Leah Bauman-Smith

High School Teacher and Outdoor Educator

Leah Bauman-Smith ’06 attended Warren Wilson with the idea of becoming either a teacher or a trail guide. Little did she know she would successfully combine her two passions in life, playing outside and teaching at-risk-youth. At Warren Wilson College in 2006 Leah degree in Outdoor Leadership. Then she continued her education and to earn a Masters Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities.

Leah currently work at Northwest Passage High School, an experiential expedition based charter school located just north of Minneapolis, which focuses on project-based learning and allows students three hours a day of individual project work time. Students spend their whole high school career working with the same advisor. Advisories are a place where students learn teambuilding, community, and the importance of relationship building. Projects range from i-movies about parasites to service trips to Guatemala. Afternoons are spent in teacher led classes that have an experiential based curriculum. “I get to teach classes about all kinds of fabulous topics such as young adult literature, environmental ethics, as well as the usual college preparatory classes,” she explains.

Expeditions are a large part of students’ education as well. Leah’s job requires her to lead expeditions ranging from an overnight to an organic farm to a 10-day backpacking trip to Big Bend, Texas to international service trips to Mexico and Guatemala.

“Thank God I attended Warren Wilson College,” Leah explains. “Through my experiences at Warren Wilson I became acclimated to crazy experiences, outdoor fun, and people that might be a little different than your average Joe, therefore nothing that happens on the job now surprises or shocks me.”