Several times a year, St. Anne's-Belfield School hosts innovators and visionaries from around the world as part of our Inspiration Speaks series. Challenging and inspiring, these speakers bring myriad ideas to the School and local community and encourage discourse on a variety of topics related to teaching, learning, education, and growth.
Carla Williams was named the University of Virginia's director of athletics in 2017, becoming the first female African-American athletics director at a Power Five conference institution. Previously, Williams served as an athletics administrator at the University of Georgia for 13 years. She has the unique background of competing, coaching, and administering at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics. Learn more
Danielle Feinberg began her career at Pixar Animation Studios in February 1997. As she worked her way from an entry level, technical job to one of the top creative positions, she crewed many of Pixar’s feature films including Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Feinberg rose to be the director of photography for lighting on Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning films WALL•E, Brave, and Coco.
Feinberg’s love of combining computers and art began she was eight years old and first programmed a Logo turtle to create images. This eventually led her to a degree in computer science from Harvard University. In addition to her Pixar work, she works with teenage girls, encouraging them to pursue code, math and science by demonstrating to them this same magic found by combining art and technology. Learn more
Julie Lythcott-HaimsA former corporate lawyer and university dean, Julie Lythcott-Haims now works primarily as a writer and speaker who shifts observation, beliefs, and knowledge into compassion and concern, and then translates those feelings into words she hopes will interact with the ear, eye, and soul in some kind of meaningful way. As she continues to hone her own voice, she continues also to be concerned with each of us finding our own voice and honoring it, and in the obstacles that can get in the way. Lythcott-Haims' first book, the New York Times bestselling How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success emerged from her decade as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen, where she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and received Stanford’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for creating "the" atmosphere that defines the undergraduate experience at Stanford. Learn more
Erika Christakis is an early childhood educator and author of The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups. Formerly on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center, she has written and consulted widely about child development from preschool through the college years, drawing on her experiences as a teacher, Pre-School director, and college administrator. Her work has been featured in media such as The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Salon, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal, and for two years she wrote a column for TIME.com. Learn more
Dr. Madeline Levine
Dr. Madeline Levine is a psychologist with over 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, and educator. Her book The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems. Backed by cutting edge research, Levine proposes solutions that are both practical and credible. Learn More
Dr. Sugata MitraDr. Mitra's work is at the forefront of a new approach to education which challenges how we teach children in the technological age.
Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, UK and previously a Visiting Professor at MIT, Dr. Mitra is currently working on the School in the Cloud, which is the culmination of over a decade of research and observations from all over the world. His “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. His recent pioneering study found that use of the Internet can allow eight- and nine-year-olds to perform at more than seven years above their expected academic level. Learn More
Dr. Gene BatisteDr. Batiste has over 20 years’ experience providing presentations and training in the area of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, and trust development to independent schools, state and regional associations of independent schools, and corporations both in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Batiste has also served as the Vice President of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), during which time he co-edited The Head’s Handbook: A Guide for Aspiring, New, and Experienced Heads of School (2011) and edited Diversity Work in Independent Schools: The Practice and the Practitioner (2013). He focuses on supporting the visualization and realization of building and sustaining diverse, inclusive, and equitable independent school communities. Learn More