I began teaching in 1990 and have since enjoyed a rich and varied career as an educator, writer and workshop leader in nonprofit, alternative, and therapeutic settings. In addition to 23 years as a circle facilitator for adults, I have also served as a writer and president of two non-profit organizations focused on supporting people to live with purpose, love and courage.
I began practicing Mindfulness in 1986 as part of the UNH rowing team and then as a rock and ice climber, but didn't dedicate myself to a formal sitting practice until the ever-growing mountains of research on its effects made it impossible not to. A "Mindful Teaching" course dramatically improved my one-on-one work with highly challenging teens and improved my own life in profound ways. In 2014 a bike accident and resulting MTBI propelled my practice even further, as it was the only thing that improved my symptoms. The resulting changes in my life, health, and work led me to pursue a MEd at Antioch University's Mindfulness for Educators program. (Visit here for my MEd website.) Responding to interest and requests from my colleagues, I began teaching other teachers about the power of mindfulness and restorative practices in and out of the classroom. (Visit here for the website I developed to support my district colleagues.)
My dedication to Restorative Practices began with my experiences as a new teacher in 1990. I did not know it was called Restorative Practices when I worked collaboratively with students to explore the harm they did and support them to find ways to repair it, or when I gathered students in circles and passed a "talking piece" to share stories, ideas and challenges, or when I responded to disruption in the class with curiosity instead of judgement. All I knew was that students who usually walked out of class to roam the halls were staying in mine. Kids who were known as "bad" kids were bringing in their class projects to show classmates. And students from different sides of the "tracks" were working well in groups. I was excited and proud of my work. But in 1995 I left education because my restorative methods attracted suspicion. I was a brand new teacher. How could I be succeeding with the "unteachable" students unless I was being soft on them? Some teachers even claimed I must be supplying them with alcohol. It was heartbreaking to discover these rumors and I left education for 11 years.
After a career as writer and circle workshop leader I returned to education in 2006. At the Centerpoint School, a therapeutic school for young people unable to function in "regular" school. For six years I worked one-on-one with traumatized or highly challenged youth. These experiences along with the 180 hours of clinical training I received provided me with priceless insight into how to work with traumatized and anxious youth. In this work I was encouraged to use a restorative, relationship-based approach that separated the "deed from the doer" and treated every human in the building with unconditional positive regard. I developed the skill to set strong and fair boundaries in the face of unexpected behaviors, all the while communicating respect and care.
Having participated in and led circles personally and professionally since the 90s around the country and in the classroom, I have witnessed the tremendous impact of these experiences on my own and other’s lives and the essential role mindfulness plays in successful restorative work. Currently, I teach English at the Center for Technology, Essex, and Mindfulness and Restorative Practices courses for educators through CVEDC. I am passionately committed to supporting teachers and schools in creating more mindful and restorative learning communities. Currently I am immersed in exploring the intersection between mindfulness and restorative practices, especially through the lens of the emerging fields of social neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology. I am dedicated to equipping teachers with the tools to build a mindful, trauma-informed, connected classroom.
Seventeen years ago I became interested in Rites of Passage as a way to support meaningful life transitions for adults and teens. I have attended trainings and facilitated rites of passage experiences for others, focusing on how the marking of significant life transition can support personal transformation and learning. I am passionate about the need, especially in the lives of adolescents, for meaningful ways to mark the journey into adulthood.
I have two grown children and live with my husband in Underhill Center, VT. and I still ride my bike to work!
Visit here for my Mindfulness for Educator's MEd website full of resources,
reflections, and essays written and collected during my time at Antioch.
Visit here for Soul Flares, the nonprofit I founded in 2006
to provide circle work to groups and individuals.
Visit CVEDCVT.org for current professional development offerings.
Relevant Qualifications, Training and Experience
M.Ed. in Mindfulness for Educators, Antioch University, New England (2016)
Basic Restorative Practices (3-day), International Institute for Restorative Practices (2017)
Foundations of Dialogue Education: From Principles to Practice (4-days), Global Learning Partners (2017)
Trauma Informed Care for Professionals Working with Youth (10-hrs), Center for Adolescent Studies (2017)
Mindful Educator Essentials (6-week), Mindful Schools (2017)
Restorative Justice Summer Institute (3-days), The Community Restorative Justice Center, Inc (August, 2016)
Restorative Practices Level 1 & Level 2 Training (2-days). with Jon Kidde and Lisa Beddinger (2016-2017)
Essex Community Justice Center, Community Volunteer (2017)
Mindfulness for Educators Certification (5-days) with Daniel Rechtschaffen (2017)
Mindful Life Intensive (6 months), Grow Mindful Roots (2015-2016)
Mindfulness, Restorative Practices and Rites of Passage Instructor, 3-credit (2016)
Mindfulness and Restorative Practices: A Powerful Partnership, Presenter 1-Day Workshop, CVEDCVT (2016 -2017)
Transforming Teaching & Learning Through Mindfulness and Restorative Practices 3-credit, Instructor, CVEDCVT (2017-2018)
Modern Mindfulness, Level 1 and II Training (2014)
Center for Mindful Learning, Board Member, (2015 - 2016)
Mindful Teaching 3-credit, Burlington College (2014)
Rites of Passage Leadership Intensive (1-day), Rites of Passage Journeys (2007)
Community Rites of Passage Project (1-year), East Montpelier (2007)
Rites of Passage facilitation (2000-current)
Community Circles and 3-day retreats, Soul Flares, founder (2006-2013)
CircleWork Leadership Training (1-week), Institute for CircleWork (2006)
Circle Work 3-Day Retreats, Heron Dance, Leader (2000-2007)