Equipping Resilience Coaches


Since 2008 I have been speaking to educators, pastors, and anyone else that would listen about the power of hope. My life is guided by the belief that the future always has the potential to be better than the past, and that hope can be cultivated, borrowed, and spread. It wasn't until my path crossed with Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz and Jim Sporleder that I realized the true depth of this belief and how it relates to the movement of becoming trauma-informed. 

For the past two years, I have worked closely with Jim and Rebecca to support schools seeking to create spaces and places where children can heal and grow. As we have traveled across the nation, one thing has been made abundantly clear, on the journey to becoming trauma-informed a supportive team walking with you makes a huge difference. 

In the summer of 2018, we developed Equipping Resilience Coaches, a year-long support plan to help school systems make large moves toward becoming trauma-informed. The training kicks-off with a four-day in-person workshop at ESSDACK in Hutchinson, KS led by me, Tamara Konrade, Rebecca, and Jim. After the initial four-days, our team continues to support our Resilience Coaches as they lead their colleagues to collectively shift the school culture, practices, and policies to become trauma-responsive. 

Last year, 40 teams joined our first cohort of Resilience Coaches. These coaches represented 34 school districts, 50 schools, and 5 states. 

"Reflecting on all of the learning I've done over the past 22 years, Equipping Resilience Coaches has been the most impactful on my life. I used to see discipline and consequences in a different way BUT when I met you all and CONFIRMED that what I was feeling in my heart about our children and our community was VALIDATED even though not many see things in the same way I did, I knew that I had rediscovered my passion and purpose." - Dustin Springer, Instructional Coach, Merriam Park Elementary, Shawnee Mission, KS

"Equipping Resilience Coaches allows you to have some of the best mentors in the field of trauma awareness at your fingertips even when they are hundreds of miles away!" -JoAnn Weil, Hope Middle School Dean of Students, Holt, MI

"Wondering where you, as a leader, can begin in leading the trauma responsive charge in your school? Well, this is it! Invaluable knowledge and on-going support. And, seriously, you’re learning it from the very best." -Melissa Kennedy, Buhler Grade School Principal, Buhler, KS 

The initial training for this year's cohort will be held July 8-11 at ESSDACK in Hutchison, KS. The cost is $2,600 per team of two and includes the following: 

  • 4-days of intensive professional learning 
  • (2) Energy Leadership Index assessments and group debrief
  • (6) Virtual Coaching or Consulting Sessions
  • (7) Professional Learning Modules to lead with your faculty 
  • (3) Collaborative Virtual Check-ins
  • (8) Recorded Webinars
  • Access to an online learning platform offering weekly support 
  • and MORE! 


To register your team please visit www.essdack.org/traumaresponsive.

For more information, please contact me: katieperez@essdack.org

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Just before 6 p.m. last night, I had started walking across the Lyman bridge from Vermont [across the Connecticut River] into New Hampshire, when I encountered a young man, seemingly distraught, on the bridge sidewalk. I merely said "hello", and during his reply, he said: "I need someone to talk to...". He was struggling to 'stand on his own'. As I listened briefly, he seemed despondent, and said he'd 'lost hope'. Before I could offer some, and write down the phone number of our local [suicide prevention] Hotline, on the piece of paper he'd handed me, we heard sirens approaching the bridge, from the Vermont side. Two fire trucks, and a police vehicle, turned into an area west of the bridge, but the young man took off running east, but he stopped to talk to another person at the east end of the bridge. When I arrived at that end of the bridge, I handed the young man the paper which I'd written the Hotline's phone number on. I would have liked to have had more time to listen, and share some 'hopeful' and pertinent resources concerning some other things he'd told me, but I didn't want to disclose what he'd told me earlier, to the person he was now talking with. ...