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Madison/Dane County Courage to Teach


Barbara Hummel,, 608-233-7400
Bonnie Trudell,, 608-271-8013

Mailing address: 4026 Cherokee Drive, Madison, WI 53711

Courage to Teach is a year-long series of 4 retreats that nurture and renew 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:

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

Dates and Cost

The four weekend sessions begin Friday evenings and end Sunday afternoons at Bethel Horizons Retreat Center, in Dodgeville Wisconsin. The 2016-17 series is currently filled. Dates for the 2017-18 series will be available in February, 2017.

Educators from Madison and Dane County pay a total of $850 (in three installments) for the series of four retreats, which represents eight nights' lodging, 24 meals, facilitation, and materials. This phenomenal value is made possible by a community match provided by local organizations and individuals investing in local educators.

Educators from other areas pay a total of $1050. Participants can also apply for a maximum of four hours of graduate credit from Edgewood College, available at an additional cost of $170 per credit.

Application and 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.

"This 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. "


"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."


"As a high school teacher of 20 years I've had 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

"This 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.”


"CTT 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

"I 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

"Now, 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