LEADERSHIP

Stella Connell Levy, JD  

Founder/President 

stella@restorativeschoolsproject.org

Stella Levy JD, draws on her educational experiences in the segregated south, her professional background in law and a lifetime of civil rights advocacy in her leadership of the Restorative Schools Vision Project. As a former public school teacher, Stella understands the systemic obstacles that students, teachers and parents face in creating a culture of success. In response to those obstacles, Stella founded Restorative Schools Vision Project, a civil rights nonprofit dedicated to ending the school-to-prison pipeline through Restorative Justice advocacy, training and education. RSVP provides school-based restorative justice professional development, training and policy consultation to teacher organizations, systems leaders and policymakers across California. Today, Stella has built RSVP into California’s leading Restorative Justice public advocacy and training nonprofit.

Richard Jaffee Cohen, JD  

Board Member/Senior Trainer

richard@restorativeschoolsproject.org (916) 213-5089

Richard was born in West VA and remembers going into the coal fields with his father. The family moved to the Sunshine State when he was 12 where he stayed through college then moved to Texas for the Air Force Reserves and Law School.  He served on the founding faculty of New Zealand’s first bi-cultural (Maori/Anglo) Law School in Hamilton where he taught and practiced Narrative Mediation. Richard is a founding board member of the Restorative Schools Vision Project and dedicated to shifting the school discipline paradigm to Restorative Justice. He brings his experience of Maori indigenous wisdom and practices to the contemporary California education landscape. As an active educator and RJ trainer, he sees firsthand the adverse effects of punishment-based discipline and how students respond much better to restorative practices. After working as a been a founding Board Member and Senior Trainer with RSVP from its inception. Richard has been a lawyer, mediator, and educator for the past 45 years, during which he facilitated over 1,000 mediations. Both as a teacher and practitioner, Richard has turned his energy primarily to Restorative Justice in schools these past 7 years. Since its inception, Narrative Mediation has been incorporated into RSVP’s RJ practices.=

David Nylund, LCSW, PhD   

Board Member

David Nylund, a founding RSVP board member, brings decades of experience in Narrative Therapy to Restorative Justice practices. Unlike other therapies, Narrative Therapy is a non-pathologizing, competency-based counseling model that is congruent with the non-judgmental values inherent in Restorative Justice. David is passionate about separating the person from the harm that they’ve done, a key component of both Narrative Therapy & Restorative Justice. He believes that making such a distinction is vital to supporting someone to turn over a new leaf and strive to do better. A proud Detroit native, David brings his Motown humor and insight into his work as Professor of Social Work at Sacramento State University and also serves as the Clinical Director of the Sacramento Gender Health Center. He sits on the Faculty of the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy and has been published and lectured widely.

Lisa Bertaccini, LCSW   

Board Member

Lisa Bertaccini is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavioral Social Sciences at American River College. She teaches Ethics and Human Services courses to studious young minds that will shape our future. After 18 years with Sacramento County Child and Family Health, Lisa brought her wealth of experience and knowledge to the Restorative Schools Vision Project. RSVP is her “noble cause” because the trainings give young people from challenging and impoverished backgrounds tools to use their incredible resiliency. When taught and disciplined under a restorative model, as opposed to a punitive one, students can reach their full potential as members of a supportive society.

Carmen Perkins, MBA,   

Board Member

Carmen Perkins, MBA is the Co-Founder of PROJECT EDQUITY, a consortium of consultants, trainers, and facilitator experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has expertise in salesforce administration, diversity recruitment and retention, DEI, college to career transition, and work based learning. Always an innovative thinker, Carmen works with schools and organizations to implement strategies that operationalize DEI and create institutional change. The Oakland native approaches each situation not just as a board member or professional, but as someone who grew up on the margins of the public school system. She feels obligated to increase school’s support and engagement with their students, so the next generation doesn’t hold the same frustrations Carmen had with her public school experience. As a bold woman, educator, community activist, wife and mother of three – Carmen seeks to transform the education space and beyond to ensure more equitable access, opportunities and outcomes for youth, particularly those who are traditionally marginalized and disenfranchised.

Advisory Board Members

  • Orlando Fuentes
  • Cruz Reynoso
  • Julia Newcomb
  • Tenzin Dorjee
  • Debra Watkins
  • Isao Fujimoto
  • Gloria Ervin
  • Dan Sackheim