Practicing Restorative Justice

Kay Pranis

Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as 'peacemaking circles.'  Kay learned about peacemaking circles in her work in restorative justice in the mid-90s. From 1994 – 2003 Kay held the position of Restorative Justice Planner at the MN Dept of Corrections, the first government position in the US related directly to the framework of restorative justice.

Her initial teachers in the circle work were Barry Stuart, a judge in Yukon, Canada, and Mark Wedge and Harold Gatensby, First Nations people of Yukon.  Since that initial exposure to the use of peacemaking circles in the justice system Kay has been involved in developing the use of peacemaking circles in schools, social services, churches, families, museums, universities, municipal planning and workplaces.

Kay has authored or co-authored several books about circles:  Peacemaking Circles - From Conflict to Community;  The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking;  Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning;  Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships; Circle Forward – Building a Restorative School Community.   

Kay works primarily as a trainer in the peacemaking circle process. She is also an adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite University.

Kay has a particular interest in the use of circles to support social justice efforts addressing racial, economic, class and gender inequities.  That interest includes the use of peacemaking circles to understand and respond to historical harms to groups of people.  The peacemaking circle process has been a source of energy, inspiration and continuous learning for Kay. for the past 20 years. 

Nancy Riestenberg

Nancy Riestenberg has over forty years of experience in the fields of violence prevention education, child sexual abuse prevention, and restorative measures in schools.  She has worked with school districts in Minnesota and thirty other states, from the Cass Lake-Bena School District in Minnesota to Los Angeles Unified School District. She is the author of Circle in the Square: Building Community and Repairing Harm in Schools.

As Restorative Practices Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education, she provides technical assistance on violence and bullying prevention, school connectedness, school climate, dropout prevention, cultural relevance in prevention education, crisis prevention and recovery, and restorative measures. She has also provided technical assistance in restoring the learning environment to the Minnesota school districts that experienced high levels of trauma.

Nancy was a member of the design team for the National Institute of Corrections’ restorative conferencing curriculum for law enforcement and school personnel, Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences. She participated in the "Restorative Justice and Teen Court Focus Group" for the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and has written several articles on restorative measures in schools.  She presented on Minnesota Restorative Practices at the Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Schools Seminar at the University of Edinburgh and gave a key note speech at Restorative Practices International’s conference in Melbourne, Australia.

She is a member of Restorative Practices International and the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, which awarded her the John W. Byrd Pioneer Award for Restorative and Community Justice in 2015.

At the Minnesota Department of Education, she has worked with her colleagues on evaluating and implementing restorative measures in schools. She has analyzed data regarding disproportionate minority representation in suspensions and expulsions, student survey data regarding bullying, and data surrounding the state-wide violence prevention mass media campaign, You're The One Who Can Make The Peace.

Prior to coming to the Minnesota Department of Education, Nancy worked for twelve years with the Illusion Theater's Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, which created and toured educational plays on child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and HIV/ AIDS prevention education. She coordinated the adaptation of Touch, the child sexual abuse prevention play, for the Red Lake People, and trained high school students in twenty different school districts in eight states to present social-issue prevention plays to their peers.

Nancy can be reached by email at the Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8433, or 

Dr. Edward Valandra

Edward Charles Valandra is Sicangu Titunwan who was born and raised in his homeland, the Great Sioux Nation. He received his PhD from SUNY-Buffalo and currently holds a graduate adjunct faculty in political science. Other than being an author, Dr. Valandra is involved in Native affairs, having served one four-year term as a legislator in his nation’s governing body and he also served on his nation’s seven-member Constitutional Task Force. Edward is also the Native Studies senior editor for the Living Justice Press (LJP), a small non-profit publisher specializing in restorative justice and harms between peoples, and he is the editor for LJP’s book project, Colorizing Restorative Justice.

Edward is the founder of the Community for the Advancement of Native Studies (CANS). His organization promotes the application of research and study for all aspects of liberation and sovereignty with respect to Native Country and his research focuses are: the revitalization of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, the disciplinary development of Native Studies, and the development and use of community-based participatory research in Native communities. Dr. Valandra’s current role is Academic and Professional Development Studies Dean at Saint Francis Indian School.

Sheryl R. Wilson

Sheryl R. Wilson has been a practitioner, trainer and educator in restorative justice for over fifteen years and has had the honor of working with individuals from around the world in her practice. She holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Mediation and Communication Studies and a restorative justice-based Master of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

Beginning her restorative justice career as a trainer and research associate at the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Sheryl developed and facilitated Victims, Offenders, Community, A Restorative Experience (VOCARE) dialogues in Minnesota correctional facilities. She also worked as a community mediator with the Victim Offender Conferencing program in Washington County, Minnesota. 

As a researcher, she was actively involved in the evaluation of the VOCARE prison-based program. Her work in victim offender dialogue at Minnesota Department of Corrections is featured in an A & E Network pilot, “Confrontation.” 

She has served as a Special Projects Coordinator for the Georgia Council for Restorative Justice (GCRJ), a program of Georgia State University. As Executive Director of Southern Truth and Reconciliation (STAR of Atlanta, GA), she was able to work with communities affected by historical harm.  

In the summer of 2008, Sheryl coordinated a group of victim offender facilitators to serve as support people for witnesses who gave testimony to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) during hearings for the United States Diaspora held at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She continued working with a contingent of the Liberian TRC residing in the Atlanta area through her work as Executive Director of STAR.


Sheryl recently began her role as Director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR). KIPCOR is one of the oldest regional peace institutes in the United States. The Institute offers an array of resources in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, as well as an extensive networking system for consulting and intervention. She currently serves as President of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, a professional organization for restorative justice practitioners. 

In her spare time, Sheryl is working on various writing projects that explore the relationship between the restorative justice movement and racial reconciliation. Sheryl and her husband LeRoy are the parents of two sons.


A block of hotel rooms are available for the evenings of 11/13 through 11/15 at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott for 109.00

per night.

If you would like to make a reservation, please call 218-284-1000 and identify that you are looking for the LSS of ND group

rate for the Restorative Justice conference. Reservations should be made before 10/14/2018 to receive our group rate.  

For further hotel details or information on their amenities, please visit their website at


All attendees for the Circle Training and Conference are able to park in the M-5 lot near the Memorial Union free of charge. Please see the attached map for further details.

Click to view map

For more information, contact Joel Friesz:

Training and Conference will be held at Minnesota State University Moorhead - Moorhead, MN


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3911 20th Ave. S.



412 Demers Ave.



603 Main St.



423 6th Ave. NE


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