Sam Intrator is a student of places, spaces, and organizations where powerful, high-impact learning occurs— how do teachers and leaders create these spaces, how are they are experienced by learners, and what can be done to create educational settings where individuals can flourish.
A former high school English teacher and administrator, Sam returned to pursue his PhD at Stanford University to explore the question: when do learners find genuine meaning, worth, and value in their educational experiences and what can be done to cultivate these types of experiences? To research the book, Sam spent over a year shadowing youth in an effort to understand what transpires when youth get genuinely inspired and engrossed in their learning. His book Tuned in and Fired Up: How Teaching Can Inspire Real Learning (Yale University Press), which was a finalist for the prestigious Grawmeyer Award, documents what he discovered.
Over the years, Sam’s interest in high-impact experience has expanded to include the study of learning in the professions. His four other books explore these questions including the Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead (Jossey Bass), which uses poetry to examine the inner journey that leaders must travel if they are to make sense of the possibilities and challenges of their work and Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead. His books have received a number of awards and have been noted in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Harvard Educational Review, and public radio.
For the last five years, Sam has devoted significant time to co-founding Project Coach, a youth leadership program that uses sports as a means to engage, connect, and develop a youth’s capacity to serve others effectively. PC trains and employs teens as youth sport coaches for elementary-age children living in their communities.
Intrator has been awarded several teaching awards, including a Presidential Distinguished Teacher Award from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, and an Ella Baker Fellowship.
Leading from Within:
Leadership is an inner quest. It is a deeply personal exercise that requires us to confront dilemmas, problems, and uncertainty with creativity, imagination, passion and courage. It requires us to hear a call, tackle an intractable problem, overcome fear and uncertainty and come together as a group to succeed. Leadership is difficult to define succinctly, but we know it when we see it.
Deploying One’s Passion in Service of Youth Leadership:
Drawing what he learned in researching his book and developing Project Coach, Intrator shares lessons of leadership for youth.