Meet the RJEd Team & Facilitators
We are professors, researchers, superintendents, consultants, parents and friends. Get to know a little bit about us. We look forward to getting to know you, too.
Dr. Tom Cavanagh
Founder & Program Director
Tom has been involved in research and professional development focused on creating a Culture of Care in schools based on restorative justice principles and practices, as well as culturally appropriate interactions and relationships, for over 20 years. He is privileged to work with scholars and practitioners throughout the world.
As Program Director of RJEd, Tom oversees research and professional development to advance the efficacy and success of Restorative Justice Education. Along with operations, Tom creates online and face-to-face training curriculum and facilitates professional development training.
Tom enjoys his work with Restorative Justice Education, as well as his role as a professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, and at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Tom is a native of Colorado and enjoys riding his bike in the Colorado sunshine year round.
Shelby has been immersed in Restorative Practices for more than seven years; from working with students, supporting initial implementation of Restorative Practices in schools across the nation, training school staff and building positive work culture with for-profit businesses.
As Managing Director of RJEd, Shelby oversees operations, procedures and processes to advance the efficacy and success of Restorative Justice Education. Along with operations, Shelby actively trains teachers, administrators, and peripheral community support in Restorative Practices.
When not behind a computer or presenting to groups, Shelby enjoys every minute with her family and soaking in the 300+ days of Colorado sunshine.
RJEd New York State Lead
Adele has served in education for over thirty years as a classroom teacher, principal of elementary and secondary buildings, Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent of Schools. In each role, she has used restorative practices to connect to students and the school community in rural, suburban, and urban districts.
Adele served on the NY State Bar Association Task Force on the School to Prison Pipeline. Recommendations to the Board of Regents included using restorative practices in the guiding philosophy of discipline in schools and to align Code of Conduct language. Adele facilitated this work with administrators, teachers, students, and parents creating the framework for integrating a Culture of Care with existing MTSS initiatives.
Adele parents four wonderfully diverse children, is a distance runner, and cultivates creativity through artistic and musical activities.
Dr. Linda Henderson
RJEd Texas State Lead
Dr. Linda Henderson is a highly experienced educator with over 20 years in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary settings. Her passion about the possibilities of restorative practices was flamed through her role as a campus Restorative Justice Facilitator, implementation of restorative practices as an administrator, and doctoral work focusing on the school to prison pipeline and social inequities in schools impacting graduation.
Dr. Henderson works with Restorative Justice Education as an online facilitator, presented Restorative Justice professional developments at various local and state conferences, and has presented a Culture of Care multi-day trainings alongside Dr. Cavanagh.
In addition to working with RJE as the lead facilitator for the state of Texas, Dr. Henderson is a professor at University of Houston, Curriculum and Instruction. She enjoys spending time with her family.
RJEd California State Lead
Over the past decade, Everett has been involved in implementing Restorative Justice practices in multiple school districts within the Southern California area. His Restorative Justice centered work includes After School and Expanded Learning programs. Everett has worked as a Lead Coordinator for his local city government; developing, organizing and facilitating professional development training for thousands of city and school district personnel.
As RJEd Lead Facilitator for California, Everett facilitates online training with educators throughout the world and facilitates in-person training throughout the country. Everett also creates training curriculum and is currently facilitating in-person training for parents to utilize Restorative Justice principles and practices in the home.
Everett enjoys time with family and volunteering with community organizations, youth groups and churches; developing strategies to implement restorative practices within their organizations.
L. Tomay Varlack-Butler, a PhD student in Education for Social Justice at the University of San Diego is a resident practitioner and graduate assistant in the Center for Restorative Justice. She is a Social Worker, Substance Abuse Counselor, part of the Restorative Justice initiative in Westchester, NY., and a Restorative Roots collaborative member facilitating Participatory Action Research.
Tomay integrates her mediation, mindfulness and trauma training into her work where she provides conflict coaching, family conferencing, anti-racism work, racial healing circles and healing circles for persons who experienced trauma. Her commitment to social justice and transforming lives deepen her practice and commitment to living a restorative lifestyle. Tomay’s work as a facilitator and trainer includes working in Higher Ed, K-12, community agencies, and religious organizations.
Tomay is the proud mom of two college graduates, loves to write, sing and in her free time produces two media projects -Unbranded Talk Show and the Worth Justice Network.
RJEd International Lead
Kristen Noble has been facilitating restorative justice since 2008 and specializes in restorative justice implementation in schools, communities and criminal justice settings. Kristen specializes in customized restorative approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion, such as intercultural communication, implicit bias, micro-aggressions, power dynamics, She has a background in facilitating inter-group dialogue, conflict resolution practices, evaluation and organizational design consulting.
Kristen teaches Restorative Justice at the graduate level at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Exploring Global Citizenship at the undergraduate level at the University of Denver. Kristen is the part-time Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the Korbel School and leads initiatives across campus in DEI work. She chairs the University of Denver’s Restorative Justice Working Group. She serves on The Conflict Center’s Adjunct Advisory Board for Restorative Practices and is a lead facilitator for Restorative Denver with the Denver County District Attorney’s Office.
Kristen enjoys being in the great outdoors of Colorado with her partner, two kids, and her dog.
Elyse Ward is a RJ Coordinator and Middle School Science Teacher who works with students, families, and communities to bring the transformative processes of Restorative Justice to her school community, and across New York State.
Elyse believes Restorative justice has reduced the disproportionality of our educational system and has brought equity, power, and confidence to student voices within our school community. The circle process is a transformative experience for both staff and students.
Elyse has worked as an educator in the Ossining, NY school district for 14 years and was a geologist for a nationwide environmental engineering firm prior to that. Elyse is also a published author working on her second book. The combination of essays, poetry and anecdotes paint a portrait of her trials and tribulations and the lessons that she learned in the hopes that others can relate and feel like part of the whole.
Elyse enjoys having fun and amazing experiences with her family, friends, and many animals!
Dr. Adity Saxena
RJEd India Representative
Dr. Adity Saxena calls herself a messenger of happiness and believes in empathy. Mind mapping is her tool for plotting ideas and communicating through stories.
She is a design practitioner and presently the Dean of the School of Art & Design at Woxsen University in India. In the past 18 years, she has been involved in teaching, research, and supporting students' wellbeing. Her research interest is happiness, education and design thinking.
She is a certified Design Thinker and is a trained RJEd Facilitator, and part of many global research and education projects. In addition, she is a passionate mentor, mother of a teenage girl, and loves to connect people with diversity.
Dr. Carolina Nieto
RJEd Colombia Representative
Dr. Nieto is a lawyer and political scientist and has been a consultant for governments, international organizations and NGOs in peace education in Latin America since 2006.
She has trained educators and collaborated in curriculum planning in forgiveness, care and reconciliation in countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Perú, and Colombia.
In addition to lecturing, Dr. Nieto has conducted research on the ethics of care and restorative justice linked to ancestral knowledge in Latin America and New Zealand. Intercultural communication and project management are some of her essential skills. She currently works on cross-cultural research for the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and leads RJEd's work in Latin America.
Dr. Nieto enjoys nature, sowing, and cooking; she loves poetry and is a Bihar School of Yoga instructor.