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Schmidt Lecture Series

The Louis W. & Nellie H. Schmidt Endowment Fund was established in 2006 by a group of alumni to provide a lasting memorial to the late Nellie and Louis “Ray” Schmidt and support an annual lecture in their name: The Schmidt Lecture Series at Savannah Country Day School.

Mrs. Schmidt was a beloved Latin and classical history teacher for many years at Country Day and also played a significant role in the National Honor Society, academic bowl, and quiz bowl. She was a warm presence on campus and at athletic events for 22 years. Mr. Schmidt, who served as assistant headmaster, principal, and football coach, was a strong motivator on the football field and in the Spanish classroom, while having a stern, but fair stranglehold on the disciplinary process as an administrator.

Thank you to the Schmidt family and donors to the fund – your generosity allows us to bring nationally respected authors, researchers, and other experts in education and childhood development to campus and speak to our families and the community.

 Nellie and Louis “Ray” Schmidt

Past Speakers

Jennifer Wallace, Award-Winning Journalist and Social Commentator

We welcomed Jennifer Wallace, author of "Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic—and What We Can Do About It," on campus in late February of 2024. In addition to her evening lecture with parents, Mrs. Wallace spoke to Upper School students and our faculty as part of Country Day's faculty in-service day.

With the rise of "toxic achievement culture" overtaking our kids' and parents' lives, Mrs. Wallace provided tools to help parents, students, and teachers untangle self-worth from achievement, with the biggest takeaway being: MATTERING — the idea that we are valued for who we are at our core, and that we can add meaningful value to the lives of others.

Mark Mathabane, Author of Kaffir Boy

Mark Mathabane discussed his book Kaffir Boy, the true story of his coming of age under the South African apartheid regime. Kaffir Boy won the prestigious Christopher Award for showing the resiliency of the human spirit and inspiring hope. Kaffir Boy was a finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, reached No. 1 on the Washington Post bestsellers list, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Dr. Michael Thompson, Ph.D., New York Times Bestselling Author and International Speaker

An informative and constructive discussion about the complex social world of our children — from the parallel play of the two-year-old to the intimate self-disclosure of the adolescent — Dr. Michael Thompson led the audience through topics explored in his book "Best Friends/Worst Enemies" and discussed friendship development, popularity, and social cruelty in childhood.

Dr. Wendy Mogel, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Parenting Expert, & New York Times Best-Selling Author

Dr. Wendy Mogel discussed parenting in a culture of increasing anxiety and rapid change. She unraveled the paradox of good-intentioned, devoted parenting gone astray, and explained how over-protection, over-scheduling, over-indulgence, and perfectionism undermine children's intrinsic motivation, resilience, and pride in their achievements. 

Katherine Lewis, Award-Winning Science Journalist, Author, and Speaker

Why don’t kids do what you want? Katherine Lewis, a nationally respected journalist, presented "The Good News about Bad Behavior," discussing how to navigate tricky behavioral issues among children of all ages (K-12) and addressed parent questions, including device use, sibling rivalry, and disrespectful behavior.

Katey McPherson, Executive Director of True Measure Solutions

Katey McPherson discussed the brains of tweens and teens of the iGeneration in her talk titled "Kids Under the Influence: The Hidden Impact of Screen Time and Social Media on our Children and What Every Parent Needs to Know." Ms. McPherson brings experience in school leadership, prevention, and organizational change with 25 years as a secondary school teacher, guidance counselor, and PK-12 school administrator. 

Rob Evans, Clinical and Organizational Psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service

Mr. Evans spoke with faculty, staff, and parents on rearing children in the culture of the now. He outlined the dilemmas parents face today and offered concrete suggestions for successful coping at home and school.