Karen Tucker became passionate about Conflict Resolution in 1995 when she first trained as a mediator through USM. She worked in the Portland area as a program coordinator for Community and/or Restorative Justice Processes from 1999 to 2006. In this capacity, she gained experience first at the Community Mediation Center in Portland, then at Youth Alternatives (now Opportunity Alliance), coaching mediators and coordinating mediations and Victim/Offender Conferences. During this time, Karen also volunteered in the Cumberland County Jail and at the Windham Correctional Center facilitating Alternative to Violence Project workshops for those inside the walls.
Karen moved to Gardiner in 2004, where she currently works in Public Health at Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (HCCA), the local Healthy Maine Partnership, as Communication and Outreach Coordinator. In this role, she coordinates several different programs and helps get the word out into the community about the many public health programs and initiatives housed there.
You will see Karen active in her community volunteering at the Gardiner Food Co-op, on various community initiatives, ushering at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, mediating Small Claims cases in Maine’s Court Alternative Dispute Resolution program and dancing whenever possible.
Karen is thrilled to be a part of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine, joining with others supporting restorative practices where they already exist and growing restorative initiatives in Maine communities and institutions.
Karen is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono with a BA Communications and Lesley University in Cambridge, MA with a Master's in Training and Organizational Development.
Heather Halsey is a farmer, school psychologist, educator, and literature lover whose concern for social justice has been a driving force in her primary work with youth and with food system change. As a School Psychologist she has focused on preventing academic and behavior difficulties through whole-school approaches. As a farmer she has advocated for food system reform that includes preserving the land for future generations , increasing access to healthy local foods across socioeconomic boundaries, farm to school work, and equity for farmers. Heather holds an undergraduate degree in literature from Harvard University, where her thesis focused on fictional portrayals of psychological trauma in contemporary literature. She holds a Master's Degree in Education and a Doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she conducted research about the efficacy and treatment integrity of parent-led interventions using alphabet books to improve the early literacy skills of five year old children. Her current work with homeless teenagers has led her to increased connection with youth who have been harmed, and has motivated her to engage in thinking on a deep level about community healing when harm has been done.Her interest in Restorative Practices has been ignited by seeing how this work could help transform school culture, and by the possibility of promoting healing in individuals and communities that have experienced trauma. She is excited to gain experience with Restorative Justice Practices through her work as a Restorative Processes Facilitator.
Ashley is a trained conference facilitator for the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine. She is actively working with the BARC (Bangor Area Restorative Collaborative) group to assist juveniles in their obligations to repair the harms that they have committed upon others.
Ashley lives in Hampden with her two Pomeranian puppies and her kitten. She has completed two years of schooling through Husson University and three years of schooling through the University of Maine - Augusta/ Bangor campuses. Her major is criminal justice and psychology. Recently she has begun working at a local rehabilitation facility for substance abusers and is practicing her restorative techniques with the clients there as well.
Michelle L. Dion-Bernier
Michelle is currently a Math Teacher and a restorative practice committee member beginning the process of bringing the Restorative Justice program to Biddeford High School. She became trained in the coaching process in 2015 and is now working towards becoming a facilitator for RJI. She became rejuvenated in the process at her last training session with us. Michelle is a life long supporter of conflict resolution and restorative practices. Michelle felt compelled to join our team. Her philosophy on RJI is that she believes that we all deserve chances if we are willing to take responsibility and work towards a common outcome that allows healing and forgiveness. She has also taught at the Intermediate School in Biddeford and worked at the elementary and middle/high school level in Sicily.
Michelle holds degrees in Fine Arts and Education from Regis College. She is currently working on her psychology degree in counseling psychology as well as finishing up her math course load.
When Michelle is not in school you can find her cheering on her daughter at her sporting events and playing with their dogs, Max and Mya. She enjoys scrapbooking, swimming and spending time with friends.
Amanda Hoag is a Vermont native who has made home and community within the beautiful coast of Maine. A student at Lesley University and a graduate from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in International Relations; Political Science & Spanish, Amanda has been involved in many projects and activities in Maine over the past decade. She is a big picture thinker and loves connecting people with one another, helping to meet various community needs. Stumbling upon Restorative Justice practices only during the past year, Amanda feels grateful to have finally found others speaking her language! She spends the majority of her time enjoying her two elementary-aged daughters and hopes to impart the importance of Restorative Practice into their world views.
Most of my career has been working with at-risk youth in one capacity or another, such as working at a group home, connecting homeless kids to education, and teaching leadership and self-advocacy skills. I took a slight detour to run a store in Brunswick selling sustainable living supplies, but after closing that business, returned to working with kids. A friend in a different part of the state who volunteered with a restorative justice group told me about her work. I joined as well, and was delighted to find such a philosophy operating in Maine. The focus on honesty, accountability, repair, and re-engagement in the community is so powerful, both for young people and those impacted by their actions. When RJI was looking for facilitators close to my home, I jumped at the chance.
