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Summer e-Series 2022: (Re)Centering RJE - Aug 22-26, 2022
Presenters and Sessions


Shelby Arnold

Shelby Arnold is an alternative educator with Thrive in St. John’s. She was born on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory, what is called Kingston, Ontario. Shelby is a deeply curious learner, an advocate for young people outside the traditional school system, and a believer that we have to start with ourselves within this work. Shelby is playful, open, and one of her favourite places to be is in Paradise, Nova Scotia, at a little restaurant called “Pearle’s.”  Shelby sits on the advisory board for Relationships First, and is currently trying to grow vegetables at a community garden in Victoria Park.

Session: Fostering Relationships at Work: Workplace Culture and Restorative Justice

In this conversation, Shelby hopes to share stories, as well as invitations for exercises and opportunities for reflection that can help craft your workplace into a more restorative and relational place.


Courtney Clarke

Courtney began her teaching career in the Northwest Territories. While there, she learned many valuable lessons about what is actually learned in classrooms. After returning home to Newfoundland and becoming a mother, she began to see the educational system from a new perspective. This lead her to completing her master of education thesis entitled “Investigating the Use of Restorative Justice Circle Process in Individualized Education Plan Meetings”. Today, Courtney works for The Murphy Centre providing academic support to adults in a one-on-one environment where she can teach relationally.  

Session: How to apply the principles of RJ to interactions with parents / How to transform IEP meetings using RJ circle process

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Lesley Facey

Lesley Facey has been a classroom teacher for 17 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 gymnastics judge and enjoys playing violin. She lives in Paradise, NL with her husband, Doug and son, Kirill.


Practical lessons for implementing Restorative Justice practices in a classroom setting

How to begin implementing restorative justices practices in an elementary classroom starting from establishing trust through talking circles, engaging in mindfulness, creating talking pieces as a form of creative art expression and working through classroom conflicts.

Alice Hunt

Alice has three adult children and lives with her husband in scenic Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, about 10 miles outside of St. John's, Newfoundland. For the last 20 years, she has been teaching in both junior and senior high schools in the city and surrounding areas.

Alice began the Masters of Education Program in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum during the fall of 2014. In the summer of 2015, she was introduced to Restorative Justice Education and became quite passionate about it. Alice’s work focuses on Relationships First-Restorative Justice Education and its impact on the educational experience of students, educators, and parents/caregivers. In recent years, she has been involved in facilitating and co-facilitating professional learning for various school faculties as well as conducting parent/caregiver workshops on the topic of Relationships First-Restorative Justice Education in the local school district.


Relationships First Parenting/Caregiving: Building Connections and Improving Communication with your Child/Children through Restorative Practices

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Maria Dussan (she/her) is a migrant rights activist and an editor in training. She has been a community facilitator with Community Justice Connect (CJC) since March 2021 and is currently working as a summer student at the NL Human Rights Commission. Maria is also the current lead of the Anti-Racism Coalition NL’s Healthcare for All—an action committee to tackle lack of access to healthcare for migrants NL—and a member of the advisory committee of the National Alliance Project of Racialized, Refugee, and Im/migrant Women lead by Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). As an advocate, Maria fiercely believes in Status for All and border abolition. When not advocating, Maria can be found reading, writing, drinking coffee, or enjoying Newfoundland’s breathtaking outdoors.

Catherine Kelly, Carey Majid & Maria Dussan

Carey, Maria, and Catherine work on the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk [bee-oth-uck], whose culture was erased forever. We acknowledge the island of Ktaqmkuk [uk-dah-hum-gook] (Newfoundland) as the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq [mee-gum-maq]. We also acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassinan [ne-tass-eh-nen], the Inuit of Nunatsiavut [nu-nat-see-ah-vut], and the Inuit of NunatuKavut [nu-nah-tuhk-ah-vut].


Catherine Ann Kelly is the Lead Facilitator with Community Justice Connect, a new pilot program with the NL Human Rights Commission. Community Justice Connect is a community based service, where place people can find help to address concerns, conflicts and racism – direct, indirect or systemic. The program provides a variety of conflict resolution and restorative justice services to Indigenous, racialized, and religious minority communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.


