American Values Are

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About was designed to promote civic education and civic engagement. Civic education leads to responsible citizenship. Responsible citizens are the core foundation of our democratic system.

Our guides are designed to facilitate dialogue about what it means to be a citizen, and to energize more Americans to be engaged in shaping and interacting with their own government. We also hope to be able to inform and educate people on how to engage in the dialogue that helps build common ground and minimizes partisan debate that divides and demoralizes us. We hope to encourage individuals to exchange ideas, thoughts, and concerns in a safe and comfortable environment, and by so doing build new relationships. Relationships that build on a shared sense of community are a true value for any democracy.

About Our People:

S.J.Read is a project of American Values Are, LLC, a company based in Columbia, Missouri, and created to promote non-partisan dialogue between citizens. S.J. Read is the president of American Values Are, LLC, an attorney, student of history, and concerned citizen. She received her BA, cum laude, from Yale University in 1978, and her Juris Doctor with the Order of the Coif from the University of Wisconsin in 1981. She also received training from the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, and attended the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. Ms. Read is also the president of The Communications Center, Inc. and provides communications training and coaching for individuals and organizations, consulting services, and facilitation services through the center.


Dave Overfelt is an Associate at The Communications Center, Inc and a PhD candidate in sociology at the Universitty of Missouri - Columbia. He received hi B.A. in sociology, Magna Cum Laude with honors, and his M.A. in sociology, with honors, from teh University of Missouri - Columbia.  Dave's research emphasizes the need for the sciences to engage with their broader communities. He is now also working with dialogue based urban development processes.  He has received several awards for excellence related to the practical application of his academic studies.  In addition to being an experienced teacher and researcher, Dave has spent the last several years working as a facilitator in the Columbia community on a range of issues. As an associate consultant at The Communications Center, Dave tracks current research on dialogue and facilitation practices, and assists with developing programs, and with facilitating dialogues in a variety of formats.

David Collier

David Collier is a contributing author for American Values Are, LLC and is currently working with Anna on a new guide. He has been with AMVA since the earliest stages, first as an intern and then as Director of Research. He has assisted with guides, the website, business plans, outreach, presentations, and conferences. He was the main researcher and author for the Accountability, Tolerance, Free Speech, and Mendacity guides. Dave graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA and MA in Classics with a one-year stint on a research fellowship in Italy. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado and is an avid follower of local, national, and international politics. He hope to see citizens break through the "sound-bytes" fed to them by the mainstream media and to think about the important - and complex - civic issues that face them. He thinks civic education through dialogue is central in providing citizens the confidence to do just that.

Janelle Day

Janelle designed the layout and graphics for the American Values guides. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2007 with a BA in Arts Education and in 2009 with an MA. She believes that art is a key medium for helping students involve themselves and engage with the world around them.


Anna Read

Anna volunteers in an editorial capacity, offering thoughts and advice on new guides and web materials.


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