Circle work is one of the oldest restorative practices utilized by humankind. Our goal is to institutionalize circle work in every aspect of American life. We see this as best demonstrated when we can work in collaboration, with compassion, as we strive toward competency.
Pamela Taylor, Ph.D.
For Pamela, circle work has been a long tradition dating back to her coordinating and facilitating groups, as a counselor, social worker, and community organizer. A few years ago, she reconnected with these traditions by joining the Peacemaking and Healing Circle Initiative with the Center for Ethical Leadership, as a consulting affiliate. As such, she has enjoyed keeping and leading innumerable circles and workshops, especially special interest circles on topics related to social justice, leadership, and racial healing. More importantly, she is a storyteller who strives to inspire human connection through creating and curating stories that heal.
She is Professor Emeritus in K-12 Teaching, Learning, & Social Justice in the College of Education at Seattle University (SU). Her work at SU and throughout the greater Seattle community has focused on raising awareness and deepening understanding about issues related to racial and social justice. She primarily teaches the Social Justice for Professional Practice and Multicultural Perspective courses in the College of Education. In the social justice course, there is an emphasis on transformative justice. An integral key to restorative justice is engaging in restorative practices to normalize human experiences and relationships. And for the Multicultural Perspectives course, the pedagogy of circles is practiced.
Throughout her professional career — spanning several decades – she has worked in a variety of settings that have intersected across the fields of education, social and human services, and criminal justice. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Work, Masters Degree in Social Work, and a Masters of Arts and Ph.D. both in Education with specializations in Multicultural Education and Curriculum and Instruction. She has extensively studied a wide range of conflict resolution, mediation, and peacemaking circle traditions in programs across the United States and Canada.
Pamela has participated in many training programs and hole memberships and certificates from several organizations. Click Circle Training Certifications and Affiliations for a comprehensive list.
Stephanie Sarantos, RN, BSN, Ph.D.
Stephanie’s approach is most influenced by her work at The Clearwater School, a radical educational community where students direct their own education, share equal rights with adults and have a voice in all decisions influencing their daily lives. Stephanie studied dance and received her BSN in nursing at the University of Washington. As an RN, she worked with families facing life-threatening illness, which led her to research the ways that children are affected by and respond to trauma and stress. She returned to the University of Washington to pursue her masters and doctorate in Educational Psychology with specialization in special education, cognitive and social development and a focus on children’s temperament.
She was introduced to peace-making circles through racial healing circles, the circle process resonated deeply. Circle work constantly deepens her understanding of herself, her communities and the nature of the world. She works hard to deepen her understand her role as a white person in fighting racism and oppression. She is a strong believer in multiple ways of knowing—and is drawn especially to kinesthetic learning which influences her approach in circle work. She believes in changing the world through daily practice and action—most often in many small steps.
Diane Schmitz, M.Div., Ed.D.
Diane S. Schmitz, is an educator, minister, and writer with over 20 years of experience designing and leading transformational group processes. Her primary focus is working with predominantly white communities to increase the awareness and knowledge needed to be effective partners with communities of color in dismantling racism. She has 17 years of experience in higher education administration with focus areas in management, equity and inclusion work, support for marginalized students, university leadership, and teaching graduate-level social justice courses in an adjunct capacity. Diane is an experienced designer, presenter and facilitator of webinars, seminars, workshops, trainings and conference presentations on multiple topics.
She is a trainer for Allies for Change, an organization that provides anti-oppression education, training, and resources for individuals and organizations committed to social change. Her doctoral degree in educational leadership focused on Whiteness in Higher Education.
Diane believes every day provides an opportunity to dismantle some of her internalized white dominance through staying awake, practicing humility, taking personal responsibility for her learning and being accountable to communities of color. Her work for social justice is motivated by a deep belief in the capacity for change in individuals, organizations, and communities.