Catherine holds a BA (Hons) in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Carleton University. She is trained in community engagement, restorative justice, peace circles, dialogue, deep rooted conflict analysis and is a certified Third Party Neutral. Catherine has been practicing and living RJ since the late 90s - in community, schools and most importantly, with her family. Catherine is also an End of Life doula and trained dementia care practitioner. Catherine serves as Past President to the St. Leonard’s Society of Canada.


Carey Majid is the Executive Director and C.E.O. of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is an independent at-arm’s length government agency that is responsible for promoting an understanding of, acceptance of, and compliance with the provisions of the Human Rights Act.


Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick.  She has over 20 years of legal experience and was recently elected a Bencher (Eastern District) of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Carey teaches the Law Society’s bar admission course on human rights and regularly presents on human rights and social justice issues to employers, government agencies and community groups.

Session: Community Justice Connect: centering restorative justice, anti-racism and anti-colonial ways of being

Carey will share reflections on education based human rights complaints. They will explore the tensions and possibilities with restorative justice and anti-racism, access to justice and building trust in community. Carey, Maria, and Catherine will explore the intersections of restorative justice, education and human rights.

Stephanie Lidstone

Stephanie Lidstone is an Instructional Resource Teacher with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. She holds a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Special Education and  recently completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Studies with a focus on Social Justice Education.  Stephanie’s teaching pedagogy is deeply rooted in the intentional nurturing of relationships and the creation of safe spaces that honor the dignity, worth and diversity of all learners. She is a trained restorative justice facilitator for serious harm and an advocate for non-exclusionary, restorative discipline practices. Stephanie’s other accomplishments include co-developing and delivering “Beginning to Bloom,” an Introduction to Restorative Justice Education for Early Childhood Educators, and acting as teacher coordinator in a number of schools for Best Buddies Canada, a program that builds friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities through social mentoring. When Stephanie has a little time to focus on herself, she enjoys gardening, glass painting and spending time with her family at their oceanside trailer.

Session: Cultivating Connection: The power of putting relationships first in education

The session focus will be placed on the relationship matrix, restorative questioning and seeing through the lens of others. Through the sharing and highlighting of key resources and personal stories, participants will discuss ways of cultivating connection with students.

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Veronica Madsen

Veronica is a member of the Metepenagiag Mi'gmaq Nation, New Brunswick.  A work opportunity brought her and her family to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006, where she now calls home. She attends Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUNL) and has acquired her BA and is continuing her education with a MA in Cultural Geography.  Research is her primary area of interest and community-led housing initiatives in northern Indigenous communities. She is presently working on her thesis with the community of Rádeyı̨lı̨ kó (Fort Good Hope), NWT, on their development of a transitional home for men.

Veronica's work and volunteer hours at the Indigenous Student Resource Centre, fill her need to help others, continually increase her knowledge of Mi'Kmaq culture and support other Indigenous students. 

Session (with Sarah McDonald and dorothy vaandering):

RF-RJE (Implementation Guide) Handbook for Schools: Thoughtful revisions that integrate Indigenous ways of being & knowing

The current RF-RJE Implementation Guide has been in use since 2018.  In that edition, though Indigenous roots of rj are acknowledged, very little content reflects authentic engagement. In this session, you will hear about the revisions underway that integrate Indigenous perspectives and practices. This current edition is being re-written  in a more equitable manner with clear input and insight from various Indigenous educators in the province. We look forward to sharing what we have learned in the last few years and how that is being reflected in our newest edition of this guide. In our live Q&A session, we hope you will give us your feedback.  

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Min Lu

Min Lu is an international student from China. Prior to coming to Memorial University in NL, she acquired a Master’s degree in Education from The Education University of Hong Kong. She is currently completing a second Master’s degree in Curriculum Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests include social justice, mindfulness in education, restorative justice in education, and teacher development. She was always interested in restorative justice even before she knew its name. She states: “I am deeply amazed by its principles because it acknowledges a simple fact that we are all interconnected as human beings. I am glad I found restorative justice, or rather, that it found me.”

Session: The impact of COVID-19 on teachers Restorative Justice in Education (RJE) practice in Newfoundland and Labrador

This session aims to:

  • Demonstrate how COVID-19 has affected teachers’ RJE practice in NL

  • Engage the audience to self-reflect on their RJE experience

  • Provoke thoughts on how to continue RJE beyond COVID-19

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Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald is a graduate of Memorial University's Master of Educational Leadership Studies program, having previously completed her Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Music Education at Memorial University. Throughout her schooling, Sarah has taken a keen interest in Restorative Justice and Indigenous knowledge and ways of being. Sarah is a current 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. Sarah is the music director at Crescent Collegiate in Blaketown, NL where she is responsible for classroom music, band, and choir.

