Sam Chaltain (@samchaltain) is a DC-based writer, filmmaker, and strategic communications consultant. His work focuses on the changing nature of teaching and learning in America, and on how individuals and organizations can find and tell stories that capture the emotional center of an idea; build and sustain an audience of supporters over time (as opposed to merely generating awareness); and leverage both traditional and new media in order to expand an ideological base of support.
Previously, Sam was the National Director of the Forum for Education & Democracy, an education advocacy organization, and the founding director of the Five Freedoms Project, a national program that helps K-12 educators create more democratic learning communities.
Sam spent five years at the First Amendment Center as the co-director of the First Amendment Schools program. He came to the Center from the public school system of New York City, where he taught high school English and History. Sam also spent four years teaching the same subjects at a private school in Brooklyn.
Sam’s first teaching experience was in Beijing, China, where he joined the faculty of the Foreign Languages department at Beijing Normal University as a visiting lecturer. He taught two American History & Literature courses to third-year undergraduates.
Sam’s writings about his work have appeared in both magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Education Week and USA Today. A periodic contributor to CNN and Huffington Post, Sam is the author or co-author of six books: The First Amendment in Schools (ASCD, 2003); First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights (Oxford University Press, 2006); American Schools: The Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009); We Must Not Be Afraid to be Free: Stories Of Free Expression in America (Oxford, 2011); Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education (Jossey-Bass, 2011); and Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice (Teachers College Press, 2013). He is also a co-producer of the PBS documentary film, 180 Days: Hartsville; and the 10-part online film series, A Year at Mission Hill.
Sam has a Master’s degree in American Studies from the College of William & Mary, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University, where he specialized in non-profit management and organizational theory. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he graduated with a double major in Afro-American Studies and History.
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