Richard is the Executive Director of Restorative Initiatives with the Government of Nova Scotia and supports the development and use of a restorative approach across government and with community. Richard also led Nova Scotia’s Restorative Approach in Schools Project.
Before joining government, Richard worked with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education for 25 years, as a classroom teacher, vice principal, principal, safe schools consultant, and school administration supervisor.
Between 2005 and 2010 Richard worked with students, staff, caregivers, and community to adopt a restorative approach to education at École St. Catherine’s School (ESCS) in Halifax; over the 5 years of adopting a restorative approach, the ESCS community saw positive change to the school’s culture and climate, and gains in academic achievement.
Before his time working in schools, Richard worked for the Special Projects Division at the Department of Community Services where he developed inclusive outdoor experiential programs for young people.
dorothy vaandering is a professor in MUN’s Faculty of Education and the Director of Relationships First Newfoundland and Labrador (RFNL). She has been researching Restorative Justice in Education (RJE) for 15 years and is passionate about nurturing relational communities where all people are honoured as worthy and interconnected.
Learning to live relationally in all aspects of life is core to who she is. dorothy acknowledges that she is indebted to so many, young and old, who have been patient with her and accepted her for who she is so that she can now draw on life, teaching, and research experience to explore RJE.
In 2009, having worked for 20 years as a Primary-Elementary educator in Alberta and Ontario, she started work at Memorial University NL where she is a professor at the Faculty of Education. dorothy focuses on designing and implementing innovative, transformative professional learning approaches for the sustainable implementation of RJE. Engaging in making reconciliation real as a settler-Canadian has become a priority in her work.
She is the author and co-author of a variety of academic and professional publications including “The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education.” She is honoured to serve as Director of RFNL.
Nevra Ozoren Sener completed her bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Psychological Counseling in the Faculty of Education at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey as a high-honor student and was awarded a merit-based scholarship. She took various responsibilities at middle school and high school levels as guidance and psychological counselor, vice principal, and Advanced Placement psychology teacher during her nine-year experience in the field of education. In 2021, she started her master’s degree in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Her graduate research focuses on the approaches of teacher candidates and classroom teachers to classroom assessment and restorative justice in education in Newfoundland and Labrador. She was awarded “Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies" for her continued academic excellence throughout the program. Her research interests are classroom assessment, restorative justice in education, culturally responsive pedagogy, and teacher education in classroom assessment. She has been working as a graduate research assistant on various projects related to her research interests.
Sarah McDonald Moores is a graduate of Memorial University's Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Education: Educational Leadership Studies Programs. Throughout her learning journey Sarah has taken a keen interest in restorative justice in education and relational ways of being.
Sarah is currently seconded to Relationships First Newfoundland and Labrador (RFNL) from her position as music director (classroom music, choir, and band) at Crescent Collegiate in Blaketown, NL. Sarah has worked with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) in various positions since 2006, and recently began teaching the graduate course ED 6463: Rethinking Educational Engagement at Memorial University. In her current role as Restorative Justice Education Coordinator with RFNL, Sarah hopes to help those engaged in all levels of education to embrace holistic restorative justice as a way of being.
Sarah is a member of Lady Cove Women's Choir, and Projēkt Chamber Voices. She has been a featured soloist with both of these groups and has traveled all over the world with choral and instrumental groups as a chorister and as a conductor.
Roxanne Skanes is a NL retired teacher/administrator who utilized RF-RJ practices daily after participating in an intensive 2-week RJ PD for educators in 2012. She is a founding member of & presently a Mentor for RF-RJNL Consortium, as well as member of its Resource Committee & has received training in using RF-RJ to respond to critical incidents.
Émile Sopkowe is a grade 6 Intensive Core French teacher in the St John’s area. They have a masters in social justice education from Memorial University. Em is the vice president of the NLTA gender and sexual diversity special interest council (GSDSIC) and the 2022 winner of the NLTA Barnes award for professional development for teachers and curriculum development. They are the group facilitator for the trans youth group NL, for trans and gender diverse youth ages 12-17, and have facilitated GSA groups at the Elementary and Junior High level with both the English and Francophone school boards. Émile has facilitated restorative justice professional learning on behalf of Relationships First for early childhood educators and K-12 teachers and staff. They live in St. John’s with their family and a menagerie of furry and feathered friends.
Jodi is a settler in St. John’s, Ktaqmkuk, colonially known as Newfoundland and Labrador. A passionate advocate for justice, Jodi worked for over a decade in the K-12 formal education system to facilitate trauma-informed classrooms where students felt loved and supported. Leaving the traditional education system in 2022 to join the education team at Thrive, a community organization in St. John’s that fills social gaps, Jodi has been able to continue helping people realize their goals, while encouraging them to go slow. Jodi likes to spend her time reading and discussing ways to organize the anti-capitalist revolution, unlearning the exclusionary and harmful ways of existing that permeated the society that she grew up in, and working to stay soft, silly, and open to the wonders of the mundane. Jodi has most recently been exploring, learning, and reflecting on disability justice and the destruction of the binary. She also loves walking her puppies Toby and Radar in the woods.
Shelby Arnold is an educator who deeply believes in the importance of building relationships in the classroom. She works as a Learning Facilitator at Thrive in the Educational Initiatives, and has a background in drama, geography, and specific literacy instruction. What really is relationship building if not a perfect marriage of theatre and space? Shelby’s recent work is focused on bringing inclusive sexual health and pleasure-focused resources to educators in Newfoundland and Labrador.
While completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Memorial University in 2014, Emily stumbled across the extensive research showing that we can train our minds by practicing mindfulness -- that there are ways to make things that suck, suck less by changing our relationship with them.
In 2018 Emily moved to Ireland to complete a Master of Science in Mindfulness-Based Interventions from University College Dublin. Her training focuses on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which is a highly researched and evidence-based training program designed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979.
Mindfulness training can be therapeutic, however it differs from therapy; we learn how to let go of our usual thinking, story-telling, and analyzing modes by exploring what is actually here right now.
Emily offers sessions which are structured, interactive, and focus on stepping out of our usual self-narratives by cultivating present-moment awareness. Through learning evidence-based mindfulness techniques, people learn how to re-wire their brains, work with their inner dialogue, and live with more ease.
By becoming more present to what’s happening in our inner and outer worlds, we have the opportunity turn reactions into more creative responses. We all have minds that have minds of their own, and the good news is that we can do something about it!
Lesley Facey has been a classroom teacher for 18 years and is currently an elementary EFI teacher at Brookside Intermediate in Portugal Cove - St. Phillip’s, NL. She completed her B.Ed. (Prim/Elem) in 2005 and her M.Ed. in 2017 with a focus on Social Justice Education. Lesley has been applying restorative justice practices in her classroom to guide her teaching since completing her Masters. She believes in building positive relationships with students and families by getting to know them through talking circles and open dialogue. She encourages her students to grow in their capacity to be leaders in the classroom and guide their learning journeys. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other teachers who are interested in adopting similar approaches. In her free time, Lesley is a national level artistic gymnastics judge and enjoys playing violin. She lives in Paradise, NL with her husband, Doug and son, Kirill.
Jennifer has been a dedicated member of the teaching profession for over 11 years. Jennifer began working with NLESD in 2012 as a primary/elementary teacher and then went on to continue her work in Special Education in 2014. After working province wide in the K-12 school system as an Instructional Resource Teacher, Jennifer went on to complete her Master of Education in Counselling Psychology and has been working in private practice as as a substitute school counsellor when the opportunity presents itself. Jennifer has been a dedicated member of the Safe and Caring Schools committees of various schools and is currently a Department Head of Student Services in a metro area school. Jennifer is a proud member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Counsellors' and Psychologists' Association (NLCPA) and is a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) as a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) and naturotherapist (nd). Jennifer has been involved with restorative justice in Newfoundland and Labrador since her 6 day intensive with dorothy and Sarah last year and is eager to begin to implement change in how she facilitates teaching and learning non-curricular programming by interweaving elements of SEL with RJ.
Adrien is an educator, musician, actor, performer and director from St. John's, NL. He has been the music specialist for Vanier Elementary for 10 years and has a Bachelor of Music and Music Education from Memorial, where Adrien is also completing his Master of Education program. It is through his Master journey that Adrien developed an interest in and connection to restorative justice and the relationships first approach. The focus of Adrien’s Master’s studies has been to explore the relationship between vulnerability and learning. - How do we grow without first challenging ourselves to be comfortable with the unknown? How can we master skills through play without being comfortable with the inevitable ‘mistakes’? As educators or life-long learners, how can we embrace this mindset and model it for our students or peers?
For Adrien, his teaching style is largely derived from considering these questions and a relationships first view; If we seek to learn, we must seek to listen, watch, feel, and notice what others and our surroundings have to offer. We alone do not have all the answers, but through our shared togetherness, we can more sustainably reach our common goals.
Adrien has a passion for music, visual and performance art, and a keen interest in promoting the marginalized, oppressed, and divergent voices and perspectives. He believes strongly that as a global interconnected society this uplifting and empowering is where we have the most potential for learning.
Adrien is a founder of Projekt Chamber Voices, a new contemporary chamber choir in St. John's, and has performed extensively with Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, Newman Sound Men's Chorus, and Jazz East Big Band. In summers, Adrien also leads choirs and Orff ensembles at Suzuki Talent Education Program camp. On stage, Adrien performs regularly with Tada! Productions (Our Divas Do Christmas, La Cage aux Folles, Jesus Christ Superstar, White Christmas, Evita, Chicago) and Best Kind Productions (UrineTown, Avenue Q, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).
Adrien is looking forward to sharing what he has learned about rj from his lens in the classroom, the staff room, the podium, the community, and with ourselves. Indigenous stories and perspectives matter, all Children Matter, Black Lives Matter, and our Queer and Trans Youth Need Protecting.
Jessica Webb is a Program Development Specialist with the Department of Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador focusing on Safe, Caring and Inclusive Schools.
Previous work included almost 5 years as Program Itinerant for Safe and Inclusive Schools with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, facilitating professional learning about restorative justice in education to hundreds of teachers. Jessica also spent 20 years loving every minute of teaching science in junior high. Jessica has also been a per-course instructor at Memorial University for ED6463, Relationships First: Rethinking Educational Engagement.
Jessica has a passion for restorative justice along with diversity, equity, inclusion and reconciliation work. Jessica holds a Certificate in Restorative Justice (Simon Fraser) and is currently working towards a Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Mediation (Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo) including Advanced Peacemaking Circles. Jessica also volunteers with Community Justice Connect, which provides conflict resolution services to Indigenous, racialized and religious minority communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jessica’s goal is to build capacity for a holistic understanding of restorative justice in education.