Session: Striving for Harmony: Relationality in Music, Restorative Justice, and Indigenous Education

Current education systems place teachers and administrators in positions of ultimate power. Learning about and embracing the principles and practices of restorative justice in education provides us with an opportunity to adapt the actual structure. This session will give insight into one music educator’s journey toward understanding how to connect music, restorative justice, and Indigenous education so that each pedagogy strengthens the other. Relationality and harmonious learning is highlighted, along with key information about the practice of circle keeping. Presenter Sarah McDonald has developed a web-based resource ( which is available to educators with all levels of understanding and experience in implementing Indigenous education-informed restorative justice classroom practices.

Penny Pinsent, Margaret Cranford, Deon Perry & Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli

Penny Pinsent is entering her 28th year of teaching with the NLESD.  While she enjoys teaching through the arts and learning different languages, her true passion is empowering all students to succeed and to make the world a better place.  For this reason she chose to continue as a classroom teacher following the completion of her Masters of Education degree in School Counseling.  She was introduced to Restorative Justice/Relationships First by Dr. Dorothy Vaandering and Dr. Rose Ricciardelli and now leads the RJ/RF Core Team at St. Mary's Elem. School in St. John's, NL.  Penny enjoys opportunities to support the growth of restorative practices and mentors colleagues, families and other educators in this “way of being” through co-facilitating training sessions and the provincial Restorative Justice in Education monthly café.

Margaret Cranford is a Mi’kmaw Knowledge Keeper who is originally from Ewipkik (Flat Bay), Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). She presently resides in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the mother of one beautiful daughter named Nicole.  Margaret is a self-employed Multi-Media Indigenous Artist who uses art to promote mental wellness while sharing the beauty of the Mi’kmaw Culture. She has volunteered as an artist for the Children’s Wish Foundation for NL for seven years, helping to provide wishes for children with terminal illnesses.  She is also an advocate for the MMIWG, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls where she continues to facilitate the important work of healing through a Restorative Justice lens. Margaret firmly believes that building strong relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is the key to moving reconciliation forward and welcomes opportunities to share Indigenous knowledge with today’s youth. 

Deon Perry has had many roles in the field of education including a classroom teacher (Canada and England), curriculum support teacher, literacy coordinator for a community non-profit, editor at Scholastic Canada and school administrator.  He was introduced to Restorative Justice/Relationships First by Penny Pinsent when he became the principal at St. Mary’s Elementary. Deon is a firm believer in the importance of respect, compassion, dignity, honesty, openness, and growth; all of which are the guiding principles of restorative justice.

Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli is Professor (PhD, Sociology) in the School of Maritime Studies and Research Chair in Safety, Security, and Wellness, at Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute. Elected to the Royal Society of Canada, her research centers on evolving understandings of gender, vulnerabilities, risk, and experiences and issues within different facets of the criminal justice system and among mariners. She has published 11 books, over 190 journal articles and nearly 50 chapters all in the areas of PSP, criminalized persons, and wellness – broadly defined. As a sex and gender researcher, her interests lay in the social health, identity construction, and lived experiences of individuals.

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Session: Promoting Reconciliation Through Land Acknowledgements

The focus of this project was to experience the development of relationships,  the meaning behind them and how they collectively inform reconciliation. It focuses on our school’s Lead Learner Project: Promoting Reconciliation Through Land Acknowledgements where our Grade 6 ICF students worked with Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Margaret Cranford, to create their own land acknowledgement.  During this process, as they developed a relationship with Margaret,  they learned about the interconnectedness of the land, water and humanity through the sharing of Indigenous stories, traditions and art.  As students developed a strong connection to Margaret, they also asked the hard questions on treaty agreements, residential schools and other elements that impacted the historic relationship. Further, through our demonstration of understanding, interpretation and acceptance, we modeled growth through relationships.


This session will include the video of the land acknowledgement which was presented in 12 different languages to represent the diversity of St. Mary's Elementary. 


Objectives for this Session:

1. Participants will understand the impact of having relationships with Indigenous people  on reconciliation.

2. Participants will view an example of a project which can move reconciliation forward through relationships with Indigenous people.