Ginny Fowles Ward has spent the past 15 years working with low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students to help them achieve their dream of a college education through the TRIO Upward Bound program at Bowdoin College. Looking for new ways of fostering a community of respect, responsibility, and tolerance and a curiosity about alternatives to zero tolerance in schools lead her to learn more about Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices in Schools. After just one Circles training with Suffolk University Restorative Justice Project Ginny quickly became a disciple of Circles and has used them with both students and staff to strengthen community, build relationships, solve problems, and address conflict & interpersonal harm. A native Mainer who grew up in Camden, Ginny loves being in, on, or near the water, writing, reading, camping, and any crafty endeavors involving paper and beads. Ginny holds a Bachelors Degree from Colby College and a Masters in Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work. She lives in Bath with her husband and mini-schnauzers Jack & Ivan.
Bill Robitzek concluded his 35 year career as a Maine trial attorney at the end of 2014. Since then he has worked as a consultant to attorneys involved in complex litigation, a mentor to young lawyers, and as a mediator. In this latter role, he joined up with the Restorative Justice Institute because of his interest in resolving conflicts and helping to heal wounds inflicted by crime and the criminal justice system.
I am drawn to the work of Restorative Justice through a belief in the importance of empowering people and restoring community through healing relationships. Outside of RJI, I am studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling which I believe has a similar quality of service, connection, and restoration. I am honored to be working for RJI as a Facilitator in the Brunswick area.
Darren Wallach has taught Social Studies and Environmental Studies throughout New England for 15 years. He currently teaches U.S. History and World History in Brunswick. A Maine native, Darren earned a B.A. in History at George Washington University and an M.A. in American & New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine. Darren has taught in the New York mountains, Urban schools in Boston and several Maine High School and Middle schools. Darren served in Jesuit Volunteer Corps, teaching English in a small Himalayan village in Nepal. In 2010 he completed the Rotary Peace Fellowship in Bangkok, Thailand studying conflict resolution with distinguished fellows from across the globe. Darren often uses Peace Education in the classroom and is excited to work outside the school on community reconciliation through Restorative Justice practices.
Alli Nolan comes from the small town of South Paris, Maine and graduated from Colby College in 2014 with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Education. After graduation, Alli found her way to Tree Street Youth, an after school and summer program based in downtown Lewiston, Maine where she works as the BRANCHES Program Coordinator. It was through working with the vibrant youth at Tree Street that she learned about restorative justice practices and how it can be applied to promote healing and growth in communities like downtown Lewiston. Alli is very excited at the opportunity to work as a Restorative Process Facilitator and continue to share restorative practices with others. Outside of her work, she loves cooking Cuban food, doing Insanity workouts, and exploring graphic design.
Kelsey was born and raised in Presque Isle where she proudly lived up to the County stereotype of spending way too much time in potato fields. Living in Presque Isle allowed Kelsey to cultivate her appreciation for the balance between having a gritty work ethic and taking the time to admire the unique beauty of the present moment. She carried those values with her when she moved “south” to study psychology and philosophy at Colby College in Waterville. While there, Kelsey had the privilege of traveling to Rwanda for 3.5 months to study post-genocide reconciliation and peace building. Her encounters with various people and places in Rwanda sparked her deep investigation of questions like, “what factors promote violent behavior?”, “what factors prevent people from taking part in massive acts of violence?” and “how is collective and individual healing possible after massive acts of violence?” Her experiences in Rwanda and her investigative nature are core driving forces in her current efforts to better understand restorative justice and share restorative practices with others.
Kelsey moved to Lewiston in September 2014 for an internship at Tree Street Youth. She met the RJIM staff and other restorative justice practitioners at a training by Kay Pranis in the fall. The training ended up being one of those life experiences that retrospectively seems like it was just meant to happen. It was the door that opened up ongoing conversations with the RJIM staff and Lewiston community members about how to promote sustainable restorative practices in Lewiston. These conversations have since led to her more formal role at RJIM as well as her participation in collaborative work focused on reducing disproportionate minority contact in Lewiston. She is grateful for the abundant support and wisdom that she has already received from staff at the RJIM. She is extremely excited and curious about how her relationship with the RJIM can contribute to the overarching goal of spreading restorative justice throughout Maine.
Chris has worked with at risk youth at a residential treatment facility for five years prior to managing a clinical in-home support program for youth and families for eight years. She is currently working in local public health for the Oxford Hills area and is also an advocate for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Service’s western district.
