Specializing in Correctional Education

Northstar Correctional Education Services


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"Their depth of knowledge about correctional education and experience working with correctional staff and inmates is invaluable.  Their expertise and experience is quickly recognized by correctional institution staff and inmates and this has facilitated productive and collegial working relationships at state prisons."

Stephen J. Meyer, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
RMC Research


I have learned two things after years of working with Cindy and Penny:
· They have different sets of impressive talents.
· Together they can create any system and solve any problem.

In fact, I call them the can-do team and have observed their genius first-hand.

Penny and Cindy hired me to do consulting work with both corrections employees and inmates.  They had developed systems for everything including opening a continuous line of updates, briefing me thoroughly on the important aspects of the environment, and coordinating all aspects of the projects from beginning to end.

I also observed their professional presence in the workplace.  Colleagues and inmates deferred to them for guidance and immediate solutions to problems, relying on them to put out fires.  I watched, impressed by their clear thinking, efficiency, and confidence.

They tell clients that Penny's talents include designing and building state of the art technical systems and projects, and that Cindy creates streamlined, effective education systems.  These delineations are too confining, however.

They can set up a new accounting system AND landscape the grounds.  They improve whatever they touch and bring the same creativity to life away from work.

They planned, trained for, and executed a yearlong cycling expedition throughout Europe, staying within their strict budget and managing all manner of weather, breakdowns and hardship.

Cindy and Penny are visionary problem-solvers who thrive on finding and creating stellar solutions to tough challenges.  Give them your shark-infested waters, and they will not only build the bridge, they will also tame the sharks.

Jennifer Sohn, Corporate Trainer
Vancourver, Washington
[email protected]

"The practical guide resource my friends Penny and Cindy are generously sharing was developed by two smart and dedicated correctional educators who know what they are talking about!"

John P. Linton
(Retired) Director of Correctional Education
U.S. Department of Education

Douglas R. Gray

I have known Cindy Borden and Penny Richardson for more than a decade.  I met Penny for the first time when she interviewed for a vocational instructor position on the opening of Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center. 

Penny’s immediate impression showcased her professionalism, knowledge, and skills, setting her apart from the other applicants.  I met Cindy after she accepted an offer to develop and deliver an unprecedented evening education program at Idaho State Correctional Institution using community volunteers.  The challenges each of these competent and dedicated women faced and overcame subsequent to their respective beginnings in the field of correctional education turned them into exemplary practitioners in this unique and specialized career. 

On hearing of their desire to step forward into the consulting arena I am only too pleased to have been asked to address in print how their individual strengths compliment each other’s when they work together as Northstar Correctional Education Services.

While I held the position of Bureau Chief of Education with the Idaho Department of Correction, Cindy and Penny completed the requirements for advanced educational degrees and credentials.  Cindy earned her principal license and Penny earned a Masters Degree in Education Technology.  With their educational preparation came opportunities for them to promote to administrative positions.  When they left the Robert Janss School (the accredited school operated within the correctional institutions operated by Idaho Department of Correction), each held the position of Education Program Manager, the second highest step in the hierarchy of Robert Janss School. 

Cindy acquired first-hand knowledge of the national issues facing the field of correctional education by serving as secretary and keeping minutes for bi-annual meetings of the Council of State Directors of Correctional Education while I served as President. These issues include the assessment of offender risk and need in determining placement in education programs, collaboration of diverse partners in offender reentry, the utilization of technology in the institutional classroom, and the identification of performance measures for accountability and the evaluation of education services.

Before leaving Robert Janss School, Cindy and Penny demonstrated effective teamwork and complimentary skills when assigned significant tasks addressing the aforementioned emerging trends.  Jointly, they implemented statewide educational technology while managing a $250,000 grant awarded by the J. A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to Robert Janss School.  They resumed educational services at community-, minimum-, and maximum-security prisons in Idaho, made possible by the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative.   Cindy brought creativity and determination to these projects; Penny contributed technological polish and attention to detail. 

Together, they achieved far more than either would have accomplished independently.  Their complementary skills and styles will doubtless serve them—and their customers—well in their new business.  Northstar Correctional Education Services offers diverse assistance to developing correctional education systems.  Its founders—Cindy Borden and Penny Richardson—have the competence and commitment necessary to assure success.

Douglas R. Gray, Principal
Principal and Superintendent
Correctional Education

Cathy Sher

I have worked with Cindy Borden and Penny Richardson over the past twelve years.  Individually and as a team, these consultants bring a broad spectrum of expertise in administration, instruction, and technology to the education table.  They are proficient in communication skills and critical thinking, and possess tireless work ethics.

As an artist working with incarcerated populations, I have first-hand experience watching Borden and Richardson strive to improve  the quality of education in corrections.  These women are what I call optimizers.  They consistently do the work of roughly half a dozen people.  They are efficient, energetic, and effective.  Borden and Richardson are dynamic professionals dedicated to excellence in every task they encounter.  They are, in essence, a two person "think tank" and would be an asset to any job that needs to be done to its fullest degree!

 Cathy Sher
 [email protected]

Patricia Roderick
Cindy and Penny put

    · the drive of training for a marathon
    · the discipline of crossing Europe in a year on bicycles, and
  • the dedication of implementing new correctional education programs into everything they do.

They are a great team.  Penny's analytical abilities and technological knowledge combined with Cindy's creative talents and presentation skills are a powerful blend.  Together they deliver a professional, high quality product.

Patricia Roderick, Correctional Educator
Boise, Idaho