PJI Teachers Academy

The PJI Teachers Academy is a week-long intensive program designed for educators by educators.  This immersive cohort-based program supports teachers in reflecting on their lives and current practices with an eye to deepening equity in their hearts, minds, and classrooms.  Based on the latest neuroscience and teaching literature, participants will explore topics such as privilege, race, gender, LGBTQ, trauma, resilience, empathy, mindfulness, and missing histories while also building relationships and community with others.  Connect back with your love for teaching and share your experience and expertise with others as you move beyond compliance to connection in your vocation and with your students.  

PJI Academy Format
  1. Weeklong/5-Day Professional Development Session.
  2. PJI Academy Alumni support.
  3. PJI practices and tools for your spaces.
  4. Development Days and Retreats to dive deeper into equity topics and self-care.

Contact Information

PJI Academy Manager:
Lauri Lott
Phone: 407-582-2905
Email: LLott1@valenciacollege.edu

PJI Academy Email: PJIacademy@valenciacollege.edu

Summer 2022 Professional Development Workshops

We offer a week-long set of workshops totaling 40 hours of professional development, where participants are introduced to a set of pedagogical tools and theoretical frameworks that help create a peaceable and inclusive classroom. During these interactive and engaging sessions, participants explore transformational ways to discover resilient practices, explore their own identity, hidden bias, and life experiences to realize the impact these have on the selection and delivery of curriculum and teacher/student relationships. Through selected readings, written reflections, experiential activities, and dialogue, participants identify ways to expand inclusion and create a safe space for learning. Each participant is given access to all materials via our online learning platform, Canvas.

PJI Academy Tshirt


  • Employ pedagogical tools and theoretical frameworks to create peaceful, safe, and inclusive classrooms.
  • Explore identity, hidden bias, and life experiences to discover the impact these determiners have on curriculum and student engagement.
  • Support authentic dialogue, transform conflict and develop positive interdependence through the use of PJI’s Principles for How We Treat Each Other: Our Practice of Respect and Community Building.

Workshop Completion Expectations and Requirements

  • Attendance at the full week-long Session.
  • Completion of all reading assignments.
  • Open-minded and respectful approach toward participants and activities.
  • In-depth self-reflection and application.
  • In your professional and/or personal spaces of influence, implement the PJI Principles for How We Treat Each Other, use Windows and Mirrors when selecting materials, and integrate Serial Testimony for small group discussions.

Professional Development Certification

Many school districts award professional development and/or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to participants who complete the PJI Academy.  PJI will issue each participant who completes the PJI Academy a certificate and letter of professional development certification for 40 PD hours.

2022 Summer Workshop Sessions

In order to build capacity in our institutions and organizations, we encourage you to attend in teams of at least three participants, as individuals trying to implement change is a lonely place and often times a challenging space to be. 


Session 1:

Face-to-Face (place TBD)

Monday, June 6, 2022 - Friday, June 10, 2022

9:00am-4:00pm (EST) with 1 hour lunch break 

Session 1 Register Here


Session 2:

Face-to-Face (place TBD)

Monday, June 27, 2022 - Friday, July 1, 2022

9:00am-4:00pm (EST) with 1 hour lunch break

Session 2 Register Here 


Session 3: $800

Virtual via ZOOM

Sunday, July 17, 2022 7:00pm-8:30pm (EST)

Monday-Friday, July 18-22, 2022 9:00am-4:00pm (EST) with 1 hour lunch break

Session 3 Register Here


Summer Workshop Key Topics

We Teach Who We Are

  • PJI Principles for How We Treat Each Other, Our Practice of Respect and Community Building
  • Scholarship of the Self
  • Multicultural Selves
  • Using Windows and Mirrors
  • Mindfulness
  • Peaceful Communication Skills

Resilience Practices

  • Trauma-Informed spaces
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Resiliency
  • Restorative Practices
  • Emotional Intelligence

Missing Histories

  • Exploring the “Isms” through Personal Story
  • Culturally responsive teaching

 Invisible Knapsack

  • Systems of Privilege and Oppression
  • Cycle of Racism
  • Creating a Safe Space for Dialogue
  • Hidden Bias
  • Stereotyping and Microagressions 
  • Ally Work
  • Gender & LGBTQ awareness

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Become a PJI Academy Alumni

After completing the week-long summer PJI Academy, you will become an official PJI Academy Alumni and join many other education professionals who are working to create inclusive classrooms. You will find lots of support and connection with our facilitators and past participants in the hopes you will collaborate and share. Each Alumni will be invited to join our private Facebook group where we share articles, best practices and stories of our successes.

Implement PJI Practices

Alumni are expected to return to their institutions and implement some of the PJI practices they learned. This could be done in the classroom, the school or even in the district or community.

PJI Academy Alumni Professional Development

Alumni are invited to attend Professional Development Days throughout the fall and spring along with a special Alumni Retreat.

