skip to Main Content

Restorative DC, a program of SchoolTalk, is supported by a diverse collective of local restorative justice practitioners who provide direct technical assistance to DC schools. Our team has a deep knowledge base representing multiple restorative justice models and practices, as well as complementary expertise in social work, drama therapy, non-violent communication, positive discipline, coaching, trauma-informed practices, special education, and more.

Consultants, Trainers & Partners.

Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, M.Ed.
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member

Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, M.Ed. is a Peabody-award winning Hip Hop artist, veteran educator, and social entrepreneur, hailing from Washington DC.  He has a career spanning over 18 years as a teacher and administrator in Washington DC schools, and is internationally recognized as a cultural ambassador and pioneer of the Hip Hop Education movement.  He is also the Founding Director of  Guerilla Arts Ink,  a full service media, arts and education consulting agency and community partner with Restorative DC. Over the past year, Asheru has worked with the Restorative DC team to implement training and modeling of restorative practices with youth, teacher, and parent communities within Washington, DC schools.  Benn and is a faculty member for Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), providing training and curriculum development for school districts across the country, with a focus in the areas of social-emotional learning, (SEL) culturally responsive pedagogy, and arts, cultural, and technology integration. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Virginia in 1996, a Masters in Education from National-Louis University in 2004, and earned an Executive Certificate in Arts & Culture Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018.

Jane Connor
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member
Center for Nonviolent Communication

Dr. Jane Connor has studied and practiced a variety of forms of Restorative Practices including significant coursework with the International Institute of Restorative Practices in PA, Circle Processes with Kay Pranis, and communication with Marshall Rosenberg, the developer of Nonviolent Communication.More recently she has been Coordinator of Restorative Practices at High Point High School in Prince Georges County for three years where the suspension rate decreased 90% during her tenure there. She has enjoyed sharing Restorative Practices including Nonviolent Communication on five continents, with a particular interest in Central America and has a “high-intermediate” level of fluency in Spanish.

Ivy Hylton
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member
Youth and Family In Crisis, LLC

Ivy Hylton is an international Inspirational Speaker, Certified Restorative Justice Trainer, Professional Development Specialist and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. On the cutting edge of a new paradigm for psychological, physiological and emotional healing, with a breakthrough concept with Sound Vibronics™ healing, teaching, and inspiring personal transformation and peace with sound and vibration. Ivy’s company, Youth and Families in Crisis, LLC, is the Lead Contractor for the Balanced and Restorative Justice Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform in the District of Columbia for Superior Court Social Services Division and the Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services. Ivy is also a team member of Restorative DC, providing training, consulting and restorative coaching to teachers and youth in the DC Public School system.

Konshens The MC (pronounced “Conscience”)
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member

Tarik ‘Konshens The MC’ Davis is an International hip-hop artist, songwriter, Global Arts educator, youth advocate & Inspirational Speaker from Washington D.C. He is Founder & CEO of Edutainment Unlimited LLC (Arts Education/Entertainment Co.), currently a Governor on the Grammy Chapter Board, Voting Member of the Grammy Recording Academy, Grammy Museum Artist Educator and U.S Cultural Ambassador (State Department). He is also the MC and founder of ‘Classically Dope’, a classical, hip-hop group which merges hip-hop lyrics with original classical arrangements. He’s recently performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and has been featured on Fox, ABC and CBS networks, the Washingtonian Magazine and more. As an artist and innovator, Konshens The MC stands at the forefront of the evolution of hip-hop.

