Kris Miner

Founder and Director of Circle Space Services

Kris has been providing Circle Training since 2004 and has facilitated numerous Circles in a variety of settings, ranging from prisons to kindergarten classrooms.   She brings engagement and passion to each of her trainings.  She has been a contracted trainer for several school districts across the United States and assisted with local and state initiatives to implement Restorative Practices.

Kris was initially trained in Restorative Justice in 1998. She received training from Kay Pranis, Oscar Reed & Jamie Williams, Nancy Riestenberg, Linda Wolfe, Mark Umbriet, Kay Longtin, Mark LaPointe and IIRP.

Professional Experience

Kris began working with River Falls High School, in 2005.  She took referrals for Restorative Justice and assisted staff in learning and implementing Restorative Practices.  Kris began to offer Circle Trainings in 2006.  She has trained 100’s of people that attended trainings and as an on-site consultant. She has worked with alternative schools, charter schools, public and private school settings.  Kris has an expertise in Classroom Circles and Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles.  She can train on the whole-school Restorative Practices, and on Circle facilitation.  Offering schools training, consultation and workshops is a specific mission of Circle Space Services.

Kris was trained as a Severe Crime and Violence Victim-Offender Dialogue Facilitator, by Mark Umbriet from the University of MN, Center for Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding.  She began to work with traffic fatality survivors and offenders related to impaired and/or intoxicated driving.  She helped numerous speakers prepare for telling their stories publicly with as most healing and impact as possible.

In 2010 Kris designed and implemented Restorative Response programming for survivors of suicide, homicide and traffic fatalities.  This included Circle sessions responding to complex grief and trauma.  Training sessions for survivors, advocates and staff were offered.  Circle sessions were also available to groups, families and individuals impacted by suicide, homicide, traffic fatality and drug overdose.

As a volunteer for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, she assisted and facilitated Victim Offender Dialogue cases and VOCARE (Victim Offender Community Restorative Experience) Circle sessions.  In August of 2015 Kris became the VOD/VOCARE Coordinator for the MN DOC.

Some of the Severe Crime Incidents she has facilitated include:

  • Offender and family member in an auto crash ending 3 lives (two children). Charges came 2 years after the incident.  After months of individual preparation meetings the two close in age, met twice.  A tearful and extended embrace at the end of the first meeting.  At the second meeting the family member gifted the offender a scrapbook of the deceased family members and quotes on forgiveness interspersed on the pages.
  • Large amounts of alcohol were involved in a college incident, where a young man died. Following a long trial and determination of not-guilty the second man involved, pled guilty to disorderly conduct.  A dialogue with the parents, and brother of the deceased was held with minimal preparation due to geography.
  • After decades a woman met with the man involved in the murder of her sibiling. She needed to ask him what her relative did that led to murder. She remembered things from the trial nearly 30 years past.  She wanted questions answered.  She also wanted to shake his hand, as he was the last person to touch her sibling alive.
  • Traffic fatality involving a teen driver and couple on a motorcycle. The teen went left on a green light.  The husband died shortly after arriving at the hospital, the wife saw the teens reaction at the crash and had a compassion for the accident that occurred.  The children of the deceased struggled.  A dialogue that involved the children at the table to exchange stories, with mothers in the room for support, and then the mothers exchanging stories was helpful for everyone involved.
  • Circle with a volunteer fire department following two incidents of fatalities.
  • Homicide of three children by their father. Provided Circle of support for the faith community children, 4 days after the crime.  Provided Circle for school staff, 2 months after the crime.  Provided support to survivors of similar parent/step-parent child homicides.
  • Driver of vehicle met with 3 daughters and the grand-daughter of the woman who died in a traffic crash. Daughters disclosed stories they had not anticipated, the oldest hugged and wept with the driver.  Conditions for court order were developed as an outcome of the meeting.
  • Provided support to inmate 16 years after double homicide, and exposure to Restorative Justice. A few years late survivor requested VOD.  Provided survivor, preparation and support before and after VOD.  Did not prep offender or attend actual VOD session.  Facilitated speaking engagements and opportunities for survivor to share her experience and the healing potential of Restorative Justice.

Kris also provides support and coaching on cases of severe crime.  She provides education and training sessions to facilitators for the MN Department of Corrections.  Services for training and facilitation can be arranged.  There is no charge to survivors.  Court-ordered restitution can be used to cover the cost of Circle Space Services case facilitation.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Specialist in restorative justice, promoting healing of trauma, and victim support. Specialized in Peacemaking Circles, severe crime and violence, training in school settings.
  • Leadership demonstrated by non-profit growth in budget, programs, staff, volunteers and community awareness.
  • Program implementation success demonstrated by nonprofit service growth from 35 to 3,051 individuals served (over 10 years).
  • Experienced in training school staff to facilitate Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles.  Trainer for teachers and education staff since 2005.  Skillful with implementation and school-wide Restorative Practices teaching and training.
  • Skilled in motivational interviewing and working with offenders to develop accountability on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
  • In-depth experience as a facilitator of Restorative Justice for severe crime and violence.
  • Strong written and verbal skills, successful grant writer, blogger, trainer and public speaker.
  • Program awards: Harvard Innovations in Community Government, American Probation & Parole Association, WI MADD, WI Governors Office and River Falls WI Area Chamber of Commerce.



