The Education Speaker Series (ESS) returns for the 2021-2022 school year with an exciting mix of programs related to raising healthy children and young adults and promoting collaboration between parents and educators.

This year’s program will be a combination of virtual and in-person events. At this time, all events are via Zoom. Unless noted otherwise, all programs will begin at 7:30 pm.

A series membership, for all 6 events is $125 per person. Individual tickets are now available for advance purchase at $30.

To purchase your ticket, visit

September 28, 2021, 7:30 – 8:30 pm
Christine Carter, Ph.D

Join us for a conversation and Q&A between sociologist Dr. Christine Carter, author of The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction, and Principal Shannon Fierro of Millennium High School. Dr. Carter and Principal Fierro will discuss how our experience of parenting can dramatically change (for the better!) during adolescence, as well as the three key skills today’s kids need –and how parents can instill them.

In this interactive virtual event, you’ll find practical guidance for providing the support and structure kids need, helping them overcome the distractions that hinder learning, and guidance for protecting them from anxiety, isolation, and depression.

October 12, 2021
Allison Briscoe-Smith, Ph.D

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is a child psychologist who specializes in exactly this question. The urgency and frequency of the requests she’s getting from parents to address this question are unparalleled in her career.  From “How can I be anti-racist?” to “How do I explain what’s going on to my child?” the questions are important and daunting. Perhaps more important than her role as a child psychologist is her role as a mother of three Black, mixed-race children. She, too, is seeking the very same answers. The good news is that there are many wonderful resources. Tons of ways of learning, engaging and getting help. But- we are all suffering from resource overload as well. Dr. Briscoe-Smith will try to unravel it for you.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University.  She then received her clinical psychology Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley. She then went on to continue her specialization in trauma and ethnic minority mental health through internship and postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital.  She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.  Much of her work has been with schools, as a clinician, consultant, and trainer.  Currently, she is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute where she is a professor. She provides consultation and training to bay area nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

November 2, 2021
Ron Lieber, New York Times Money Columnist

Who pays what and why for college, and how did the discounting system — merit aid in particular — become so confusing and opaque? And once we figure out what it might actually cost, how do we figure out which experiences are worth paying for? Ron Lieber has spent many years in the trenches doing consumer and personal finance reporting for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and in this talk, he’ll introduce you to the pointed questions he’s been asking of our nation’s undergraduate institutions — and help you figure out answers that fit your own family.

Ron Lieber is the author of The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, which was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller when it was released in 2015. “The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Roadmap for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make,” was published by HarperCollins in January 2021.

January 25, 2022
Mike Robbins, author and leadership expert

Change and challenge are inevitable, especially in today’s world and while raising kids. The one constant in the midst of all of the change, stress, and uncertainty we face at work, in our families, and in life in general, is us. When we take ownership and responsibility for our experience, we not only make it easier to navigate the changes we face, we can empower ourselves and those around us to be successful, regardless of the circumstances.  One of the most powerful things we can do as parents, leaders, and human beings is to tap into the power of appreciation and gratitude.  In this interactive program, Mike will teach you some specific techniques for bringing more gratitude and appreciation in your relationships, family, teams, and life, even when things are challenging.

Mike Robbins is the author of five books, Focus on the Good StuffBe Yourself Everyone Else is Already TakenNothing Changes Until You Do, and, Bring Your Whole Self to Work, which have been translated into fifteen different languages.  His fifth book, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging, came out in 2020. Mike is an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence.

March 1, 2022
Natasha Singh, Sexual Literacy Educator

Sexual literacy educator Natasha Singh (M.Ed) will share effective frameworks and strategies that can help parents open up the lines of communication about sexuality and keep them open. Topics addressed will include how to talk to your child about sexual ethics, consent, pleasure, pornography, agency, gender, and decision-making.

Natasha Singh has worked in education for over twenty years and holds a few degrees, including an M.Ed. in Human Sexuality. She has taught at Rutgers University, the Collegiate School for Boys, and the Branson School before embarking on the kind of teaching she felt students really needed: the kind that could foster sexual ethics and sexual citizenship. When not teaching,  Ms. Singh is deeply involved in communities and organizations striving to foster a world free of violence and injustice. She co-chaired the Board of Center for Domestic Peace, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence in Marin and beyond.

April 28, 2022 – Please note: lunchtime seminar from 12 – 1 pm over Zoom
Lisa Damour, Ph.D

Lisa Damour, Ph.D., the New York Times bestselling author of Untangled, returns with an urgently needed guide to the alarming increase in anxiety and stress experienced by children from elementary school through college and beyond. Dr. Damour details the many facets of children’s lives where tension takes hold and offers critical coping strategies that will help parents reduce their children’s anxiety.

Lisa Damour is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. She writes the monthly Adolescence column for the New York Times, co-hosts the Ask Lisa podcast, appears as a regular contributor to CBS News, works in collaboration with UNICEF, and serves on the Advisory Board for Parents magazine. Dr. Damour also maintains a private practice and consults and speaks internationally.