Fall Professional Learning Day

Saturday, October 16, 2021 9:00am-4:00pm (EST) via Zoom

Register HERE


Spring Professional Learning Day Coming Soon Register HERE
Fall PJI Retreat Saturday, November 6, 2021 9:00am-4:00pm (EST) via Zoom

Register HERE


Spring PJI Retreat

Friday, February 18, 2022 and Saturday , February 19, 2022 9:00am-4:00pm (EST)

in-person: place TBD

Register HERE


Summer PJI Retreat

Saturday, June 4, 2022 9:00am-4:00pm (EST)

in-person: place TBD

Register HERE



PJI Academy Alumni Schools & Organizations

More than 180 public and private school teachers, counselors, administrators, and professors have attended the PJI Teachers Academy since 2018.  

Early Learning

  • Early Learning Coalition, Orlando FL
  • Horizons Learning Center, Orlando FL

Elementary Schools

  • Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), Orlando FL
  • Canterbury School of Florida, St. Petersburg FL
  • Good Shepherd Catholic School, Orlando FL
  • Hungerford Elementary School, Eatonville FL
  • Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Leaders Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Montverde Academy, Montverde FL
  • Orange County Academy, Bithlo FL
  • Palm Lake Elementary School Orlando FL
  • Palmetto Elementary School, Orlando FL
  • Park Maitland School, Winter Park FL
  • Princeton Elementary School, Orlando FL
  • St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School, Tampa FL
  • The First Academy, Orlando FL

 Middle Schools

  • Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), Orlando, FL
  • Avalon Middle School, Orlando FL
  • Canterbury School of Florida, St. Petersburg FL
  • Good Shepherd Catholic School, Orlando FL
  • Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Leaders Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Montverde Academy, Montverde FL
  • Neptune Middle School, Kissimmee FL
  • Orange County Academy, Bithlo  FL
  • Robinswood Middle School, Orlando FL
  • St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School, Tampa FL

Community Organizations

  • Agape Perfecting Praise
  • Eckerd Connects
  • Florida Department of Health in Seminole County
  • Unity on the Space Coast
  • West Side Middle School Charleston, WV
 High Schools
  • Bishop Moore High School, Orlando FL
  • Boone High School, Orlando FL
  • Canterbury School of Florida, St. Petersburg FL
  • Celebration High School, Celebration FL
  • Evans High School, Orlando FL
  • Gateway High School, Kissimmee FL
  • Harmony High School, Harmony FL
  • Jones High School, Orlando FL
  • Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Leaders Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • Liberty High School, Kissimmee FL
  • Montverde Academy, Montverde FL
  • Neocity Academy, Kissimmee FL
  • Newton North High School, Newton MA
  • Orange County Academy, Bithlo FL
  • Osceola High School, Kissimmee FL
  • Osceola School for the Arts, Kissimmee FL
  • Professional and Technical High School (PATHS), Kissimmee FL
  • Poinciana High School, Kissimmee FL
  • St. Cloud High School, St. Cloud FL
  • Tohopekaliga High School, Kissimmee FL
  • Trinity Preparatory School, Orlando FL
  • University High School, Orlando, FL

Higher Ed. Institutions

  • FSU Center for Leadership & Social Change/PeaceJam Southeast
  • Hillsborough Community College, Tampa FL
  • Johnson County Community College, Overland Park KS
  • Lehman College, Bronx NY
  • Onondaga Community College, Syracuse NY
  • Pima Community College, Tucson AZ
  • Polk State College, FL
  • Stetson University, Deland FL
  • University of Central Florida (UCF) - Public Safety & Police, Victim Services Unit, Orlando FL
  • Valencia College, Orlando FL

Did you see us at a conference?


Valencia College Research Presentation January 13, 2021 and January 15, 2021

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Sanguiliano Lonski

League for Innovations March 1, 2021

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Sanguiliano Lonski, Hank Van Putten, and Lauri Lott

"Teacher Transformation Begins with Our Hearts and Principles"

Education is one of the few professions that has the ability to shape an entire generation. This Session will focus on the development of an equitable, diverse, and inclusive classroom through the use of the Peace and Justice Institute’s (PJI) Principles for How We Treat Each Other. Grounded in research and used in schools throughout the U.S., PJI’s principles have been considered the cornerstone of teacher, student, and classroom transformation. During this workshop, participants will discuss the principles, explore practical applications, and learn what the research has shown regarding teachers' personal and professional change related to the principles in classrooms.

Public Administration Research Conference March 19, 2021

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Sanguiliano Lonski, Hank Van Putten, and Lauri Lott

“Teaching in Troubled Times: The Link Between Social Justice, Inclusive Education, and Teacher Agency"

Public schools, often lauded for their potential to act as the great equalizer among all students, can also reproduce marginalization of those outside the dominant culture. State and district curriculum standards, which often dictate the content in classroom lessons, overemphasize the contributions of European and white Americans and perpetuate social norms. Using social justice and inclusive education (SJIE), teachers have the unique ability to disrupt the social reproduction of inequity within their content and curriculum. In order to do this, teachers must first understand social justice and inclusive education (knowledge) and feel comfortable and confident implementing it within their classroom (agency). 

