Supervisor Training

Collective Leadership Supervisor Training

Training for Supervisors of Employees Directly Impacted by the Criminal Justice System and Working in Peer Mentor/Navigator and Other Credible Messenger Roles

This three-day training will take place on November 1st, November 22nd, and December 13th, 2019



A three-day course to deepen the supervisory practices that support job performance and growth for employees impacted by the criminal justice system.  Supervisors will strengthen their own capacity to convey workplace expectations and performance feedback, along with enhancing the employees’ capacity for initiative and leadership.  The course is offered over a six-week period to allow time for practice and reflection between training days.

This training was developed by John Jay College Prisoner Reentry Institute in partnership with advisors including employers and people with lived experience in the criminal justice system currently working in human services. 

PRI gratefully acknowledges support for the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

Skills development for supervisors:

  • Strengthen supervisory coaching and feedback skills
  • Foster your staff’s initiative, accountability and leadership
  • Use supervision practices to assess your own effectiveness and close the gap between intention and real impact on those you supervise
  • Deepen fundamental supervisory practices to work with all employees, including those impacted by trauma

Attendees who complete all three training days, field practice, and other required assignments will receive the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training Certificate from John Jay College’s Professional Studies.

Course Schedule & Logistics

Collective Leadership: Supervisor Training will be held on the John Jay College campus.  Breakfast and lunch will be served on all three training days.

Friday, November 1, 2019

  • 8:30am Breakfast
  • 9:00-5:00 Training

Friday, November 22, 2019

  • 8:30am Breakfast
  • 9:00-5:00 Training

Friday, December 13, 2019

  • 8:30am Breakfast
  • 9:00-5:00 Training

Who Should Apply?

Supervisors at nonprofit and government agencies who supervise employees directly impacted by the criminal justice system may apply for this course.  Supervisors of workplace volunteers who are impacted by the criminal justice system may also apply.  Agencies are encouraged to send teams of 2-3 supervisors to this training so they can build a community of practice and broaden impact across the organization.  Agencies are also encouraged to send two supervisory levels (i.e. supervisor and the supervisor’s manager).

Applications are also encouraged from supervisors at agencies that employ graduates of or currently enrolled students in PRI’s Navigator Certificate in Human Services & Community Justice.  It is very beneficial for organizations to have supervisors and staff trained in the same feedback tools and practices of collective leadership. 


  • Be 18+ to apply
  • Have current supervisory responsibility for staff who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system (supervisors of peer mentors, navigators, and other credible messenger roles). We will also accept applications from supervisors of volunteers who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system and working in peer roles
  • Commit to attending all three days of training: 11/1, 11/22, and 12/13 from 9am-5pm (breakfast from 8:30am-9:00am)
  • Commit to reading selected articles ahead of sessions
  • Commit to practicing skills between sessions and writing two brief journal assignments (these are one-page reflections about your supervision skill practice at work)
  • Submit an online application by October 14.

Why Train Supervisors?

Training for supervisors is often the best way to invest in the development of all employees and produce mission-consistent outcomes.  The supervisory practices taught in this course are foundational for supervisors of all staff, not only staff impacted by the criminal justice system.  However, targeted training to this group of supervisors has the potential to shift organizational culture at a crucial time, as more nonprofit and government agencies recognize the value of life experience and seek to hire and retain employees impacted by the criminal justice system.  These employees have powerful skills and a deep passion for the work, yet supervisors may find that they also need to develop new skills to meet job requirements and complement the rapport-building and participant-engagement elements of their jobs.  Tailored training for supervisors builds an organizational culture in which employees in peer mentor, navigator and credible messenger roles can thrive and advance. 

Supervisors must attend all three days, read assigned articles, practice skills in their workplace between sessions, and prepare two brief journal assignments reflecting on their experience practicing skills at work.

Instructor Bio: David Mensah, M.Div.

David Mensah is a lead instructor for PRI’s Navigator Certificate in Human Services & Community Justice, a semester-long, college-level course for people with lived experience in the criminal justice system seeking careers in human services, and for JLUSA’s Leading with Conviction (LwC) program, a year-long, cohort-based advanced leadership training for formerly incarcerated, mid-senior level leaders. He has also trained volunteer parent leaders for the NYC Department of Education’s Parent Leadership Institute.

In a career spanning 21 years, Mr. Mensah has spent 13 years in Executive Director positions, as well as 10 years as a youth and family counselor. Mr. Mensah has two BS degrees from Oregon State University, a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Bridgeport and a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. He has held faculty positions at Sacred Heart University, in Leadership Studies, at the University of Bridgeport, in Trauma Counseling, and an adjunct faculty position at Baruch College, in the School of Public Affairs.

For more information, contact Elena Sigman, Director of Collaborative Learning,

Three-Day Course Curriculum Overview

Day 1: Supervision & Leadership

An introduction to Collective Leadership as a foundation for supervision.  Supervisors will explore the principles of Responsibility, Self-Reflection and Feedback.  By strengthening their own practice of asking for feedback, supervisors will model collective leadership for direct reports and other staff.  Fundamentals of supervision covered on Day 1 include:

  • establishing and sustaining supervisory relationships
  • fostering independence and initiative
  • communicating effectively (with a focus on how the communication lands rather than the intention)
  • offering acknowledgment and recognition

Key learning objectives: supervisors will build their capacity to incorporate feedback tools into their supervisory practice.  Feedback tools taught in this session equip supervisors to have direct and non-judgmental conversations with staff on their team to give supervisory feedback and to receive feedback from their employees.  At the end of Day 1, supervisors will receive their first field practice assignment (workplace practice of tools taught in the training and one-page written journal about the practice).

Day 2: Supervision & Communication

Report back/discussion of field practice assignment followed by instruction and group practice in three areas:

  1. Supervision Coaching. Supervisors will learn the core coaching skill of supporting staff on their team to identify the barriers and solutions to the challenges they face. 
  2. Giving Feedback.  After practicing asking for feedback, supervisors will deepen skills of giving feedback to direct reports, and will explore building relationships that create openness to feedback.
  3. Trauma-Aware Supervision.  This module will focus on teambuilding skills to support the transformation of employees impacted by trauma through their own agency and their contributions as members of the workplace team.

Key learning objectives: Supervisors will build their capacity to support employees in moving past being stuck and into action with solutions that they have envisioned and own. Supervisors will also gain understanding of how trauma shows up in workplace behaviors and how to select an appropriate supervisory approach.  The goal here is not to turn supervisors into mental health providers, but to equip them to manage boundaries in supporting staff who are struggling.  Supervisors will receive their second field practice assignment.

Day 3: Supervision & Organizational Culture 

Report back/discussion of field practice assignment followed by instruction and group practice in two areas:

  1. Organizational culture. Supervisors will explore how culture impacts workplace expectations and norms and the role of supervisors in supporting employees’ successful integration of workplace expectations.  Supervisors will learn how to lean into the expected challenges when workplace cultures conflict with employees’ prior experience of criminal justice system cultures.
  2. Professional boundaries.  Supervisors will explore the supervisory practices that support staff as they identify workplace boundaries and negotiate the inevitable boundary challenges. 

Key learning objectives: Supervisors will learn to recognize organizational culture and workplace norms in their own organizations and build skills to convey these norms to supervisees.  During Day 3, supervisors will be asked to contribute “boundary challenges” from their own supervisory experience. Through large and small group practice, supervisors will increase their capacity to support direct reports in identifying and managing workplace boundaries.