Mali Parke
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member
Peace Circle Center and Core To Coeur LLC

Mali Guitteny Parke is a trauma-informed ICF* certified professional coach, certified Positive Discipline educator, and Family Systems Constellation facilitator with a focus on individual and collective restorative relating, care culture and climate, collaboration, and leadership. Mali finds purpose and service in supporting educators, parents, and community members in individual as well as whole-system approach to increase safety, warmth/care, belonging, mattering, engagement, collaboration, conflict resolution and optimal learning/creating for people of all ages and beyond systemic power differentials. Mali is a life-long scholar bringing over a decade of studying and integrating nonviolent communication, restorative justice, positive and conscious discipline, leadership and relationship coaching, embodiment healing (Focusing & Somatic Experiencing), Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory/Trauma, Polyvagal Theory, Consensus-Based Decision Making (Sociocracy) and Systemic Family Constellations. Mali offers trainings, consulting, coaching and systemic process facilitation to individuals and groups through her work in schools with Restorative DC, her Peace Circle Center collaborative of trainers, and Core To Coeur Coaching private coaching/consulting. She also organizes a Nonviolent Communication summer camp, Family HEART Camp West Virginia. A DC resident since 1998 and originally from France’s Celtic roots, Mali loves weaving a diversity of cultures, languages, musicality and rituals in her everyday life with her two children.

Lennie Smith
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member
Dramatic Solutions Inc.

Lennie Smith MA, BCT/RDT is a seasoned educator, trainer, university professor, author, and entrepreneur, with over 20 years of experience in public school systems, alternative education programming, corporate and non-profit organizations. Lennie is the co-founder of Dramatic Solutions Inc. Lennie is a strong advocate for active and collaborative learning in the classroom for disengaged learners. During his tenure as Co-founder and Director of a non-profit drama education organization, Lennie successfully developed and implemented an interactive life skills program at a juvenile detention center, consisting of user-specific curricula and training modalities. Lennie strongly believes in the power of drama to educate, empower, and enlighten. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Educational Drama and a Master of Arts degree in Speech and intercultural Communication from New York University. Lennie is a Board-Certified Registered Drama Therapist, with additional credentialing in Process Communication Model Training and Quality Matters Online teaching. Lennie is currently a doctoral student at Morgan State University.

 Makini Niliwaambieni
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member

Makini Niliwaambieni hails from Trenton, New Jersey where she was a co-founding member of a private pre-primary and elementary school, the African People’s Action School.  She relocated to Washington, DC in 1989 and worked as a primary teacher at Sankofa Fie’s Watoto School.  In 1999, she was asked to serve as founding principal of a private school for boys with special needs between the ages of 7 and 21 which focused on social emotional as well as academic development. In 1994, Abena Makini founded Amankwa Enterprises, an educational consulting company that provides training to teachers, parents, and trainers of rites’ programs. She conducted the Ankobea Society’s adolescent rite of passage program for girls for over 25 years.  In 2011, she developed Sankofa Emma, a rite of passage program for adult women and has graduated over 75 women. From 2012 to 2017, Makini conducted training for the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Fund’s Care Coordination Department and delivered a curriculum which focused heavily on cultural competence to professional and para-professional health care workers in hospitals, residential homes, and other health care organizations in New York City’s five boroughs. Mama Makini, as she is affectionately called, was formally trained in Balanced and Restorative Justice in Education (BARJ-E) by Youth and Families in Crisis and currently works as a consultant with Restorative DC.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Catholic University.

Dr. Carmen White
Consultant | Trainer | In-School Technical Member
Dramatic Solutions Inc.

Dr. Carmen White is a professional speaker, trainer and consultant, and for over 20 years has provided her expertise in the areas of personal and professional development, leadership, and communication training to organizations, associations and schools. Dr. Carmen White has been inspiring youth and adults on issues of purpose and vision for over 20 years. Her journey towards this novel undertaking began during my childhood where the seeds of imagination, awe, and possibility, were planted. She went on to obtain (B.A.) degree in Educational Drama and (M.A.) in Educational Leadership from New York University. After gaining invaluable experience in the workforce and starting her own drama education and training firm Dramatic Solutions, Inc., she earned a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction and Human Development from the University of Maryland. Carmen is a Board Certified Drama Therapist and educator of all most 15 years. and a certified Process Communication Model Trainer and have served as an Artist-in-Residence for The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts since 2008.

