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Compass Profiles: Pamela Barker

posted Fri, Jun 01, 2018

Categories: Compass profiles


This summer, we will be highlighting members of the Compass Community.  This could include staff members, founding families, volunteers, board members, school designers, students or community partners.

Get to know us.


Staff: Pam Barker

Compass Culture Architect: Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices Specialist


Six Word Memoir: 

“Curiosity, nature, and movement kept me”

What’s your educational specialty/background?

I have a masters degree in educational psychology. My research and work explores the intersection of Social and Emotional Learning, Restorative Justice, and Transformational Learning. In my work with youth and adults I help them build critical skills for life, learning, and leading including self and social awareness, decision making and self-regulation, and the ability to build and maintain rewarding relationships. I believe that when students and the adults in their life develop and practice social and emotional skills they are more able to learn more effectively, meet challenges more successfully and engage in life more purposefully and with more joy.

Why Compass?

I am committed to the creation of Compass because at the foundation of the Compass model is the intention that learning and growth happens in relationship, that it is expected not only of students but also of teachers, staff, and family members, and that passion and purpose give meaning and power to the learning. Because of the inclusive nature of its ‘all stakeholders’ and partnership model, Compass will not only provide students with the academic skills they need to meet the future but it will have ripples beyond the school doors and strengthen and sustain the greater community.

Besides your specialty, what other talents and interests do you want to share with our community?

I enjoy connecting people and ideas to create opportunities where they may not be easily apparent. I also have a lot of fun volunteering in the City of Fort Collins Restorative Justice and Mediation program to make available a more effective justice for our youth and for victims of crime. I am especially interested in promoting understanding of adolescents as they navigate a rich developmental period so that parents, educators, and community members can help them become the best possible version of themselves.

What previous life experiences are you bringing to the Compass Community?

I am currently enjoying my third career. I was a house painter while working to become a Physical Therapist, a Landscape Designer/Gardner, and now an Educational Psychologist. I’m actually still all of those things! I understand the desire to explore different interests and what it takes to search for meaningful learning and work. I know how much can be gained by being willing to change, as well as the hard work, the occasional setbacks, and the resources and growth mindset it takes. Through it all I have developed skills essential for getting along, adapting to change, learning from mistakes and missteps, and setting and reaching goals. I hope to put my diverse experience and empathy to work at Compass to co-create a safe and inspiring place for students and educators alike to find their own meaningful learning and work.

What is your dream project/partnership at Compass?

There are so many! I’m really excited to have made the first exploration into a partnership with Compass students and the City of Fort Collins Restorative Justice and Mediation program. I plan to facilitate a partnership where students can be trained as peer community and facilitators in Restorative Justice processes, explore the differences between punitive and restorative justice, and become leaders in building a restorative community at Compass.

What do you believe?

I believe aligning your values with your actions leads to a rich and meaningful life.

What are five things that you know to be true?

I love my family, You can always learn a new way, Climate change is real, People are born with the capacity to love, I need a river in my life

What is one question that you are still searching for an answer to?

Is there a better way to learn than by surviving huge mistakes trying to do something you are emotionally invested in?

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Raising Charlie

If you could wake up tomorrow with one new quality or ability, what would it be?

Easy, end the desire/need/impulse for humans to engage in war

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?


What would constitute a “perfect day”?

75 degrees, sunny, mountain lake with things to jump off of, a comfy spot to sit and have a conversation with someone interesting and funny