Chris holds a Bachelors of Science degree in both Social and Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and Organizational Studies. Her interests include nature, youth development, mental health, substance abuse prevention, aging in place, and connecting people to resources through partnerships, gifts, and needs.
Dave is currently a Spanish teacher and restorative practices coach for the Oxford Hills School District. He conducts trainings in restorative practices and running circles in area schools. He has also taught life and physical sciences in private schools in both the US and in Mexico. He helped found the Oxford Hills Restorative Justice Collaborative, which is now working with the RJIM.
Dave is finishing a Master's Degree in Restorative Practices from the International Institute for Restorative Practices and is a licensed restorative practices trainer for the IIRP.
Dave runs a no-spray strawberry farm with his wife and son in Oxford, Maine, and enjoys playing fiddle and mandolin. He is an avid cyclist and restores classic VW bugs and buses.
My name is Matt McGreevy and I’m excited to be joining Restorative Justice. I currently reside in Western Maine, but have lived in Bar Harbor, Aroostook County, Portland, and Vinalhaven island, where I taught at the community school for four years. I am a high school special education teacher and I enjoy outdoor activities in my free time. My wife, Jessica is an experienced math teacher who both attended and taught at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. My older daughter, Charlotte is in second grade, loves cats, and is an avid alpine skier. My youngest, Harper is a Sharpie enthusiast and uses them to decorate papers, dolls, clothes, and walls indiscriminately.
As a special educator in schools around the state, I witnessed students flounder in the confines of our traditional school disciplinary systems. Although I had some limited training in restorative practices in 2004, when I took a job at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, I was re-introduced to Restorative Practices in the classroom. It improved my teaching and helped many of my struggling students to be successful in school and beyond. The restorative process is a step forward in how we interact; rather than working to avoid punishment, children’s interactions improve with sensitivity toward their impact on others and an appreciation of their places in the community.
Ann Naimie is currently conducting research in preparation for her Higher Education Administration dissertation on globalization and is very passionate about advancing Restorative Justice.
Ann has formally been involved in Restorative Justice nationally and internationally since 2005. As an International Administrator and educator Ann has travelled extensively, initially it was while studying internationally that Ann recognized the profound significance of Restorative Justice. Critical experiences and issues related to human and natural resource rights serve as a driving force in Ann’s work.. Her previous experience includes research pertaining to Child Soldiers, Genocide, and Cultural Studies at Harvard University. Ann’s direct engagements includes religious freedom and expression (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), Violence Against Women, Native American Rights, and access to natural resources in the US. Witnessing the healing power of Restorative Justice and the human (physical and psychological) and environmental devastation, which too often occurs, in its absence is proud to be a member Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.
A mother of six, Ann can often be found anywhere books gather and at Starbucks anywhere and everywhere!
Marisa Turesky advocates with communities to build power around issues of labor, gender, and food access. She began her activist career during primary school when she built coalitions to increase students’ access to community-based foods and continued doing so during college throughout the Northeast Region of America as well as the Netherlands. Marisa was selected for the People For the American Way Foundation’s social justice and leadership development program, Young People For (YP4). Since her fellowship, she has worked with YP4 to facilitate leadership trainings and mentor college activists across the country. While living in Amsterdam, Marisa published about women farmers’ interaction with technology and how that shapes power structures and gender norms on their farms in the Netherlands. Picking up where her great-grandmother left off, Marisa was a union organizer as a Jewish Organizing Institute and Network Fellow. She organized human service workers as well as resident physicians to help them advocate for their legal rights and responsibilities on the job. Having grown up in Maine, Marisa is pleased to return home and gear her passion for social justice and community development toward facilitating with RJIM. She is grateful to have the opportunity to help repair relationships and communities using an innovative and effective restorative justice model.
aryn Walker is a coach with the Restorative Justice Institute. In this capacity, she has the opportunity to work with facilitators as they grow in their knowledge of restorative justice through supporting their local communities Initiatives. Working with newly trained restorative process facilitators as they hone their skills and develop capacity to be lead facilitators.
Taryn holds a Master's degree in Educational Philosophy from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. Outside of RJIM she works at Allen Ave. Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland as the Director of Education. As an experiential educator herself she cares deeply about learning and growing. She has a background in wilderness therapy, with over 19 years of working with adjudicated youth and adults.
She first started working with the Restorative Justice model with a Youth and Family Drug and Alcohol agency in Chicago over ten years ago. Then teaching several cross cultural undergraduate courses on New Zealand's use of Restorative Justice in the men's prison. Also, was a part starting an adult men's program based on restorative and healing practices to help transition out of prison in Harrisburg, PA.