SchoolTalk Staff

Antonio Carter
Restorative Justice and Youth Leadership Program Specialist

Antonio Carter graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University.  Antonio has worked as a City Year Washington DC corps member providing attendance, behavioral academic support to a cohort of 120 9th grade students at Cardozo Education Campus. After completing City Year Washington, DC, Mr. Carter was hired by Cardozo Education Campus as a Dean of Students where he worked two years within the International Academy and one year with the 11th and 12th grade students. Within in this role, Mr. Carter served as the Bully Prevention Liaison and was a member of the school’s Restorative Practice implementation team. In addition to his professional roles, Mr. Carter served as Assistant Coach for the girl’s Flag Football team. Mr. Carter has a passion for working with young people, helping them overcome obstacles, and empowering them to reach their fullest potential.

Rashid Hughes
Restorative Justice and Youth Leadership Program Specialist

Rashid was born in Richmond Virginia, into a family that cherished community and culture. From a very young age, he wished that there would be less violence in the world and that people would be more loving to one another. In 2010, Rashid graduated from the Howard University Department of Music and the Howard University School of Divinity in 2014. Today, he is a certified mindfulness teacher,(Engaged Mindfulness Institute (500-hrs) and a certified Trauma Technique Tapper (Peaceful Heart Network). He is also the co-founder and managing director of the Institute of African- American Mindfulness, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mindfulness and other healing practices to the African- American community and other communities of color. Restorative Justice is another process that Rashid facilitates as an alternative approach to handling conflicts, addressing misbehavior, holding discussions, and repairing harm in communities.  Rashid is devoted to helping all people rediscover well-being and fulfillment through learning how to live more compassionately towards themselves and their world.

Yazid Jackson
Restorative Justice Program Manager

Yazid Jackson was first introduced to Restorative Practices working in Philadelphia and has been utilizing them to resolve issues in a variety of institutions for over 14 years. While the majority of his career has been in urban education he has worked in residential settings, private, alternative, and public schools in suburban and urban communities. Yazid has worked with DCPS for four years and he is excited to now support Restorative Practices in the full network of public and charter schools in the District with SchoolTalk. He stands behind the unique approach that SchoolTalk takes assessing student needs and designing restorative programs in schools. Throughout his career, Yazid’s commitment to support students, schools, and communities have been at the forefront. There is a palpable passion in his work and we are grateful to have him on the team.

Leila Peterson
Executive Director | Restorative DC Program Manager

Leila Peterson has served as Executive Director of SchoolTalk, Inc since 2008. She has provided conflict resolution, change management, and leadership development services to schools, government and private clients for more than nineteen years. Her practice focuses on public and community conflict, specializing in processes that allow government, private, and community stakeholders to tackle difficult issues together. She also teaches as an adjunct professor in the George Mason University Conflict Analysis and Resolution program. Courses taught include Dialogue and Difference (CONF 202) and Conflict Resolution Techniques and Practices (CONF 300). Leila received a Master of Science degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Earlham College in 1993. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the National Youth Transition Center Leadership Council. She is an Associate Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and the Mid-Atlantic ADA Leadership Network.

Lisa Shaw
Special Projects Program Manager

Lisa has twenty-five years of experience in experiential education and community-based programs at the international, national, and local levels. Her background has centered on training and development of conflict resolution skills in post-conflict and community-based settings, curriculum development and facilitation of experiential education programs, and environmental stewardship. Her work includes education, environmental stewardship, and wildland firefighting as an inaugural member of Americorps-NCC, creating curriculums and traveling nature trunks for the Chattahoochee Nature Center, teaching for High Touch-High Tech, a hands-on learning program focused on strengthening national science standards, and directing primary and secondary after-school and summer programs for the City of Decatur Recreation Department. As an administrative faculty member with George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution she co-developed and co-facilitated field courses that included post-conflict peacebuilding in Liberia, transitional justice in Colombia and integration of migrant populations in Malta. Lisa received a Master of Science degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution in 2011, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Philosophy, and Environmental Science at Regis University in 1994. She also volunteers as a keeper-aide with the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Back To Top