FCRJ is honored and excited to welcome Molly Leach on board. Ms. Leach is the founder and executive producer of Restorative Justice on The Rise, a nationally regarded podcast and resource hub for dialogue and education on RJ and related peacebuilding topics founded in 2011 and featuring dialogues with the world’s leaders in restorative justice, including Howard Zehr, Kay Pranis, Dr. Johan Galtung, Fania Davis, James O’Dea, Bryan Stevenson, and many others. She is a certified facilitator and has worked cases in both the San Luis Valley and Chaffee County.
She served for 3.5 years as Restorative Justice Fellow at The Peace Alliance, and is a high-level partner with the NACRJ. Her devotion to the field combines in-the-trenches work in schools and prisons as well as catalyzing re-entry programs. She has trained and facilitated with globally respected restorative practices leaders such as Dominic Barter, Kay Pranis and Sylvia Clute, and here in Colorado was an apprentice of sorts to the late and deeply respected Dr. Beverly Title, founder of the Longmont Community Justice Partnership. She has been indirectly involved with the state council and supporting political advocacy in Colorado and nationally since 2012, forming a friendship with Rep. Pete Lee and offering virtual town halls to address positives and push-backs around the exponential growth of RJ in Colorado and beyond.
She was producer and host of “Teaching Peace in Schools”, a wildly successful 10-week webinar co-hosted by RJ on The Rise, The Peace Alliance and the NACRJ addressing how restorative justice and other topics such as SEL and mindfulness can help transform school communities. It featured 4500 participants from across the country and continent, and guidance from field leaders such as Dominic Barter (Restorative Circles), Kay Pranis, Nancy Riestenberg, Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Rep. Tim Ryan, and CamishaFatimah Gentry.
Ms. Leach is a syndicated writer and journalist, with her works featured at such high-traffic sites as Truth-Out, Open Democracy, YES! Magazine online, Daily Good, and a chapter in the Oxford University Press anthology, “Current Debates in Peace and Conflict Studies“.
Above all, she is a mother of 11 year old David, and has coached for Chaffee County United Soccer Club since 2014. Her family enjoys skiing/snowboarding, river-watching, and hiking. She is also involved as a guest DJ at KHEN, offering justice and youth related programming and sitting in for regular DJs.
Molly brings expertise that is both hands on and based in over 140 hours worth of conversations and trainings with leading practitioners in schools and communities. She has facilitated staff-parent circles, community processes, assault cases with adults and minors, and witnessed how restorative justice significantly ups the chances of justice for all involved. Her passion for education and implementation as well as publicity and leveraging technology to amplify solutions will be a powerful force for FCRJ.
Connect with Molly on Twitter at @mollyrowanleach, at LinkedIn and on Facebook.
Zechariah is the Airport Manager at the Salida Airport. He has grown up in Salida, CO and joined the FCRJ Board in 2016.
“I love getting involved with the youth and community, and trying daily to make the world a better place. I have seen firsthand problems with the judicial system, and truly believe that justice does not always mean punishment.”
Born and Raised in Buffalo, NY Michelle spent her formative years as a National Gymnast and Roller Coaster Aficionado. Moving to Colorado in 1992, Michelle holds a degree in Mindbody Transformational Psychology and serves our community as a Certified Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Yoga Life & Nutrition Coach and the Program Director of a humanities based, outdoor, art and leadership program for Chaffee County Youth.
Michelle’s offers years of experience working in her passions which include Youth Development and Mentorship, Mindbody Wellness, Nutrition, Trauma Informed Yoga Therapeutics, and Conscious Coupling / Uncoupling.
Her classes and sessions reflect her desire to bring these, and other somatic disciplines, to all of her clients and extended community.
A dedicated mother and youth advocate, Michelle joined the board in 2016 along with her son, Jesse Burns who is a Youth Voice for FCRJ.
Dr. Alison Brown is the founder of NAVSYS Corporation, a high tech company in Colorado which develops next generation positioning and navigation technology for government and commercial clients.
Dr. Brown is a member of the Small Business Administration’s Regulatory Fairness Board and runs two non-profit business incubators in Colorado promoting entrepreneurship and supporting programs to encourage youth involvement in science, technology, engineering and math.
She has a PhD in Mechanics and Aerospace from UCLA, an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, an MA and BA in Engineering from Cambridge University and is a fellow of the Institute of Navigation and an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
She enjoys hiking, skiing and kayaking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and riding with her pack of American Foxhounds.
