Photo by Sylvester Vang

Stella Connell Levy, JD  Founder/President 


Stella Levy JD, was born and raised in the segregated south. Stella’s been a lifelong civil rights and peace activist. She taught in public schools and understands the challenges and opportunities that students, teachers and parents face in creating a culture of success.  After retiring as a farm lawyer, 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. Stella has built RSVP into California’s leading Restorative Justice public advocacy and training nonprofit. Today, RSVP provides school-based restorative justice  professional development, training and policy consultation to teacher organizations, systems leaders and policymakers across California.

Photo by Sylvester Vang

Richard Jaffee Cohen, JD  Board Member/Senior Trainer

richard@restorativeschoolsproject.org (916) 213-5089

Richard Jaffee Cohen, JD, has 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. As an academic, Richard, working collaboratively with other academics and practicing mediators developed the transformative practice of Narrative Mediation in New Zealand in the mid 1990’s and has taught it in law schools and in workshops in California, New Zealand, and Australia ever since. Since its inception, Narrative Mediation has been incorporated into RSVP’s RJ practices. Including his experience as the former Director of the Napa Conciliation Court, Richard has 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. He is dedicated to shifting the zero tolerance school discipline paradigm, based on punishment, to a kinder and more compassionate paradigm based on understanding and restoration of the best of human nature.

Photo by Sylvester Vang

David Nylund, LCSW, PhD   Board Member

David Nylund, LCSW, PhD, joined RSVP’s board in 2012. His interest in Restorative Justice and its link to Social Work Values and Narrative Therapy led him to his commitment to the mission of the RSVP. He is a Professor of Social Work at Sacramento State University. He is also the Clinical Director of the Gender Health Center and a Faculty Member-Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy. Dr. Nylund holds an MSW from Sacramento State University and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of California, Davis. He brings decades of experience in Narrative Therapy, a non-pathologizing, competency-based counseling model that is congruent with respect and collaboration so inherent to Restorative Justice. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, tennis, cooking, reading, traveling, watching Detroit team sports, and going out to eat.

Photo by Sylvester Vang

Lisa Bertaccini, LCSW   Board Member

Lisa Bertaccini joined the Restorative Schools Vision Project Board of Directors in 2012. Possessing both an LCSW and a Masters in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis, Lisa has over thirty years of experience in community mental health. After running Child and Family Mental Health for Sacramento County for close to twenty years, Lisa is now an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavioral Social Sciences at American River College where she teaches Ethics and Human Services courses. Her strong commitment to peace, human rights, and social justice is in perfect alignment with the Restorative School Vision Project’s goal of stopping the school-to-prison pipeline through the provision of restorative practices that greatly reduce school pushout.

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