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Compass Profiles: Sam Gleeson

posted Tue, Jun 26, 2018

Categories: Compass profiles

This summer, we will be highlighting members of the Compass Community.  This could include staff members, founding families, volunteers, board members, school designers, students or community partners.

Get to know us.


Staff: Sam Gleeson

Teacher-Adviser: Math / Science


Six Word Memoir: 

“Teaching and fresh air fuel me.”

What’s your educational specialty/background?

Science and Math

Why Compass?

I want to save the world. Hyperbolic as that is I have always wanted to make a positive impact on issues of the environment, justice and peace. I found that the best way for me to have a direct impact on those things is through education. After time in our traditional education system I didn’t feel like I was making the impact I wanted to. By starting Compass I feel like I am taking a step to shape how our education system functions in our world, rather than tweeking an archaic system while the world changes faster and faster around it. Compass is a place that fights for the equity and voice of all students. It is a place that holds growing members of our society to a high standard of excellence while giving them the autonomy to discover who they are and where they fit. It is a place where we will tackle challenging issues and expose students to the curiosities and joys that life on this planet grant us.

Why compass? Because I want a place where I can see all kids at their full potential.

Besides your specialty, what other talents and interests do you want to share with our community?

My comfort in the backcountry and my appreciation for the solitude and community that comes with spending time outside.

What previous life experiences are you bringing to the Compass Community?

I have spent time doing field conservation work and have worked as a buyer in the outdoor industry. Dealing with community partners, and bringing my previous work in the field help to give students perspective on how to integrate into the working world.

What is your dream project/partnership at Compass?

A backcountry conservation trip to southern Chile, working with No Barriers, sponsored by Patagonia and Cascade Designs.

What do you believe?

I believe people want to do what is best but are often limited by what they don’t know. I also believe that with equitable education we can make the world a better place to live.

What are five things that you know to be true?

Everything happens for a reason and the reason is usually physics.
It always pays to be nice to people.
A day spent outside is never wasted.
Snowboarding is better than skiing.
We are not the center of the universe.

What is one question that you are still searching for an answer to?

What would a truly sustainable culture look like in the 21st century?

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Getting asked to hand students their diplomas at graduation.

If you could wake up tomorrow with one new quality or ability, what would it be?

Being able to speak, write and read fluent Spanish

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?

My family and community support. I have met so many people that directly or indirectly have given me all the opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of.

What would constitute a “perfect day”?

Waking up at dawn in a tent in a high meadow. Packing up camp while my partner cooks breakfast and makes coffee. Skinning up a late season snow field and snowboarding down. Then listening to my favorite podcast as we drive home. Meeting up with friends for sushi and then ending the day by a warm fire playing board games.

What place would you most like to travel to if you had to go alone?

New Zealand