John-David Longwell (JD) has been a lead facilitator with FCRJ since 2012 and served on the Board of Directors from 2014-2017. After spending over twenty-five years in international banking and trade finance, he left the corporate sector and began pursuing his passion for working with others around conflict resolution, non-violent communication and group facilitation. In 2015, he completed his basic mediation training and complemented that with additional course work on conflict coaching, divorce mediation, Voice Dialog and Integral Coaching™. JD is listed as a Professional Mediator with the Mediation Association of Colorado and is a contractor with Colorado’s Office of Dispute Resolution for mediation services in the 7th Judicial District (Gunnison, Montrose and Delta Counties). JD offers mediation and coaching services through his company, Point of Connection, LLC in Salida.
JD has been an active member of the community since moving to Chaffee County in 2008. He has served eight years as a board member and treasurer for the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Town of Poncha Springs. He lives with his wife, MaryAnn, and their two dogs – Daisy Mae and Frodo – in Poncha Springs, CO.
Currently the Executive Director of the non-profit Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) based in Salida, Colorado, USA, Ms. LaTaille’s professional background revolves around Social Justice and Communications in various venues.
She is the Lead Facilitator and Trainer for Victim-Offender conferencing, as well as serving as a Professional Mediator (Keeping The Peace, LLC) privately, and within the Judicial system. Ms. LaTaille is a professional Meeting Facilitator and an international speaker on methods of Non Violent Communication (NVC). Her experience as a Rotary Peace Fellow, in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015, was a pivotal point in her career as an International Peace Professional.
Ms. LaTaille has formally presented Restorative Justice – Not an Oxymoron at the Senate Bill 94 Conference in Vail, CO in 2014, and for the Mountain BOCES Webinar series on Implementing Restorative Practices in the Classroom. In April 2016 she presented Restorative Justice & Humanizing the Justice System – A Common Sense Approach at the Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi, India.
Ms. LaTaille holds a graduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was employed by I.B.M. in Boulder, CO, as a Communications Architect. Ms. Lataille has a number of published works and photos in corporate and media publications, regional newspapers and magazines, and in Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul. She is currently writing a Children’s book.
Ms. LaTaille enjoys spending time with young people and has more than twenty-two years of experience in working with high-‐risk adolescents, in addition to founding and managing a number of sustainable youth programs.
She was born and lived in Long Island, New York, and has now resided in the Colorado mountains with her dogs – furry family members – for 22 years. You can find her on FB, Linked In, fullcirclerj.net and keepingthepeacemediation.com well as facilitating victim – offender conferences.
Born in Twin Lakes Colorado, Jesse became the 18th resident of the tiny historic town at the base of Mt Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak. Jesse helped his mom run the Twin Lakes Trading Post; a pit stop and tourist attraction for commuters over Independence pass from 2001 – 2005.
Jesse attended the Salida Montessori School until the 4th grade when he was drafted into the Colorado Rapids Youth Development Academy in Denver on a soccer scholarship. Jesse lived in Denver from 2010-2016 with his mother and competed regionally for the Rapids while attending Hill Campus of Arts and Science and then Denver East High School.
Jesse spent his spare time volunteering for Dry Bones Denver, an organization that works with Denver’s 900+ homeless youth between the ages of 6 and 19, and the Denver Humane Society fostering dogs until they were ready for their forever homes.
Jesse returned to Salida in 2016 for his Sopomore year, and plays on the Salida High School Varsity Men’s Soccer Team and Chaffee County United Men’s Soccer teams. He is trained in avalanche safety, and spends his spare time skiing in the back country, fly fishing world class waters in the United States and Belize, and traveling the world. Jesse’s strong desire for Humanities and Youth Justice led him to Full Circle Restorative Justice and a seat on the Board of Directors as a Youth Voice.
Hi I’m Bowman Russell. I have lived in Salida since the age of 1. I’m 16 years old and attend Salida High School as a sophomore. I enjoy playing competitive sports and enjoy school. After high school, I am wanting to go to CU Boulder to study engineering.
I believe restorative justice is a process that is very positive and transformational. That is why I decided to join FCRJ. FCRJ has done many great things for the community and for the empowerment of victim. It is FCRJ’s goal to provide a platform for offender accountability while separating them from their act, and helping them see impacts of their choices.
Lynn Lee has been working in Restorative Justice for the past 16 years as a community volunteer, victim advocate, facilitator, trainer and director.
She is a retired special education teacher and holds a masters degree in education administration. Lynn was the chair of the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council beginning with its inception in 2007 through 2015. She continues to be an active board member. Lynn is the coordinator for the Manitou Springs Restorative Justice Project, working closely with the court and police department.
