The Savannah Country Day School

Service Through Knowledge and Character
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Have you ever wanted to take a class from one of your children's teachers? Have you ever wanted to get back into the classroom simply to learn (and not for a grade)? Join us on Wednesdays in January and February for FACULTY EXPLORATIONS, a faculty speaker series featuring Upper School teachers who will explore different topics—based on their areas of expertise—with parents, alumni and others in our community. All seminars are free and open to the public. See you back in the classroom...

For detailed descriptions of each seminar and the faculty presenter, please see below. TO REGISTER FOR A SEMINAR, CLICK HERE.

List of 5 items.

  • Kevin Gavin

    Wednesday, January 29: Why you should go to Rome. (or Why You Should Go Back If You’ve Already Been) (Kevin Gavin)

    7:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Livingston 9 * new location
    Overview: Rome, as they say, is an education. The deeper one goes, the more rewarding the results. It has been sacked numerous times; it has fallen into ruins; it has been reborn. And through it all it has been celebrated--and imitated--like no other place on earth. A trip to the Eternal City makes a specific kind of demand on the traveler: in order to be fully enjoyed Rome has to be explored from beneath its surface, both historically and often quite literally. In a fast-paced, visually-based presentation, we will consider the many levels of art and architecture that make up Rome's profound and unparalleled story. My intended audience is both first-time and repeat travelers, or anyone with an interest in the subject.

    Instructor: Kevin Gavin has taught Latin at Savannah Country Day since 1994. He received a PhD from the University of Michigan in 1993, in Comparative Literature. Since moving to Savannah he has been (intermittently) active in the arts community, directing and writing several plays, and serving as the head of the Reel Savannah Film Group from 2000-2010. He is married to Allison Hersh, and they have two children, Stephen and Shannon, both of whom attended SCDS.
  • Ariane Wright

    Wednesday, February 12: Evolution through Aversion: Danger, Disgust, and Frustration Driving Evolution (Ariane Wright)

    7:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Minis 2
    In this session we’ll take an atypical look at evolution.  Natural selection is usually thought of as adaptation to certain environments and situations, so that a species becomes better able to handle the challenges that arise.  Here we will discuss and examine the role of aversion in natural selection – how avoiding mosquitos impacts migration, how mating habits change as females avoid aggressive males, and how bright colors are often nature’s danger sign. 

    Instructor: Ariane Wright teaches Biology and Environmental Science in the Upper School.  She has a BA in biology from Agnes Scott College and a MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction from the American College of Education.  Ariane’s research has included explorations in the use of Hox gene expression in non-segmented animals and the role of gene expression in the development of cancer in C. elegans.  Throughout her 12 year teaching career, Ariane has focused on teaching the big ideas of biology to a variety of ages at various educational levels at both SCDS and Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.  She is married and mother to two hornets, Braeden in JK and Lirael who is at the Little School. In her spare time, Ariane enjoys camping, hiking, and riding her horses.
  • Michelle Dumais

    Wednesday, February 19: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao: Nationalism and Regionalism in Contemporary Spain (Michelle Dumais)

    7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Lewis 226
    The death of Francisco Franco in 1975 not only marked the end of some 40 years of dictatorship in Spain, it also marked the end of the singularly centralist Spanish state. Under Franco, Spain had gone to great lengths to create, or at least present, a unified, homogenous and integrated nation joined under the central power in Madrid. After his death, however, what has been called a “fiebre autonómica” took hold of the nation, with nearly every region of the country vying for some form of home rule. After so many years of mandatory submission to a singular Spanish identity, there was little resistance to this push for decentralization, and significant power and autonomy has been given to the communities. As a result, regional affiliation has now become the paramount marker of identity in contemporary Spain. In this class, we will explore the historical roots of the tensions between Spanish regionalism and nationalism and discuss the various political, artistic, economic and cultural manifestations of these dueling identities.

    Instructor: Michelle Dumais teaches Spanish in the Upper School. She has a B.A in Hispanic Language and Literatures from Boston University, an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and a Ph.D (ABD) in Hispanic Studies from the University of Kentucky. Her doctoral work focused on twentieth-century peninsular cultural and literary studies. Michelle has spent the last 15 years teaching a wide variety of Spanish courses, ranging from middle-school classes to advanced classes for college students with majors in Spanish. At SCDS, Michelle teaches a variety of Spanish classes in the Upper School, including a class on Hispanic Cinema. She is married to fellow Spanish teacher, David Hoopes, and they have two children at SCDS: Evelyn, a second grader and Oliver, who is in Junior Kindergarten. During the summer she enjoys exploring the world through home-exchanging.   
  • Kevin Goldberg

    Wednesday, February 26: A Vinous Tour through Germany (Kevin Goldberg)

    7:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Bradley Conference Room
    Overview: On the eve of the First World War in 1914, German wines were among the most expensive and prized in the world. By the time that the Soviets captured Nazi Berlin in 1945, the international trade in German wine had collapsed and its precious reputation had been eviscerated. In fact, not until the 1990s did German wine, particularly Riesling, experience an international renaissance. Today, German wine has returned to its pre-World War I form, with an intense amount of consumer interest in the finest growths of the Mosel and Rhine Rivers. 
    Participants will taste a range of German wine while examining the history, geography, and geology of one of the world's oldest and most complex winegrowing regions.
    Instructor: Kevin Goldberg is the History Department Chair at SCDS, a position he also held at the Weber School in Atlanta before arriving in Savannah. He completed his Ph.D. in European History at UCLA and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Humanities at Brown University, 2011-2013. Kevin has published several articles and book chapters on the history of wine. His translation of the Wine Atlas of Germany (University of California Press, 2014) was nominated for the prestigious Andre Simon Award for the best book in food and drink. At SCDS, Kevin teaches World History and AP US Government & Politics. He was a Fulton County Star Teaching Award recipient in 2017. His two daughters, Mia & Jillian, attend SCDS.  
  • Adam Weber

    Date TBD: Does the Earth Really Orbit the Sun? Thinking Scientifically vs. Believing What We See (Adam Weber)

    7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in Minis 1A
    Overview: For thousands of years humans looked at the sky and observed the motion of the sun, moon and stars.  It was pretty clear from their perspective that the Earth was the center of the universe. So what changed?  When and why did humans begin to question what they saw? This seminar will explore how we began to think scientifically.  It will begin with a discussion of early astronomers’ work who began to look differently at our world and its place in the universe.  We will then move to the study of light and how this seemingly simple thing, which is all around us, drove us deeper and deeper into no longer being able to believe what we see.  How humans needed to change the way we think if we were going to be able to study the very large or the very small. 

    Instructor: Adam Weber is the Science Department Chair and has been teaching for over 30 years; 28 of which have been at SCDS. He grew up in Milwaukee, WI but lived in many places before moving to Savannah. Adam has a BS in Physics & Math from UW-Whitewater and an MEd from UMass-Amherst. His teaching career began with the Peace Corps teaching Science at a government boarding school in Thyolo, Malawi.  Adam is passionate about student learning as he uses Physics as a means to teach students to think, analyze and problem-solve. Adam is married to Heidi Bindhammer and has one son who is in the 10th grade at SCDS. He spends his summers working on a Little House he built in Western NY.