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Michelle Pilar Mansfield
Michelle is part of the teaching staff at New Roads Upper School in Santa Monica, California. With more than 25 years of council experience she weaves council into a variety of lesson plans, whether they be in Spanish or in response to an event happening in the world or the classroom.
Michelle began practicing council in 1991 with Los Angeles youth in Watts, California where she taught creative writing for I Have a Dream Foundation. At the time council was a remedy to the blank stares and frequent student protest, “We have nothing to write!” It continued to be an integral part of the workshop from 7th grade until high school graduation.
In 1998 she began training with Joe Provisor and has continued facilitating circles ever since. She has worked at numerous schools in California and Mexico, where she lived for eight years. She has created and facilitated council retreats for youth and adults exploring themes such as community, restorative practices and leadership. From 2014 through 2015 Michelle co-directed Council in Schools (CIS) and was actively involved in all aspects of the organization, including designing custom programs to meet the needs of individual schools and serving as the site-coordinator at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy Burlington. She has also served as mentor, parent, council facilitator and trainer at a wide variety of Los Angeles area schools. Michelle graduated USC with a degree in business administration and has a background in dance, poetry and yoga. She is bilingual and has contributed to the translation of council materials into Spanish. She is also a contributor to the CIS Educator’s Training Manual.
In council we learn from each other and ourselves. There is no prescribed knowledge to pass on, instead there is our human experience and the skill to give and receive from it. We slow down intent on finding what is lost to the speed of this modern world. The premise is simple – speak honestly, listen respectfully, and hopefully . . . by way of our shared humanity, we learn to cope with life’s challenges, make better decisions, and live more connected and thus satisfying lives.