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dorothy vaandering & Rod Jeddore

dorothy vaandering:

Learning to live relationally in all aspects of life, is core to who I am.  I am indebted to so many-young and old-who have been patient with me and accepted me for who I am so that I can now draw on life experience, teaching experience and   research experience to explore the implementation and sustainability of restorative justice in education.  After being a Primary-Elementary educator for 20 years, I am currently a professor at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University, Newfoundland, and Labrador where I focus on designing and implementing innovative, transformative professional learning approaches. Engaging in reconciliation as a settler-Canadian has become a priority in my work. I am the author and co-author of a variety of academic and professional publications including The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education. I am also the Director of Relationships First: Restorative Justice Consortium in NL.


Rod Jeddore: 

I am Mi’kmaq, 52 years young, and the proud father of two boys Brent, Liam, and husband of a beautiful wife Susan. These are my greatest accomplishment. I also have two wonderful step children Paul and Mahalia and 2 lovely Grandchildren.  I am the General Manager in Conne River on the First Nation reserve of Miawpukek. I have been the General Manager for a few months and was  Director of Education for 15 years. Prior to that I was a Teacher/Administrator at the same school for 14 years. I served 12 years on Chief and Council of my community in various roles. I have a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick and Masters of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. I have served as an Aboriginal Advisor for MUN Medicine, RCMP and the Department of Education in a variety of roles. I support and promote our strong Mi’kmaq Values and virtues (Respect, Love, Truth, Honesty, Humility, Wisdom and Courage). I believe we can all make a difference.

Welcome Session: (Re)Centering RJE

There is no question that rje has much to offer education in NL. But what exactly does it offer?  Does it truly deserve to take a central role?  How do we (re)centre it as we move into a new academic year? 

Don’t miss the opening session as dorothy vaandering and Rod Jeddore welcome you to the RF-RJE Summer Institute-2022 with a dialogue that challenges us to understand how to better honour Indigenous ways of being and knowing in our efforts to (re)center rje.  We begin this time together grappling with our personal and collective values that shape our actions. 

Jennifer Brown

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Em Sopkowe

Em 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 trans support NL’s youth group for trans and gender diverse youth ages 12-17. They also volunteer for PPNLs warmline for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Em has facilitated restorative justice professional learning on behalf of Relationships First for early childhood educators and primary-elementary teachers and staff. They live in St. John’s with too many huskies and some teenagers.

Session: How RJE intersects with honouring Queer and 2SLGBTQ+ students in our schools


In this session, there will be a brief outline some of the challenges facing 2SLGBTQ+ students and adults in our schools, with a particluar focus on transgender students. The recorded session will begin with a brief introduction to queer/trans terminology,, to ensure that participants have context for the language that Em may be using, in particular the word “Queer.” The recorded session would introduce some of the challenges facing 2SLGBTQ+ students and adults in our schools, and how restorative approaches might benefit or impact individuals and the community.

In the in person session, Em will facilitate a conversation around how principles of RJE can support queer students, with a focus on relationship building and on the harm that schools and schooling as we know have had and can have on the queer communty. The goal of the sessions is to gain some collective understanding of what we need to do to empower queer students and staff in our schools.

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Jennifer has been an Early Childhood Educator for more than 25 years and has co-learned in play-based environments with children of various ages.  Since completing her Early Childhood Education Diploma and degree in Psychology many years ago, Jennifer continues to learn and grow, and is fascinated by how relationships shape learning.  Spending time as Manager within two different child care settings gave her a new perspective on creating child-centred environments.  Jennifer has had roles within the public sector as a consultant providing support and guidance to early learning staff within licensed child care centres as well as Library Assistant engaging children and families in a variety of programs.  In 2020-2021, Jennifer was energized by her work as an instructor for Early Childhood Education students.  The students’ activism in creating just and supportive learning environments continues to inspire her.  Jennifer is passionate about the rights of children and creating communities where they can thrive.

Session: (Re)Centering Relationships in the Early Years

How do we create early learning environments that are honouring and (re)centre relationships?  Jen will discuss the qualities of healthy early learning environments.  We'll also take a look at how elements of Circle theory align with Early Childhood Education and how NL's Early Childhood Learning Framework centres relationships.  A series of reflective questions  will help us to think about our work and how we can honour others more fully.

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