 5 the library will be hosting visiting author M.G. Leonard, the author of “Beetle Boy”, one of this year’s Golden Cowbell nominees.

Ms. Leonard will be presenting to students in Grades 1 to 5 and children will also have the opportunity to purchase books and have them signed by her. If your child wants the book signed, the signing will take place in the library on Tuesday, December 5 during your child's lunchtime. Her books are most suitable for children Grades 3 to 5. Please see this form.


Lower School - 7 November, 2017

Sensory Integration Specialist Melanne Randall

Melanne Randall, Sensory Integration SpecialistMelanne Randall, a Sensory Integration specialist, ran a parent workshop for all Lower School and ECC parents in Wadenswil on November 7, 2017. Melanne spent the whole week at ZIS working at all campuses to help everyone better understand the importance of identifying sensory needs in children and young adults and the impact it has on student learning. Melanne is a world recognised specialist and presenter on Sensory Needs and we were excited to have her share her expertise with ZIS community.

October 2, 2017

Visiting Author, Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman, visiting author

Author, Neal Shusterman visited the Upper and Middle School and spoke to faculty and worked with young readers and writers at both campuses. National Book Award author, Neal Shusterman has published over 30 novels. Shusterman, a native New Yorker that graduated from the University of California, has received numerous honors for his books including the National book Award for Young People's Literature and the Golden Kite award for fiction.

September 30, 2017

Dr Lynn Erickson

Dr Lynn EricksonDr Lynn Erickson, the author of "Concept-Based Curriculum" led a workshop at ZIS during the weekend of 30 September. Dr. Lynn Erickson is a private consultant assisting schools and districts around the world with curriculum design and instruction. During the past twenty two years she has worked extensively with K-12 teachers and administrators nationally and internationally on the design of Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction.

May 15-19, 2017

Executive Director Emeritus, National Science Teachers Association Dr. Gerald Wheeler

Dr Gerald Wheeler

Dr. Gerald Wheeler worked with teachers in support of implementing the NGSS Science standards.

Gerald is the Executive Director Emeritus of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world’s largest professional organization representing science educators of all grade levels. During his tenure at NSTA he oversaw the creation of several science education initiatives and resources aimed at strengthening the quality of science teaching and learning.

Upper School - March 31, 2017

Pianist Elisabeth Brauss

Elisabeth Brauss, Pianist

In conjunction with the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich's youth concert series, German pianist Elisabeth Brauss played 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 previewed some of the works that she will later performed at the Tonhalle.

Upper School - Wednesday March 8, 2017

Professional Multi-Sport Athlete Emma Pooley

Emma Pooley, Professional AtheleteEmma Pooley spoke 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 Tabi Haller-JordenEleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden spoke 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 Emily Grossman, Science ExpertDr. Emily Grossmanwill spoke at the Upper, Middle and Lower Schools

An expert in molecular biology and genetics, who 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.

Upper School - December 11-14, 2016

Mindfulness Expert: Dr Philippe Goldin Ph. D

Dr Philippe Goldin, Mindfulness ExpertThis was Dr. Philippe Goldin's third visit to ZIS. While here, he led a workshop with faculty across all campuses, worked in classes and gave presentations to Upper School students, and presented and worked with the ZIS lnnovates research group that is examining approaches and strategies to incorporate wellness and mindfulness in our community.

He also gave a talk to parents and was the keynote speaker for the Career Forum for the Grade 10 students.

Upper School - Monday November 21, 2016

Theory of Knowledge expert Nicholas Alchin

Nicholas Alchin, Theory of knowledge expert

Nicholas Alchin spoke to students and staff on the topic of 'Perception' as pertains to Theory of Knowledge.

A former chief examiner for Theory of Knowledge and author of Theory of Knowledge, a course text, he 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 - November 14, 2016

Writing consultant Christy Currran

Christy Curran, Writing ConsultantChristy Curran, who held a parent cafe on writing, 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's visit was sponsored by the ZIS Annual Fund.

Lower School - Monday November 15-December 6, 2016

Makers Unite! Hands-on Information Sessions

During four Makers Coffee Mornings Series sessions with expert Elif Raskin, parents learned about the ‘maker culture’ which embraces discovery, innovation, learning and creativity, and embodies the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Maths) learning model.

Middle School - November 18-19, 2016

Mask Workshop: Emma-Rose Payne

Emma-Rose PayneGrade 6 and 7 students took part in a mask workshop with Emma-Rose Payne. She believes that masks have the potential to develop the whole performer in a fun, engaging and holistic way. Students learned how to perform wearing masks and then performed to ZIS families.

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

Improvisational Theater professionals Amy Shostak and Joleen Ballendine

Grade 6-10 students took part in workshops 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, the students and guest artists presented a live improvisation show.

Upper School - September 27-October 4, 2016

Freedom from Chemical Dependency Officer Deirdre Flynn

Dierdre 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

MIchael Griffin, Music Education ExpertMusic 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, Visiting AuthorDiane Ferlatte is a storyteller from the southern part of the US with 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. Students in the Lower School and Early Childhood Center enjoyed her presentations, which helped connect 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

Deborah Ellis, Visiting Author

Deborah Ellis is an award-winning author, a feminist and a peace activist who wrote 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 helped Grade 4 and 5 to connect with units of inquiry on global issues such as migration and sustainability, and also visited the Middle School where her presentations complemented the Grade 8 Global Issues unit and 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

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

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

Math Consultant Dr. Steven Leinwand

Dr Steven Leinwand, Math ConsultantInspirational speaker, author and internationally recognized mathematics leader, Dr. Steven Leinwand explored 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 during a presentation to Upper and Middle School parents.

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

Project Based Learning expert Suzie Boss

Dr Susie Boss, Project Based Learning ExpertSuzie Boss focused on deepening enquiry and project based learning when she worked with faculty.

Focusing 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

Niall de Burca, StorytellerIrish storyteller Niall de Burca together with our Early Childhood Center and Upper School students to help them develop their stories for our end of year performing arts show, an ongoing collaborative project involving students from both campuses. Niall will helped our oldest students guide the youngest as they imagined the world inside Monet's garden. He also performed for students in the Lower School and held a morning of storytelling at the ECC.

Lower School - Monday February 29, 2016

Artist in Residence Stuart Stotts

Stuart Stotts

Author, storyteller, educator, and songwriterStuart Stotts talked about the importance of kindness and Mindfulness for children with our teachers, helping them with many strategies and deep thoughts to enhance learning by focusing on conscious interaction between us as human beings.

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.

Guest Speakers

Lower School & ECC

October 8, 2018 - Will Richardson

Middle School

October 2, 2017 - Neal Shusterman

March 9, 2017 - Dr. Emily Grossman

Upper School

September 20-21, 2018 - Rohina Malik and Aliya Cycon