She has successfully facilitated over 500 restorative justice conferences and has worked with the courts, schools, Colorado Dept. of Corrections and Colorado Youth Corrections in implementing and facilitating restorative justice and restorative practices. She is a recipient of the 2013 Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Leadership Award and the Peace Alliance 2015 Restorative Justice Peacebuilding Award. Lynn facilitated the first high risk victim offender dialogue in the Colorado Dept. of Corrections and continues to successfully facilitate high-risk victim offender dialogues in the Colorado prison. Lynn was appointed to the Colorado State Restorative Justice Council in 2013 and continues on the board, assisting in implementing RJ legislation around the state of Colorado.
In bringing Restorative Justice/Restorative Practices to schools, I hope to bring preventative strategies in working with children, families and staff. One of the strategies that can be useful is a Circle, i.e. a structured dialog process that builds connections and empathy, while honoring the uniqueness of each child. Circles are safe spaces for each child to be heard with compassion, caring and respect. It is an opportunity for each participant to speak his/her truth respectfully and work towards a resolution or greater understanding.
Ken Matthews is a native Oklahoman who first came to Colorado in 1974, following graduation from the University of Oklahoma.
He served as a US Army officer for 3 years and returned to OU, where he received his law degree.
Ken has practiced law in Norman, Oklahoma (oil and gas), Colorado Springs (general civil litigation), and Denver where he had a Family Law Practice in partnership with his wife Leslie. Ken retired from the practice of law after 36 years in May, 2015.
Ken was a rugby player, coach, referee, and administrator for 35 years; playing while in college and law school, the US Army, and with both the Colorado Springs Grizzlies and the Denver Barbarians rugby clubs. He coached Denver East High School rugby club for 8 years during which East was State Champion on multiple occasions.
Ken and Leslie have owned property in Salida since 2006, were part-time residents for some years, and became full-time residents following retirement. Believing retirement is an opportunity to give to the community, Ken serves on the Board of Directors of Chaffee Housing Trust, Full Circle Restorative Justice, on the administrative committee for A Little Help and Salida Stories, and volunteers his time and expertise to the Alliance Against Domestic Violence.
Forrest brings a varied background to our board. He has been a freelance and staff writer for various publications for thirty years. He currently writes for Writers on the Range (a service of High Country News), the Colorado Central Magazine, as well as a weekly column in The Weekly Register Call Newspaper.
Whitman serves on various boards and committees in the Ark Valley, including the Ark Valley Humane Society and Salida Sunrise Rotary. He has served as an ordained minister and still performs wedding ceremonies. He served as a two-term county commissioner and on various Railroad Boards. (He’s worked for four railroads and enjoys our local rail riders groups).
When serving as a volunteer mediator with High Country Mediation Service a few years ago, he came to love processes like FCRJ. He’s happy to help keep FCRJ going strong.
I’m a lawyer who has worked as Public Defender for 19 years. I’ve dedicated my life’s work to defending the rights of the poor and low-income members of our community; working to safeguard that that they be treated equally, with dignity, and respect within the criminal justice system. I’m also a wife and mother of two daughters. I love spending weekends hiking with my dog, watching my daughter’s soccer games, and skiing and rafting with family and friends.
Kharmalita or “Kharmie” is our resident Therapy Dog in training and official FCRJ Mascot. She is a 12.5 year old mix of Dachshund and Mexican Beach Dog. Kharmie shares her life with her Human Patty & keeps her company in the office or stands (sleeps) in for a Therapy Dog if needed in our Restorative Circles to bring comfort and cuteness.
Judy was born in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. She moved to Salida a few years ago in October.. She has volunteered for Sunshine Shelter and AADA along with her current volunteering for Full Circle Restorative Justice. .
She has three children – all of whom are very accomplished in their chosen fields. Her son Bob, has a Phd and is a professor at Clemson University. Judy’s other son, Greg, is a lawyer in Salida and her daughter is a Phd professor in Hong Kong.
Judy received her AB Degree at the University of North Carolina and her JD Degree at William and Mary University/Marshall Wythe School of Law.
Before she went to law school, she was a junior high teacher in San Diego, California. She also worked in a personal business she and her husband created. After her time in law school she practiced law in Virginia Beach, was a special judge for mental commitment hearings and a lawyer mediator.
Wherever Judy has lived, she has contributed greatly to her community. She has volunteered in Salida ever since she has moved here. In Virginia Beach she served on the planning commission and was Vice Chair for 7 year. She also served on the board of the SPCA for 17 years, 3 of which she was president and for another year was secretary. Judy served on the founding Board of VA. Beach Free Health Clinic and also was a Crisis Hotline volunteer. Judy was also a part time photography model in Virginia Beach.
