Staff & Board

Staff

Mel Motel, Director

Mel joined the Brattleboro Community Justice Center as Director in August 2017 after fifteen years of work in Restorative Justice, social justice, and education. Mel is not new to the BCJC, however: she moved to Vermont in 2006 to help build the BCJC’s Restorative Reentry Program as an Americorps VISTA and then as the BCJC’s Reentry Program Coordinator. In 2013, Mel founded the Just Schools Project, where she worked with more than a thousand adults and youth in K-12 schools to implement restorative practices programs. She has also taught the Community and Restorative Justice course in the Community College of Vermont’s Criminal Justice Program. Mel sees her work both at the BCJC and in her life outside of it as building restorative communities: where all people get what they need and where we ourselves have the skills to respond to and transform harm within our own relationships and communities. She also likes to spend time with her partner, friends, and dog; play sports of all kinds; and sing karaoke.

 

Jackie Trepanier, Program Coordinator

“I believe that when given a conscious choice, most people prefer not to be in pain or to cause pain. However, life is sometimes harsh and confusing .We are all trying to meet our needs and we all make mistakes along the way. Compassion, safety, connection, understanding, reflection, and awareness are all things that allow us as people to grow and change. These are things that I hope to provide through my work at the BCJC.”
In her 20+ years working in the fields of conflict transformation, facilitation, and adult education,
Jackie has found the presence of these qualities essential in supporting individuals to take
responsibility for their choices. Jackie has served as the Program Coordinator at the BCJC
since 2010 and manages the Restorative Justice Panel program, the pre-charge program
known as Justice Alternatives, and has served as lead mediator. She is tremendously grateful
for all she has learned and continues to learn by way of being and working with people. When
not at work she loves to dance, garden, watch the clouds, and hang out with friends and family.

 

James Cecere, Restorative Re-Entry Coordinator

Jim has held a range of positions and careers throughout his professional life from owning a chain of ski shops to retaining an auto leasing company as well as a business acquisition firm. However, Jim’s proudest accomplishments involve his work with  Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation and with the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. He spent nine years with Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation helping people break down barriers to employment and the last five here, at the BCJC as the Restorative Reentry Coordinator. “After getting my Masters in Marketing/Finance and starting my own business, I am ashamed to say that I did not give Restorative Justice a moment of my time,” Jim said. “Meeting Larry Hames (the former director of the BCJC) opened my eyes to a world that I knew nothing about.  I now see the importance of Restorative Justice in the community and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spread reparative ideals through my work at the BCJC.”

 

Emmett Wood, Intern

Emmett Wood is a senior at Marlboro College where they study sociology and journalism, and plan to go on to study immigration law. They became involved in restorative justice in high school where they participated in restorative panels and aided in the creation of their school’s disciplinary program. Emmett currently works between the Brattleboro Community Justice Center and the State’s Attorney’s Office as well as at Marlboro as a writing tutor. In their spare time Emmett enjoys playing guitar, cooking, and being outside.

 

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Intern

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins is a Masters of Social Work student at the University of Vermont who is interning with BCJC during the 2018-19 academic year. While at BCJC he will be supporting the Reparative Justice panel program, assisting with volunteer training, and working on a number of other projects.

Ethan brings passion and enthusiasm for restorative principles to his work with BCJC, as well as an eagerness to learn about and participate in alternatives to the criminal justice system. Ethan is a member of Lost River Racial Justice, a Brattleboro-based community group working to promote racial equity and to educate and engage white people in racial justice work. He hopes to connect this experience with his work at BCJC.

Ethan has lived in Brattleboro since 2002. He worked as a musician for many years before starting his studies towards an MSW in 2017. In his spare time he loves to garden, plays soccer, and tries to spend time in the wilderness whenever he has the chance.

 

Board

Deborah Lee Luskin, Chair
 

Deborah taught both reading and writing programs to incarcerated women at Windsor Corrections Facility and to men at Southern State Correctional Facility through the Vermont Humanities Council in the mid-2000s. “It’s some of the most meaningful teaching I’ve ever done,” she said.  “I figured there had to be a better way; I discovered there was. I started volunteering at the BCJC in 2007, first on a rep panel and now on the Board.” Deborah writes in an 8’x10’ studio heated by a tiny wood stove, splitting wood into very small pieces between paragraphs. She is a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, a novelist, a pen-for-hire, a public speaker and an educator.

“What’s spare time?”

 

Meg Mott, Vice Chair

Meg became interested in Restorative Justice while working as a Court Advocate for the Women’s Crisis Center (now the Women’s Freedom Center). Her job was to provide support for women abusive situations. At the time, it was generally accepted that the best solution was putting abusers in jail. Eventually, she began to realize  that “incarceration was creating its own difficulties.” When Meg got a job at Marlboro College, she became interested in how Restorative Justice might offer an alternative to Title IX campus disciplinary panels. Although the idea was considered taboo, she saw better opportunities for parties in a case involving ambiguous sex than in a highly-regulated procedure in which both complainants and respondents often felt completely misunderstood. Meg received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her dissertation discussed the function of reconciliation in the Spanish Inquisition. She currently teaches politics and law at Marlboro College. Meg has said that her “happiest moments involve the construction of sentences.”

Bruce Dayton

Bruce W. Dayton has been active in conflict transformation, crisis management, and leadership training for over twenty years as a practitioner, a researcher, and an educator. His interest in Restorative Justice relates to his commitment to understanding ways that communities and social groups can communicate about and heal deep divisions across racial, socioeconomic, and ideological boundaries.  Bruce currently serves as Associate Professor of Conflict Transformation and Peace building and Director of the CONTACT Peace building Program at the School for International Training / SIT Graduate Institute. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Bruce enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and visiting new places.

 

Michael Szostak

Following a 30 year long career in corporate America, Mike has spent the last 20 years in the not-for-profit and public school sectors doing work in Restorative Justice. This has included working with homeless families, people reentering the community from prison, people referred by the court system, teenagers going to drop-in centers for help, and most recently, kids trying to adjust to middle and high school environments. In his spare time he enjoys family activities, bike riding, hiking, roasting coffee, and playing classical guitar.

 

Claire Halverson

Claire became involved with Restorative Justice after she returned from South Africa where she was teaching a graduate course on conflict. “I leaned about the use of Restorative Justice in various indigenous communities around the world,” she said, “and then I learned Restorative Justice was also practiced in Vermont.” Claire is a professor emeritus at the School for International Training where she teaches in the Master’s Program in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations.  In her  spare time she enjoys getting out in nature and participating in activities including hiking, swimming, x-cross country skiing, biking, camping, and snowshoeing. She also loves visiting her grandchildren who live in the Bronx.

Kay Kloppenburg

Kay grew up in Chicago. She was a special educator at Leland and Gray, Westminster-Grafton & Athens Schools and 2 public schools in NE D.C. She also taught ESL during sabbaticals in Spain and Costa Rica. In retirement she luckily found an ad on Craig’s List to join a restorative justice panel 5 years ago, and since then also has participated in two CoSAs, community circles for 2 high school girls and been a board member since 2016. She is attracted to this work watching the growth in both clients and volunteers. She also volunteers for the America Reads Program at Chesterfield School and enjoys swimming, hiking, gardening, travel and especially her 5 grandchildren.