Skip To Main Content

Every year, VMS invites prominent educational experts from around the country to speak to our VMS and the greater Eagle County community. We are thrilled to announce the 2022 - 2023 Speaker Series.

David Yeager
Grit & Persistence: Where Grit Meets Mindset
November 3, 2022 
5:30 - 7 pm

To achieve, we need more than inborn ability—we need the motivation to persist when life is hard. David Yeager is a leading expert in the psychology of persistence. He studies the growth mindset (the belief that we can change, adapt, and progress), the ways students and adults feel like they belong and are respected, and how to overcome setbacks and continue to improve.

David Yeager's Bio:

David Yeager is an experimental development psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. In his academic research, he examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent health problems, such as bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, or healthy eating. He often focuses on adolescent transitions—the transition to middle school, the transition to high school, or the transition to college—as a place where there is great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories. Formerly, Yeager was a middle school English teacher and a K-8 PE coach for a school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he also ran the after-school book club and coached basketball. Yeager was the subject of a major New York Times Magazine article (“Who Gets to Graduate?”) by education speaker Paul Tough, in which he was named “one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of education.” He has co-authored work on grit and grit-testing with Angela Duckworth, and on growth mindset with Carol Dweck. He chaired and co-hosted a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, which led to the launch and co-chairing of the “Mindset Scholars Network,” an interdisciplinary research network housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), where he was a fellow. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe AtlanticScientific AmericanThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and more. Yeager holds a PhD and MA from Stanford University, and a BA and MEd from the University of Notre Dame. He is a William T. Grant Foundation scholar, a Faculty Research Associate at the UT Population Research Center, and was formerly a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching . His research has earned awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Research on Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, the APA Science Directorate, and the International Society for Research on Aggression. He is a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group and the New Paths to Purpose network at the University of Chicago.

mountain icon

Pete McBride
Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places
November 29, 2022 
12:30 - 1:30 pm

In a world ever more congested and polluted with both toxins and noise, award-winning photographer Pete McBride takes readers on a once-in-a-lifetime escape to find places of peace and quiet—a pole-to-pole, continent-by-continent quest for the soul.

We tend to think of silence as the absence of sound, but it is actually the void where we can hear the sublime notes of nature. In this National Outdoor Book Award winning work, photographer Pete McBride reveals the wonders of these hushed places in spectacular imagery—from the thin-air flanks of Mount Everest to the depths of the Grand Canyon, from the high-altitude vistas of the Atacama to the African savannah, and from the Antarctic Peninsula to the flowing waters of the Ganges and Nile.

These places remind us of the magic of being “truly away” and how such places are vanishing. Often showing beauty from vantages where no other photographer has ever stood, this is a seven-continent visual tour of global quietude—and the power in nature’s own sounds—that will both inspire and calm.

VMS is proud to bring Pete McBride, world-renowned cinematographer, photographer, photo-journalist, author, and water-warrior to our school on Tuesday, Nov. 29th. Pete McBride is a Colorado native from the Roaring Fork Valley who has traveled the world with his camera, documenting water, people, landscapes, and the human condition. He has recently published a new book, Seeing Silence, that captures "the beauty of the world's most quiet places."

Pete is going to be meeting with a number of different classes throughout the day including MS and US photography, AP Studio Art, Rivers & Literature, AP Biology, and AP Environmental Science. And the highlight of the day will be an hour long presentation to our entire Upper School including a Q&A session from 12:30-1:30. 

Parents, please feel free to join us for this presentation in the Theater from 12:30-1:30. 



mountain icon

Hillary Allen
Out and Back
Tuesday, December 6 - 5:30 PM


Book Summary:
In 2017, world-class ultrarunner Hillary Allen was ranked #1 in the world sky running series when she fell 150 feet off a mountain ridge, breaking multiple bones and suffering a life-altering blow to her body and athletic career. Out and Back recounts Allen's fight to rehabilitate her body, rebuild her belief in herself, and return to the life and sport she loves.

Ultramarathon runner and North Face-sponsored athlete Hillary Athlete felt like she was on top of the world in 2017 as she competed in Norway's Tromsø Skyrace. Then, nearly halfway through the 50-kilometer race, Allen fell 150 feet off an exposed cliff ridge, fracturing her back and breaking multiple ribs, both feet, and both of her lower arms. Beginning with the dramatic story of her nearly-fatal accident and remarkable rescue, Out and Back chronicles Allen's incredible road to recovery and how she navigated the physical and mental health hurdles along the way.

With vulnerability that reveals remarkable courage, Allen's memoir is a powerful reminder that no matter what setbacks you face in life—injuries, break-ups, job losses, rejections—you have strength inside that you never knew existed. Out and Back is an amazing story of resilience that shows how someone can nearly lose everything and then work hard to heal and come out stronger on the other side. Today, Allen sees her 150-feet fall not as an accident, but as a moment of enlightenment that allowed her to reevaluate her entire life, see the beauty and importance of community, and fall back in love with nature and the reasons she started running in the first place.

