Sawmill Restorative Practices: Vince Jackson & Kirk Smith

 Works / trains in K-12 schools /

Circle Experience

Kirk began using Circles while in the Army. The idea of including all in the reflection and decision-making process is known as the after-action-review, and involves all stakeholders, seeking to continuously improve processes. As an Instructor he used Circles to strengthen learning. In addition, as an Equal Opportunity Adviser he used Circles for focus groups while conducting climate surveys of Battalion ad Brigade-sized units. Further, he was certified as a Department of Defense mediator, and used Circles during some mediations and caucuses.

In public education both Vince and Kirk have used Circles in the model of Responsive Classroom and merged their prior experiences with new learning to maximize classroom inclusion and engagement.

Next, they included Circles when coaching and facilitating Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), merging Restorative Practices with PBIS to create positive and proactive strategies that include all and acknowledge good behaviors.

Because of this they were recruited to Minneapolis Public Schools, where they continued their participation in, and learning about, Circle, as District Program Facilitators for Positive School-Wide Engagement. In this position they learned more about restorative practices and Circles from the International Institute for Restorative Practices.

They have used Circles to create community, to teach content, to solicit information, to celebrate, to acknowledge, and to repair harm.

Areas of Interest and Service

We offer support with the individual and group journey into Restorative Practices. Further, we created and offer a course of study that educates about personal socialization, and how to affect the mindset change that is necessary for successful implementation of Restorative Practices.


Sawmill Restorative Practices came into being when Vince and Kirk began talking about successful strategies they used to create positive, productive working communities among adults and youth. Vince and Kirk realized that their combined experience allows them to deliver quality professional development to attendees. Having used these strategies with groups and in the classroom the courses are more than theory, but practical, and can usually be applied immediately in some fashion.

Kirk’s educational background includes Graduate Studies in Restorative Practices, a BA in Urban Elementary Education from Metropolitan State University, a certification as a U.S. Army Senior Instructor/Curriculum Writer, a certification as a U.S. Army Equal Opportunity Advisor from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, and Licensure in Basic Restorative Practices, Circles, and Restorative Conferencing from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. He is also certified to teach Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

Vince’s educational background includes a MA in Special Education from the University of St. Thomas and a BS in Mass Communications. He has a license in Basic Restorative Practices, Circles and Restorative Conferencing from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. He is also a certified instructor in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.

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