• <a href="/live/image/gid/465/width/650/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image94387"><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/465/width/500/height/479/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/465/width/500/height/479/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/465/width/500/height/479/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/465/width/500/height/479/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg" alt="" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/465/width/720/height/690/crop/1/94387_pexels-pixabay-37398.rev.1652910607.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a> <div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption"></div>

Courage & Renewal

Courage & Renewal® programming is designed to empower those who wish to live and work more wholeheartedly, reclaim their vocational vitality, and deepen their professional practice.


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Courage & Renewal

Through Circle of Trust® retreats and other programming rooted in the Courage & Renewal approach, the Center for Community Engagement offers events and workshops designed to support participants in becoming forces for positive change in their professions and communities, and contribute to a growing conversation about reclaiming integrity and courage in professional and public life.

Courage to Lead

At the heart of authentic leadership is the courage to be fully human, to take risks, to care deeply and to take action even in the midst of change and uncertainty. Courage to Lead® is rooted in the belief that effective leadership flows from the identity and integrity of the person. Courage retreats and programs are designed to help leaders move beyond the “what” and “how” questions of leadership, to the “who” questions.

Who is Courage to Lead for?

Courage to Lead is open to those in leadership from diverse fields and is designed to help participants renew their passion, enthusiasm and commitment to their leadership and the communities they serve.

Past participants have included school principals, superintendents, higher education administrators, clergy, managers, coaches and leaders from the nonprofit and corporate sectors. Leadership can also be reflected in other ways that we show up in the world through our professional, family, or community life.

Our retreat experiences and individualized programs offer PDUs and some may provide administrator licensing credits.

Courage to Lead brought our administrative team together during tough times. We learned more about ourselves and why we do the hard work that we do with passion and excellence. It was about discovering our identity, showcasing our integrity and participating in deep self reflection. These powerful components of solid leadership helped us design a shared vision for the future of our school district.

– Karen Gray, Superintendent, Lincoln County School District

Leading Together

Leading Together is a research-based program rooted in the belief that students flourish best in an environment where all educators feel supported, working together in a culture of mutual respect and courageous dialogue. The same can be said of other organizations, including higher education, nonprofits and businesses. Building relational trust among colleagues in any setting can increase positive outcomes.

We offer customized Leading Together programs for schools, businesses, and other organizational communities seeking to strengthen relational trust, collaboration, and empowerment.

The four main components addressed within the Leading Together program are: Creating Trustworthy Spaces; Honest and Open Communication; Empowering and Engaging Others; Building Deep Seated Accountability

What Can a Leading Together Program Look Like?

The Leading Together program ideally involves two full days of experiential training and follow up coaching for a leadership team to advise on implementing the program within in their community. The schedule and program structure is customizable to meet the needs of participants, and is adaptable to the objectives identified by the team requesting the program.

“Leading Together has all the critical features needed to become a model for school change: effective school leadership, positive adult relationships in schools, and relational trust.”

- Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Univ. of Virginia, Final Report

Courage to Teach

Courage to Teach focuses neither on teacher techniques nor on school reform. In this time of teacher shortages, this program offers renewal to education’s most important resource: the teacher. 

Participants explore the “heart of the teacher” through sharing stories from their own journeys, reflecting on their classroom practice and drawing upon the insights of poets, storytellers and diverse cultural traditions.

The Courage to Teach program invites teachers to speak honestly about their lives as educators, and to listen and respond to each other with encouragement and compassion. We explicitly seek both novice and experienced teachers, those of whom society demands much but rewards little in terms of encouragement and support.

“Courage to Teach has helped me to be mindful of my teaching. It is too easy to get caught up in the hubbub of schools…and not take the time or care that is needed to do the job. Now I’m taking time to see the child as a whole person.”

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

― Parker J. Palmer, Author of ‘The Courage to Teach’

Upcoming Courage & Renewal Opportunities

May 21

Finding Your Roots in the Riot of Spring: A Courage to Lead Retreat for Women

Tuesday-Friday, May 21-24, 2024  | 18 PDUs or CEUs

December 3

Holding the Shadow and the Light: A Courage to Lead Retreat for Women

Tuesday-Friday, December 3-6, 2024  |  18 CEUs or PDUs

Courage & Renewal Facilitators

Dawn Montgomery

Assistant Professor, Educational Administration

Matsya Siosal

Director, Center for Community Engagement

Sherri Carreker

Facilitator, Courage & Renewal

 More About Courage & Renewal

Courage & Renewal work helps to build integrity within the individual and relational trust within teams. This work can serve as a support for those in…

Positions of Trust: Those who are responsible for impactful decision making and are looked to by others to lead with integrity. Examples of this include social workers, educators, mental health practitioners, clergy, and coaches.

Leadership Roles: While many of us are not ‘leaders’ in a formal sense, we are called to lead on a regular basis. Leadership can be defined in the way one shows up within their organization, family, or community. 

Organizations and Teams: Courage & Renewal work can benefit staff, teams and organizations who are seeking to build, repair, or maintain a sense of relational trust. Participants are given the opportunity to reconnect with the “why” of their work by listening and sharing with others on their team who are connected by the same mission. Teams dealing with burnout are able to work together in finding resilience and navigating difficult situations moving forward.

While a workshop duration depends on the amount of participants and level of facilitation, we recommend no less than a three hour experience. Multi-day trainings and longer formats can be appropriate for larger teams. Below is a sample workshop for a conference or team.

The Heart of Leadership: Reconnecting Who You Are With What You Do
At the heart of authentic leadership is the courage to be fully human, to take risks, to care deeply and to take action even in the midst of challenge and uncertainty. The individual and collective impacts of polarization, isolation, injustice, and burnout threaten our country’s fragile democracy and our own ability to live and work sustainably.

This Courage and Renewal workshop offers participants time and space for deep reflection in community and an opportunity to reconnect and renew your sense of purpose and ability to lead from a courageous heart.

Through personal reflection, readings, and small and large group discussion, you will learn a framework and skill for cultivating trustworthy space when engaging with individuals and communities, and using Parker Palmer’s ‘Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy’, connect with the unique gifts you bring to the world.

We will explore how our interconnectedness, the strength of diversity, the ability to hold space in difficult times, and the capacity to operate with agency and foster community can support you in reconnecting the wholeness of who you are with what you do.

To learn more or request a training, fill out the info request form below.

Below is an example of what a three day, in-person retreat might look like:

Day One
5-9 p.m: Arrival/Check-in, group dinner, evening program (group introductions; readings and reflection)
9 p.m.: Social time (optional)

Day Two
8 a.m.-Noon: Breakfast; group program (small and large group activities involving writing, reflection, creativity)
Noon-3 p.m: Lunch, time for solitude, rest, nature walk
3-6 p.m: Group program; learning and practicing the skill of Open and Honest Questions
6 p.m: Dinner
7-9 p.m: Clearness Committees
9 p.m. Social time (optional)

Day Three
8 a.m.-11 a.m.: Breakfast, Closing circle (including reflection on Clearness Committee experience, letter writing)
11:30 a.m: Departure

Circle of Trust retreats are meant to be trustworthy spaces for participants to practice inner work in community. Learn more here

Scholarship Fund

We strive to keep our Courage retreats accessible to all who wish to participate. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our scholarship fund. 


 Request Information

Are you interested in Courage & Renewal programming for your organization, school district, or conference? Fill out our request form and we will be in touch!

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