After 20 years in business, Andy decided to change careers. For a year he was an elementary teacher and after that he got his Phd in education and became a Business professor at Southern Oregon University.
He bought his home in Salida in 2008 and started living here full time after moving from Oregon in 2011. He was convinced to attend FCRJ facilitator training by a close friend after moving here. Andy is a lead facilitator in FCRJ and is active in many circles. He also works with prisoners because he believes engaging with them is a good use of his experience with kindness, passion and helping people who need it.
Volunteering with FCRJ and working in the prison is very gratifying for Andy. He believes in repairing relations instead of punishment. Andy enjoys working with youth and helping them in any way he can.
Karen Latvala has explored different paths in her life as an elementary teacher, wife, mother, office worker, and life coach, developing interpersonal and compassionate skills along the way.
She’s very interested in creating peace and harmony in the world, which led to her Full Circle Restorative Justice a few years ago, where she became involved with the school and jail programs.
She has been trained in High Risk Offender Dialogue, and was recently trained as a facilitator in the Volunteer Offender Education Group (VOEG) that will be working with inmates in the Buena Vista Prison.
Other interests include volunteer work with Hospice and with KHEN Radio.
She has enjoyed living in Coaldale, Colorado since 1998 with her husband Lyle.
I have always enjoyed positively interacting with people and communities. My first real experience with coaching, mediation and group facilitation was when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer working with small farmer cooperatives in Belize, Central America. Operating in a different cultural and linguistic environment taught me valuable lessons in deep listening and clear communication. Although my education and career eventually led me to the corporate world, I was able to utilize those same skills with colleagues, teams, management and clients throughout the world.
In early 2015, I completed my basic training as a mediator. Since that time, I have taken numerous courses and certifications in conflict resolution, group facilitation and professional life coaching. I have over 100 hours of mediation experience through the court systems in Chaffee, El Paso, Jefferson and Denver Countries, and I recently contracted with the state Office of Dispute Resolution as a mediator for the 7th Judicial District.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Ruth Phillips looked forward to leaving the city and experiencing life in a small mountain town.
So after graduating from college with a degree in special education, she was offered a job to begin a program for kids with learning disabilities in the elementary school in Salida.
Thirty years later she retired and began volunteering with a variety of programs helping others facing life’s challenges by working with Hospice, The Red Cross, and Ark-Valley Humane Society.
Her recent interest in FCRJ came about when she was invited to bring her certified therapy dog, Abby, to play a role in the circles. She is just beginning her facilitator training and participated in the Volunteer Offender Education Group (VOEG) that will be working with inmates in the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.
She has lived in Salida with her husband, Greg, for 42 years.
Greg Phillips has always loved the mountains and outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer. These interests led him to Salida where he taught elementary school for 30 years.
After retiring, he became more involved in developing a path geared toward compassion and serving the needs of those most underserved.
This led him to work with organizations such as Hospice, The Red Cross, Ark-Valley Humane Society, and FCRJ. He is being trained to work as a facilitator and participated in the Volunteer Offender Education Group (VOEG) that will be working with inmates in the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.
He has lived with his wife, Ruth, in Salida for 42 years.
Abby has been a certified therapy dog with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a national organization, for 4 years. She’s a 7 year old border collie and also competes in agility competitions in Colorado.
Her therapy work includes visiting nursing homes, schools, and Restorative Justice Circles. She loves people and seems to have a sixth sense in determining who is most in need of unconditional love and attention.
Ripleigh Potts was born in raised in Salida where she learned to ski, mountain bike, kayak, raft, snowboard, and love nature.
She was first introduced to restorative justice in 7th grade when her extended learning class did a project on restorative justice. Ripleigh loved the idea that there were other options rather than just the judicial system. She later came in contact with restorative justice again when there was an incident involving her brother and instead of pressing charges, her family went through the restorative justice process and loved it.
Ripleigh later became involved with restorative justice again during her sophomore year of high school.
She is very passionate about dancing and hopes to pursue a career in it. She is also on the high school mountain bike team, swim team and drama club.
Ripleigh is 15 years old and has lived in Salida her whole life.
From points East to Colorado in 1969, ski patrolled winters and built (and flipped) houses summers. Emt training led to BS in nursing. 17 years ICU and the last 9 in ER. Then back to flipping houses til retirement. Two years with Mentor Plus program. Buddhist practitioner.