Ian Ramsey is a writer, educator, wilderness traveler, and musician. For twenty years he has been on the faculty of North Yarmouth Academy, where he teaches music and environmental writing. chairs the Visual and Performing Arts program, and leads student trips. He is the founder and director of NYA's Kauffmann Program for Environmental Writing and Wilderness Exploration, and one of the founders of the Maine Acoustic Festival, a statewide roots music festival for Maine middle school and high school students. Ian is also the founder of NYA's Distinction in Music: Performance, Entrepreneurship and Community, a program that helps student musicians to develop all of the musical, media and service skills that they will need to be professional artists who serve their communities. In 2019 he founded NYA’s Distinction in Outdoor and Environmental Leadership, which encourages students to adventure in, and advocate for, the natural world. Ian also teaches mindfulness and leads activities related to brain science, breathing, and adapting physiology for learning and high performance. He is a partner in the Physiology First Initiative, a non-profit which seeks to give students across New England tools to take control of their physiology and perform better.
Ian holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop and has published poems and essays in a variety of national publications. A licensed Maine Guide and aspirant BCU Five Star Sea Kayak Leader, he has coached at the Midcoast Sea Kayak Rendezvous, and has paddled throughout North America, the Bahamas, Wales, the Sea of Okhotsk, Vietnam, and Central America. Ian has led backcountry trips in Alaska, New England, and throughout the American West. He has also led trips to Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China, Costa Rica, and Ireland. Individually, he has been part of multi-week expeditions in places like Alaska's Arctic Brooks Range and the Peruvian Amazon. As an ultrarunner, he has run all over North America and on four continents, and competed in the Volcanic 50, the Ardennes Megatrail, the Ultra-Trail Harricana, Pineland Trail Festival and the Vermont 50 Mile Ultra Race. He is an athlete ambassador for the Territory Run Company, Muir Energy, XOSkin, The Distance Project, and for Goodr Sunglasses.
In 2016 Ian was announced as a national quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year, and in 2014 he was awarded North Yarmouth Academy's Howard Small Chair for Excellence in Teaching. In 2014 Ian was selected for a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center, as well to be a participant, with other educators and health-care providers, in the pilot program for Kripalu's Approach to Healthy Living Program. In 2007 Ian was selected to participate in a three week study tour of Japan as part of the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund, and in 2003 Ian was a featured artist in Maine Governor Baldacci's conference on "The Creative Economy."
In addition to his work at NYA, Ian is the director of Pan Fried Steel, a not-for-profit community steel band. In his spare time, Ian loves sea kayaking, trail-running, yoga, meditation, music, literature, and international and backcountry travel. A student of mindfulness, Buddhism and Yoga, he has done a number of retreats at Zen Mountain Monastery, Dhamma Dhara, and Kripalu. He is devoted to place-based education, using the arts, spirituality, science, and service to bridge cultural divides, and inhabiting the rich and challenging terrain between diverse disciplines and ideas.