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Courage in Schools

Programs for Teachers, Educators and Administrators

Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together.
Move See all—Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach

Courage in Schools encompasses the range of programs offered by Courage & Renewal facilitators, including Courage to Teach® and Courage to Lead® retreats and programs. In addition to those in-person personal and professional development opportunities, you can also find many online resources for teachers and educators.

Courage to Teach®

Renewal for Life & Work:  Courage to Teach® is a program of stand-alone retreats or quarterly series of retreats for the personal and professional renewal of educators. Courage to Teach  programs, based on the book by Parker J. Palmer, focus on renewing the inner lives of professionals in education.

Courage to Lead® for Educators

Leadership: Courage to Lead® for Educators support school leaders (principals, deans, department heads, teacher leaders, etc.). The  programs help you sustain and renew your passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to school leadership and to the communities you serve.

Leading Together: Building Adult Community in Schools

Transforming Teams:  A pilot study of a multi-year professional development experience for K-12 school leadership teams, designed to build their capacity to facilitate positive relationships among all the adults in the school community and develop the trust and social capital necessary to improve the quality of instruction in the classroom, implementation of SEL programs, and outcomes for students. Learn more about Leading Together and see the final report from the University of Virginia.

Professional development collaborations

Customized Consulting: Courage in Schools partners with individual elementary schools, middle and high schools, entire school districts, and institutions of higher education to design and provide professional development days or series tailored to the needs of your particular situation. We welcome inquiries about professional development that will meet your needs. Contact Lisa Sankowski and also see our Facilitator Directory.

Presentations & keynotes

Find an Expert: Courage & Renewal facilitators with experience in education are available to present at local, regional and national conferences with interest in the approaches available through Courage in Schools. For assistance, contact Lisa Sankowski and also see our Facilitator Directory.

Why Courageous Teaching Matters

Think back to a teacher who made a difference in your young life, a teacher who saw more in you than you saw in yourself. Spend some time contemplating how much richer your life has been because of that teacher’s life-giving and perhaps life-changing support. Feel the gratitude that comes from realizing that a teacher went above and beyond the call of duty to help you become who you are today.

Then do whatever you can to support this generation of American classroom heroes as they, in turn, nurture our precious children.

Tell us a story about a teacher who comforted and encouraged you, or gave you inspiration and guidance, or somehow touched and even changed your life.

American Teacher

“How can we help today’s teachers touch and transform their students the way we were touched by the teachers who changed our lives?”
That’s the question America needs to focus on today. Sadly, American teachers are too often treated by politicians, the press, and the public as scapegoats for problems that the rest of us lack the wit or the will to solve. It’s all too easy to point to “educational failures” such as chronic underachievement among certain student populations, to pin the blame on “bad teachers,” and to propose yet another policy that involves achievement tests and punishments for teachers whose students fall below the norm.
But every thoughtful observer of America’s “educational failures” understands that the root cause is not “incompetent” or “lazy” teachers. The root cause is poverty and all that flows from it, depriving children of the resources they need—from adequate nutrition to strong adult support—to succeed at school.** The American public needs help cutting through the disinformation that keeps us from understanding that teachers are heroes, not goats. These heroes keep returning to their posts for the love of children, despite the fact that their work is too often maligned, too many are underpaid, and our schools are under-financed. (Read the complete article in Parker J. Palmer’s Foreword to American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom)

**  New data shows school “reformers” are full of it. Poor schools underperform largely because of economic forces, not because teachers have it too easy… (See article at

Featured Video

Enjoy this video featuring one of our Courage & Renewal facilitators, Debbie Stanley, on how she brought Courage & Renewal into the classroom.

Educator Events on the Calendar

Date Event


Just Be, Just Breathe: Reclaiming True Self, Finding Sanctuary: A Courage & Renewal® Retreat
Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center – Philadelphia, PA


Courage to Lead Program for Educational Administrators (Spring/Summer 2017)
Menucha Retreat & Conference Center – Corbett, OR


The Soul Never Forgets: Leading from Your Deepest Values
Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center – Abiquiu, NM


Listening from Within: A Courage to Lead Retreat for Women
Menucha Retreat & Conference Center – Corbett, OR


Teaching & Leading From Within: A Two-Day Program for Educators
Village Hotel Katong – Singapore


Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain (A Kinder Camino)