This presentation is part of a larger UCF Public Administration dissertation and focuses on addressing the relationship between self-reported learned knowledge and skillset with implementation of an inclusive curriculum and teacher agency. The current presentation focuses on 13 public school teachers who attended a weeklong, professional development program with the Valencia Peace and Justice Institute Teachers Academy. The 40 hours of training concentrated on creating inclusive classrooms and spaces beginning first with the participant’s inner work, the heart of a teacher, around a model of restorative and resilience practices, before moving to teaching methods, chosen curriculum, classroom environment, and students’ learning. Topics explored included: mindfulness, restorative circles, emotional intelligence, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and resilience, missing histories, cycle of racism, systems of privilege and oppression, hidden bias and conflict transformation.

Conference on Academic Research in Education (CARE) June 14-15, 2021

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Sanguiliano Lonski, Hank Van Putten, and Lauri Lott

International Conference on Education and New Developments (END) June 26-28, 2021

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Sanguiliano Lonski, Hank Van Putten, and Lauri Lott

"Principles for How We Treat Each Other: Equitable Conversations in our Educational and Personal Spaces"

This workshop explores how the Peace and Justice Institute’s (PJI) Principles for “How We Treat Each Other: Our Practice of Respect and Community Building” can be used to promote social justice and equity in education.

While much of education is determined outside of the school, no other profession has the opportunity to promote equity, change, and social justice ideals to an entire generation. Through the daily lessons, classroom norms, and beliefs of the teacher, classrooms can disrupt inequity among students. PJI has worked with approximately 140 teachers in the week-long Teacher’s Academy over the past three years, and has been the subject of two research projects which identified profound personal and professional growth in teachers following their participation. This Session explores the basis of the PJI philosophy, and starts the discussion on social justice practices and norms applicable to a variety of settings. 

PJI Academy Alumni Impact

PJI Academy Teachers
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  •  From the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year I envisioned a trauma informed care community at my school. My approach has been and will continue to be trauma informed care first. Implementing a positive peer culture environment allows for a more peaceful and caring community all across the board.
    - Maritza Figueroa, MSW

    Liberty High School
    Orlando, FL

  • After I finished the PJI Academy, I received an envelope that has a certificate, a group picture, and a magazine. I took the picture out the next morning. I smiled as I was looking at the 30 faces including myself. I remembered each name, I can hear their laughter in my head, I remembered their stories, and the tears they shed during serial testimonies. I remembered the “goodbye” moments, the little tears that well in the eyes, and the genuine words and hugs. That scene was a great testimony about the importance of the 13 principles that I learned about during this week, and how they positively transformed a group of diverse people in a short time.
    - Fadia Ahmed Hussein

    Avalon Park Middle School
    Orlando, FL

  • Summer’s the time when teachers get to imagine.  During the school year, teaching ideas pop up but are quickly overwhelmed by the moment.  In the summer, we can finally get down to some serious daydreaming about how to make things happen.  PJI’s provocative discussions have helped me furnish these imaginary rooms.  I’ll return to school with a new mindfulness and a sense of urgency about the work this moment in history requires
    - Chris Sprouse

    Lake Highland Preparatory School
    Orlando, FL

  • Honestly to me this has been an educational retreat (mental, spiritual and emotional cleaning). Since day one I'm learning and reflecting in how I as a teacher could be better every day. I can reflect and recognize that I'm doing some things well, but I have a long way to improve.
    - María Cubero, Ed.D

    Boone High School
    Orlando, FL

  • PJI has given my colleagues and me a great many valuable tools and resources that I am confident will change the culture within each classroom, the school, and the surrounding community. This will have a far reaching, long lasting, potentially lifesaving impact.
    - Libby Boyette

    Orange County Academy
    Bithlo, FL

  • I am excited to share the 13 Principles for How We Treat Each Other with my students. These principles can be used in school, at home, in their future career, and most importantly with future generations; hopefully breaking the cycle of trauma and abuse. If all schools in our nation adopted the use of these 13 principles, I can only imagine how many ways this would positively impact our society.
    - Tonia Thompson

    Princeton Elementary School
    Orlando, FL

  • In these five days, though, I feel I finally came to understand what the best version of myself could look like and I’ve been set on that path. It has been transformative. It is life changing.
    - Brandy Eleazor

    Park Maitland School
    Maitland, FL

  • Transformative. Inspiring. Exhausting. Challenging. Encouraging.  These are just a few of the words I would use to describe my week at the Peace and Justice Institute PJI Academy.
    - Andrea DiBartolomeo

    Orange County Academy
    Bithlo, FL