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Every year, VMS invites prominent educational experts from around the country to speak to our VMS and greater Eagle County community. We are thrilled to announce the 2021 - 2022 VMS Speaker Series.

Michael Thompson
Virtual Parent Presentation: Parental Hopes and Fears: How to Talk to Your Child’s Teachers
October 6, 6 PM
Zoom Link

Michael Thompson, a frequent VMS speaker and the author of nine books, returns virtually to VMS for a parent presentation. No registration is required.

Michael Thompson Bio:
Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author, and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

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Susan Reynolds
Parent Presentation: Responsible Technology Use for Teens & Adults
October 28, 5:30 PM

Susan Reynolds, co-founder of Look Up Live, will speak to the VMS community and greater Vail Valley community at VMS. Her presentation will focus on responsible technology use for teens and adults. Susan will work with Middle and Upper School students earlier in the day. Susan will then return to campus in January 2022 to continue the conversation with our students and examine our own technology use policy.
Susan Reynold's Bio:
Susan has over 20 years of experience in digital well-being, mindfulness, and youth leadership, through multiple roles as an educator and director of academic technology, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and social entrepreneur.

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Joshua Coombes
Student Presentation to Upper and Middle School Students
December 2, 2021
Time: 12:25 presentation to Upper School students. Parents are welcome to attend in person or via live stream: Zoom Link

Joshua Coombes, founder of Do Something for Nothing and author of the Book Do Something for Nothing: Seeing Beneath the Surface of Homelessness, through the Simple Act of a Haircut, will visit VMS on December 2. Mr. Coombes will speak with MS and US students. Parent are welcome to attend the Upper School session at 12:25 in the Peter Abuisi Theater. This presentation will also be live streamed HERE. He will also speak with the US Leadership Board in the evening.

Joshua's Bio
Joshua Coombes is a British hairstylist and founder of #DoSomethingForNothing―a movement encouraging people to connect their skills and time to those who need it. When Coombes launched the project in 2015, his intention was to positively impact people’s lives by offering free haircuts to those experiencing homelessness. By posting transformative images on Instagram, his platform continues to grow as he amplifies the stories of many that go unheard. Coombes’s mission caught the attention of media outlets in Europe and has rippled worldwide. Coverage includes appearing in National Geographic's new series The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, released on Netflix internationally. Today, Coombes continues his efforts in new countries, humanizing this issue globally. He currently resides in London, UK. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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Ron Lieber
December 6, 5 PM
Parent Presentation: Paying For College

Ron Lieber, author of The Price You Pay for College, will present in-person to parents. His discussion will focus on his book and the cost of college as well as funding trends.
Ron Lieber’s Bio:
Ron Lieber, who lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and two daughters, has been the Your Money columnist for The New York Times since 2008. His most recent book is "The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make," and he also published "The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money" in 2015. Both were instant New York Times bestsellers.

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Jim Davidson
Book Fair Speaker
Upper School and Parent Presentation
Tuesday, December 7, 12:25 PM

Jim Davidson is an author and inspirational speaker. Suspenseful and engrossing, The Next Everest portrays the experience of living through the biggest disaster to ever hit the mountain. Davidson's background in geology and environmental science makes him uniquely qualified to explain why the seismic threats lurking beneath Nepal are even greater today. But this story is not about “conquering” the world’s highest peak. Instead, it reveals how embracing change, challenge, and uncertainty prepares anyone to face their next “Everest” in life.

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Carol Johnson, Speak Up Reach Out
How To Help Your Child Save A Life - Virtual Parent Presentation
Wednesday, January 5, 5:00 PM

Helping Your Child Save a Life is a one-hour suicide prevention training to help parents/guardians recognize warning signs and respond when your child has concerns about themselves or a friend. RSVP HERE. Click HERE for more information.

Andre Bradford
January 26

Andre Bradford is a speaking word poet and will meet with US students as follows:

  • Kintsukuroi Slam Poetry Empathy Show: US students performance in theater
  • Slam Poetry Writing Workshop: 9th grade students in library
  • Empathy Deep Dive Workshop: US student leadership board

Andre Bradford's Bio:
Andre started doing live performances at the age of 15 through his high school theatre program. He went on to study acting at the USC School of Theatre and after he graduated moved to Austin. There, in 2014, he found his voice through Slam Poetry. He has performed his poetry at schools, universities, and venues in 27 different states for thousands of people. Andre is a two-time Austin Poetry Slam Champion, a three-time Texas Grand Slam Finalist, and a National Group Piece Champion.

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Shafia Zaloom
March 10

Shafia Zaloom will speak with Middle and Upper School students about healthy sexuality. Shafia is an author and educator at the Urban School in San Francisco. 

Shafia Zaloom's Bio:
Shafia Zaloom is a health educator, parent, consultant and author whose work centers on human development, community building, ethics, and social justice. Her approach involves creating opportunities for students and teachers to discuss the complexities of teen culture and decision-making with straight-forward, open and honest dialogue. Shafia has worked with thousands of children and their families in her role as teacher, coach, administrator, board member, and outdoor educator. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous parenting blogs. Shafia’s book, Sex, Teens and Everything in Between has been reviewed as “the ultimate relationship guide for teens of all orientations and identities.” It is one that “every teen, and every parent and educator - and every other adult who interacts with teens - should read.” Shafia is currently the health teacher at the Urban School in San Francisco, and develops curricula and trainings for schools across the country. She was honored by the San Francisco Giants Foundation in 2018 for her work with Aim High, a program that expands opportunities for students  and their teachers through tuition-free summer learning enrichment, and was recently granted CAHPERD’s Health Teacher of the Year Award for 2021. Her work has been featured by many media outlets including, The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, KQED, and PBS.

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Speak Up Reach Out

Speak Up Reach Out is a suicide prevention curriculum for students in grades 5 -12 that is ongoing throughout the 2021- 2022 school year.

Speaker Series