The Berkeley Carroll School

Visiting Speakers Program

Berkeley Carroll students seek to understand perspectives other than their own as they strive to develop as critical, ethical and global thinkers.

In support of this pursuit, we bring many speakers from different disciplines to speak with our students and answer their questions. We have seen authors, scientists, activists and more pass through our halls to talk about their careers, the world at large and how our students can grow and make a difference.

Many of the speakers that come to Berkeley Carroll live and work in Brooklyn or other areas of New York City, but the world is our classroom — in recent years we have heard from speakers from as far away as Sierra Leone thanks to technology such as Skype.

Past Visiting Speakers

Upper School

Yusef Salaam

Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five, a group of teens who were forced into confessing a crime they didn't commit, spoke to Upper School students about the crime, his time in prison, being freed by the Innocence Project, and how he has successfully moved on with his life since his exoneration.

Jennifer Finney Boylan

Jennifer Finney Boylan talked to Upper School students as part of a NYSAIS workshop on gender fluid, gender questioning, and transgender children in independent schools. Her book, "She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders," is the first book by an openly transgender American to become a bestseller.

David Isay

StoryCorps Founder David Isay spoke to BC's Upper School about the organization's history and mission and how important documenting stories are and how StoryCorps allows people to connect through storytelling.

Ishmael Beah

Ishmael is an author and human rights activist who was a former child soldier who was forced to fight in the Sierra Leone Civil War. He talked about his experiences during the war and how he's created a life for himself after being rescued by UNICEF.


Everyone Is Gay

Everyone is Gay co-founders Danielle Owens and Kristin Russo discussed with the Upper School what inspired them to start their organization and what they (and anyone) can do to help LGBTQ youth and their parents.

Middle School

Sally Frishberg

Holocaust survivor (and BC grandparent) Sally Frishberg this morning told the eighth grade how she and her family lived through WWII in Poland, hidden in a farmer's attic.

U.S. Navy Woodwind Quartet

Middle schoolers heard from, and learned about the careers of, musicians in a U.S. Navy woodwind quartet.

Neal Goldman

Neal Goldman visited a fifth grade humanities class to discuss his involvement in the Selma to Montgomery march of 1965 as a law student who advised The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on legal matters surrounding the march.

Shehab Chowdhury

Shehab Chowdhury, a community engagement fellow at UNICEF, spoke to sixth graders about how important water is to everyday life and how UNICEF helps provide a clean supply of it to people around the world.


Google visited BC to introduce Middle School students to Google Cardboard, a low-cost virtual reality system intended to encourage interest and development in virtual reality technology.

Lower School

Jon Deak

Former New York aPhilharmonic bassist Jon Deak taught fourth graders about music composition and helped them create their own group pieces.

R.J. Palacio

Author R.J. Palacio spoke to fourth graders about her best-selling book, "Wonder." The students, who read the book in class, asked many questions about the story and Palacio's experience writing it.

Chris Grabenstein

Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" and "The Island of Dr. Libris," taught students about the importance of rewriting, imagination and character development.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson

Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer who has broken multiple world records and competed on the U.S. swim team in the Rio Olympics, spoke with kindergartners about how his prosthetic legs work.

Matt de la Peña

Author Matt de la Peña visited the Lower School to read from his book "Last Stop on Market Street," which has won the Caldecott Honor Medal and the Newbery Medal.

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