Allen's story teaches you that the path forward is not always linear, that healing takes time, and that the process of rediscovery is ongoing as you reach within and find what it takes to survive—and thrive. Out and Back is an inspiring read for anyone who wants to bet big on themselves, learn how to live fearlessly, and build the courage to reclaim your life, one day at a time.

Hillary's Bio:
Hillary Allen is from Fort Collins, Colorado. She grew up in an outdoorsy and scientific family who not only encouraged her to pursue a career in science but also in sport. She earned a master's degree in neuroscience and physiology and structural biology from the University of Colorado. During her graduate studies, Hillary also discovered trail running and ultra-running. Her passion for the outdoors quickly led to success on the trails where she became a sponsored mountain runner for The North Face. Along with her professional running and racing career, Hillary also teaches chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology part-time at a small college outside of Boulder, Colorado. She also coaches other runners, again using her love of athletics and her physiology background.

mountain icon

 Becky Munsterer Sabky
Tuesday, January 10 - 5:30 PM


Book Summary:
We all know college admission is highly fraught for students and parents; just ask any of the famous and well-off parents, or their teens, caught up in the 2019 Varsity Blues scandal. VALEDICTORIANS AT THE GATE: Standing Out, Getting In, and Staying Sane While Applying to Colleges (Henry Holt & Co.; August 3, 2021; 978-1-2506-1903-7; 240pp.) explores that process of who gets in and who doesn't and why, based on Becky Munsterer Sabky's 13 years of personal experiences at Dartmouth as an admissions director. The book is a must-have guide for parents and students, offering her insider perspective on an admissions process gone mad.

Broken into three parts: "The Search," "The Application," and "The Decision," VALEDICTORIANS AT THE GATE illuminates hard-learned lessons from behind the battle lines of Ivy League admissions (Do not write your essay about Hermione Granger; do write about your summer spent mowing park district lawns) with wonderful anecdotes and stories that bring out the human in humanities. This is the book that not only demystifies the application process, it humanizes it and places the control firmly in the student and their families' hands. And more importantly, it explains the vital keys any school is looking for to complete "the pool"—shorthand for how the applicant, as an admitted student, will enhance the college vs. what the college will do for the student.

Becky herself was rejected from Dartmouth as a student applicant, and maintains that it's one of the best things that ever happened to her. In the chapter that examines what to do, and not do while on the waitlist for your dream school, Sabky recalls an interaction with a disgruntled father who called her saying, "You can't do this to my little Katie. You have to let her in. She'll have to go to Colby," to which Becky flatly replies, "I went to Colby. I would love to speak to your daughter about how wonderful of an opportunity the school will be for her if you'd only let the applicant speak to me herself."

Sabky got the idea to write VALEDICTORIANS AT THE GATE after her essay about the most memorable college recommendation she received went viral in the New York Times. No, it wasn't the rec from Michelle Obama or Spielberg. It was a high school janitor touting the applicant's caring and compassion that got him through the admissions gate.

Becky's Bio:

Becky Munsterer Sabky is a former director of international admissions at Dartmouth College. She’s a graduate of Colby College and received her master of arts in liberal studies degree from Dartmouth. Based in Vermont, she is also an award-winning monthly newspaper columnist, a blogger, and the author of a children’s books series entitled The Little Rippers.

mountain icon

Carlotta Walls LaNier
A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
March 9, 2023, 5 PM

A key protagonist in one of the most gripping watershed moments of the Civil Rights Movement, Carlotta Walls LaNier will share her journey of the “Little Rock Nine” who led the nation on a turbulent path that challenged prevailing attitudes, broke down barriers, and forever changed the landscape of America. She is the author of A Mighty Way Home: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. Her talk will reflect on the history and current state of civil rights, race, and diversity. Ms. LaNier will speak with students and faculty during the day and with parents in the evening.

Carlotta Walls Bio:

In 1957, fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School. She and eight other Black students faced angry mobs, racist elected officials, and federal intervention by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was forced to send in the 101st Airborne to escort the Nine safely into the building. Little did she realize that day that this was the beginning of a journey that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the social landscape of America. Overcoming her initial need to forget her turbulent past, Carlotta Walls LaNier has told her dramatic story for the first time in A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. As the youngest of the Little Rock Nine and piece of living legacy, Ms. LaNier connects and encourages her audience, whether in-person or virtually, to pay attention to the lessons of history and to stay vigilant in fighting for equality. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier has spoken all over the country at colleges and universities, women’s and African American organizations, libraries and civic groups.

After graduating from Little Rock Central High School in 1960, Carlotta Walls attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College—now the University of Northern Colorado, which has awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and on whose board of trustees she sits. In addition to receiving the Congressional Gold Medal and the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier is an inductee in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Girl Scouts Women of Distinction and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, created to promote equality of opportunity for all, particularly in the field of education. Carlotta Walls LaNier is the author if A Mighty Long Way, My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. She is the Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, and National Women's Hall of Fame inductee.

Speaker Series