Masters of Counseling 1994 – South Dakota State University, Brookings South Dakota
Bachelors of Science 1992 – South Dakota State University, Brookings South Dakota

Professional Experience

Communication & Outreach Director 2020-Present
South Dakota Grassland Coalition, Presho SD
Promoting the mission, vision, values and practices of the SD Grassland Coalition.  Coordinating social media, communications, projects and events.

Restorative Justice Consultant 2019 – Present
Generation Red Road, Sioux Falls SD
Red Road Approach to recovery and Red Road Approach Restorative Justice, training consultant.  Generation Red Road

Director/Chair 2015-present
Circle Space Services, Gregory SD
Founded non-profit, providing direct service and training for Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles in Schools, for Veterans and with Severe Crime and Violence. Providing training sessions to facilitate, implement and train others in Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles.

  • Responsible for all day-to-day operations including grant writing, financial management, contract and marketing.
  • Authoring training materials and detailing presentations and workshops to contract partners.
  • Providing collaborations and partnership management with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the University of Texas Restorative Justice Institute.

Major Contracts

  • OJJDP Tribal Youth Programs Technical Assistance Center – Indian Country Child Trauma Center – Oklahoma University Health Science Center (2017-2018)
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections VOCARE & VOD coordinator (2015-2016
    • Assisted and trained facility Restorative Justice Coordinators.  Prepared victims and community participants for Victim Offender Community a Restorative Experience (VOCARE) sessions.
    • Presented training and facilitated Peacemaking Circles with inmates.
  • Institute for Restorative Justice & Restorative Dialogue (2015-2016)
    • Lead trainer, assisted with the development and delivery of 5-day Restorative Discipline Coordinator Training.

Executive Director 2004- 2015
St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program River Falls, WI
Local non-profit serving a two county area and 90,000 community members, providing a range of restorative justice services, including victim impact panels, victim-offender Conferencing and Circles addressing conflict, underage consumption, controlled substance, teen driving and traumatic death by suicide, homicide, traffic fatality or overdose.

  • Director of all agency operations including service development, volunteer coordination, fundraising, financial management, board communication, strategic planning and community outreach.
  • Achieved significant program growth developing budget from $40,000 to $180,000 and annual client outreach from 35 to 3,051.
  • Developed and negotiated contractual agreements with Minnesota Department of Corrections and Dakota County Community Corrections.
  • Developed collaborations with area courts, law enforcement, human services, probation and school communities to provide respected services and cooperative working relationships.
  • Led project resulting in a public television documentary that aired 42 times to 2 million viewers each time.

Adjunct Professor 2008-2015

University of Wisconsin-River Falls River Fall, WI
Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice department providing an elective course to meet the requirements of a bachelors degree.

  • Developed course content, learning activities, evaluation process and facilitated semester- long courses in introductory and advanced restorative justice.
  • Engaged students and University in social justice issues and non-profit mission delivery.

Assistant Probation Aide 2005-2006
Dakota County Community Corrections South St. Paul, MN
Probation agent responsible for adult probation transfer cases. Process requests to other counties regarding supervision of residence. Gather data from court reports, computer programs and collateral contacts.

  • Manage caseload to ensure supervision and community safety. Referred to appropriate resources and engaged court and law enforcement when necessary.
  • Participated in unit meetings, staff development trainings and agency objectives.

Juvenile Justice Girls Group Facilitator 2004-2005
Restorative Justice Project, Amicus South St. Paul, MN
Contract position with Ramsey County Corrections – Juvenile Unit. Duties included co-facilitating girls group and Restorative Justice Circles in the Juvenile Detention Center.

  • Facilitated groups, circles, grant activities and one-to-one meetings with young women on probation.
  • Promoted positive school and community engagement.
  • Consulted with probation staff, advocated for youth and connected families to local service providers.

Children, Youth and Families Supervisor 2000-2004
Pierce County Human Services Ellsworth, WI
Child protection and juvenile justice units supervisor. Oversaw the supervision of 14 licensed social workers managing: intake, assessment, investigation, foster care, day care, juvenile court, case management, court orders, crisis intervention, emergency detention, independent living skills, parent aide services and out of home placements.

  • Implemented new child welfare standards, computer program, Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) and
  • Proactive Community Supervision (PCS).
  • Received a commendation from WI Governors Office for FGDM.
  • PCS featured in the WI Sheriff’s Magazine. Built partnerships between law enforcement and human services staff.

Adolescent and Families Caseworker 1997-2000
Olmstead County Rochester, MN
Provided therapeutic and case management services to families and adolescents adjudicated of a violent offense and meeting SED (serious emotional disturbance) criteria.

  • Teamed with probation, prepared court reports and attending hearings.
  • Managed the grant and reporting requirements necessary to maintain Federal funding.
  • Presented at child welfare conferences and workshops.
  • Clients were awarded scholarships and honors for demonstrating success and improvement.

University of South Dakota – Student Counseling Center 1996-1997
Catholic Family Services
 – Therapist 1996
Northeastern Mental Health Center – In home family therapist 1995-1996

Volunteer Experience

Board Member – Our Neighbors Place Homeless Shelter 2014-2015
Board Member – Kinnic Falls Half-way House 2009-2012
Crisis Response Team – University of South Dakota 1996-1997
Advocate – Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter 1992-1994