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Courage to Teach 2017-2018 Retreat Series

Friday, November 3, 2017 - Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bethel Horizons - Dodgeville, WI

November 3-5, 2017
January 12-14, 2018
April 20-22, 2018
June 22-24, 2018

Bethel Horizons Retreat Center
Dodgeville, Wisconsin

$890 for Educators from Madison and Dane County
$1200 for Educators from other areas.
(includes program fee, lodging, meals, and materials for all four retreats)

Click to register now


Courage to Teach is a quarterly retreat series that nurtures and renews educators while also offering graduate credit from collaborating partner Edgewood College. This unique approach to professional development is based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and focuses on renewing the inner lives of educators rather than content knowledge or teaching techniques.

Educators experience extended time in a lovely natural environment to explore “the heart of a teacher” and reconnect with their core values and the passion that brought them into teaching. Each retreat follows a seasonal theme, using the rich metaphors of nature, reflections on personal stories and classroom practice, poetry, and insights from various wisdom traditions.

Based on evaluations gathered every year, Madison/Dane County Courage to Teach makes a very positive difference for educators. Participants consistently report:

  • courage-debbie-sRenewed satisfaction and commitment to their profession;
  • Improved connections with students and classroom practice;
  • Strengthened collegial relationships at their school sites.


The following participant comments are typical:

"quote-LCTT has redefined and clarified my definition of myself as an educator and as a person who teaches young children. CTT has rekindled and again brought alive the spirit I have had in the past…” (elementary teacher, 2012-13 cohort)

"quote-LI am critically aware of the difference that these retreats have made in both my professional and personal life. In fact, it is the single most important work that I have ever done.” (high school special education teacher, 2011-12 cohort)

"quote-LNow, more than ever, the Courage to Teach format is an important model to help educators keep true to the call that brought them into their work. This year has helped me recharge my creative juices after several years of “drought.” (school social worker, 2012-13 cohort)

Courage-293-650 Courage-004 Courage-175

Meet Your Facilitators

Barb Hummel and Bonnie Trudell have been co-facilitating Courage to Teach retreats for the past 12 years. They are prepared by and affiliated with the Center for Courage & Renewal. Feel free to contact them with your questions.

Barbara HummelBarb Hummel consults with all kinds of organizations in the areas of leadership and collaboration in order to help them be more authentic and effective. In addition to her current work with organizations, since 2002 she has facilitated both Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead retreats in the Midwest. Her prior work was as Executive Director of the Madison Area Quality Improvement Network, a membership organization devoted to helping businesses and organizations from every sector learn about quality improvement and systems thinking. Barb has a master’s degree in counseling. She lives in Madison, and is active in her church and the local Habitat affiliate. She enjoys reading, kayaking, crossword puzzles, and travel.

Bonnie_TrudellBonnie Trudell’s work as an educator has spanned nearly 50 years and a variety of settings that include public and private K-12 schools, community organizations, statewide educational agencies, and post-secondary education. She served for 20 years on the health education faculty in teacher preparation at UW-Whitewater and UW-Madison prior to her retirement in 2008. Since 2002, she has been co-facilitating (with Barb Hummel) a Courage to Teach retreat series. She practices mindfulness meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh with SnowFlower Sangha.

bethel-horizons-2About Our Venue

Bethel Horizons is located on over 548 acres of beautiful prairie, forest, cliff and wetland habitats bordering Governor Dodge State Park, just one hour west of Madison.

4651 County Highway ZZ, Dodgeville, WI 53533

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Program Costs

Educators from Madison and Dane County pay a total of $890* (in three installments) for the series of four retreats, which represents eight nights’ lodging, 24 meals, facilitation, and materials. This phenomenal value, which represents half the actual cost of the series, is made possible through community fundraising and the generosity of local organizations and individuals who invest in local educators. Educators from other areas pay a total of $1200.* Participants can also apply for a maximum of four hours of graduate credit from Edgewood College, available at an additional cost of $175 per credit.

*The fee indicated is for double room occupancy; single room fees are an additional $200 ($50/retreat).




To join the 2017-2018 Courage to Teach series, fill out this Arrow-Download-3-icon APPLICATION FORM. Applications will be accepted until 24 spots are filled.

Questions? Contact
Barb Hummel,
Bonnie Trudell,

More comments from past participants…

"quote-LThis program has been a source of knowledge, insight, and refreshment for me! I have learned so much about myself as a teacher and this is greatly strengthening my work.” (college faculty, 2012-13 cohort)


I came in the fall with such anxiety and lack of clarity and now at this final weekend, I am leaving with hope and a new vision.  I am so thankful that I got to be a part of the best professional development I have ever attended.” (middle school teacher, 2014-15 cohort)

"quote-LAs a high school teacher of 20 years I’ve ha my share of worthwhile ‘enrichment classes’. A few have measured up to my expectations, but CTT has surpassed anything I dreamed possible.” (2012-13 cohort)

"quote-LThis year’s retreat has honestly kept me in the profession… These are tough times for teachers and students in public schools.  Courage to Teach has given me respite and time and tools to reflect on what truly matters (elementary special education teacher, 2013-14 cohort)

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