OUR TEAM

Our talented team represents diverse communities, backgrounds, education and experiences. In addition, Resolutions Northwest has a talented and active board. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved with us and/or become a member of the board contact us!

TOGETHER WE HAVE CRAFTED A CULTURE AROUND

Consensus building and collaborative decision making
Structurally, we are a hierarchical organization. Functionally, we engage in consensus building and collaborative decision making. We revisit decisions when information and/or context changes. This process creates buy-in; it builds good decisions; and it fosters integrity.

Involvement of those impacted by decisions
All of our programs are deeply rooted in the value of empowering people to have a voice in the decisions that affect them. We strive to be flexible with scheduling and rescheduling so as to include as many voices as possible in the decision making process.

Walking the talk
We strive to integrate our philosophy of walking the talk by paying attention to equity concerns, being mindful in how we communicate, listening with our hearts and minds, being transparent and respectful, as well as addressing conflict as it occurs. This is how we treat people, including each other.

THE BOARD

Matthew Schneidman

Lorraine Wilson

Dana Leigh Nerenberg

As a relatively new Oregon resident, Dana has immersed herself in learning about the state and its history.  She is eager to work toward improved opportunities and racial justice in the local community. Dana has served on the board of EdReports.org for five years and served on the board of AppleTree Early Learning Institute for eight years.  During her board service of EdReports.org, they grew from a start-up organization with a single employee (whom she helped select) to a national organization with a staff of 45 and a trajectory of continual growth and increasing influence.  Her work with AppleTree was different, building on the work of a successful organization as it refined its mission and expanded its scope of influence from a local level to more national impact. Dana has a range of experiences with management, human resources, and long-range planning.  In addition, she has expertise in planning, delivering, and assessing the effectiveness of professional development.

Venus Barnes

[stay tuned for bio]

Read more from Venus here.

Board Chair

Afrita Davis

Afrita Davis is a Program Supervisor at Open School Step Up.  She has worked with youth of color in the public education system for the past 7 years.  Before then, she attended Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas where she attained her Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. During her years before, while in and after college she served as a soldier in the Army Reserves.  Last September she was honorably discharged after 14 years of service and one tour of duty in Iraq. Afrita landed in Portland eight years ago and began her youth work shortly after that.  She finds fulfillment in helping programs and organizations develop and implement new policies and procedures that are grounded in equity. Outside of work she enjoys designing and sewing clothes, knitting and cooking for friends. 

Jamila Munson

Jamila grew up in the Hollywood neighborhood of northeast Portland and attended Grant High School, after moving to Oregon from Southern California in middle school. She studied Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon where she first engaged in community organizing and equity leadership advocating for increased pell grants, an end to racial profiling, and increased university resources dedicated to recruiting and retaining underrepresented, low-income, and students of color.  She started her career in education as a Teach For America corps member teaching 5th grade in the South Bronx,and has held roles in public and charter schools as a teacher and principal. She currently works at a non-profit, Teach For America, as the Senior Managing Director of the summer training institute for incoming new teachers.

Jamila loves to get her hands dirty in her garden and  lives in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, OR with her husband, Iron and their mastiff Athena.

Amy Stork

Amy Stork is an organizational development consultant who works with public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Her practice includes strategic planning, leadership development and staffing development. She recently completed a 40-hour basic mediator training with the Center for Dialogue and Resolution in Eugene.

Ajai Huja

Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia as a First Generation Punjabi-American. Ajai has worked in the field of education for 20 years, the last 6 as the Principal of the Centennial Park School (CPS), a public alternative high school in the Centennial School District. In his time at CPS, Ajai implemented Restorative Practices at the school after completing a training at RNW. He is a firm believer in the power of Restorative Practices to help build community and reach underserved populations of students in more responsive ways.  In July of this year, Ajai started a new role with Stand for Children, as a 9th Grade Success Coach working across the Portland Metro area in 10 area high schools.

Ajai’s work in education is driven by a desire to fundamentally change an education system not designed to serve the needs of all students. Over his career, he has worked to ensure our system holds high expectations and ensures equitable outcomes for all students. The bulk of that career has been spent working with students who have struggled in our traditional systems, ranging from separate programs to very inclusive settings. Ajai is grateful for what he has learned from students everyday in his work.

When not working he can be found in SE Portland with his wife Christin, of 12 years, daughter Meera (8yrs old) and son Simran (5 years old), who happily occupy most of his time outside of school. They are often found on their bikes, exploring Oregon, cooking and eating delicious food, and spending time with family and friends.

STAFF MEMBERS

Video Production & Communications Specialist

Noah Thomas

Noah was born and raised in Evanston, IL a suburb of Chicago. He initially worked as a counselor and mentor in a federal TRIO program at Columbia College before moving to Portland in 2015 and focusing on film full-time. Over the past two years Noah has been deeply involved with Portland’s burgeoning African American community in a visual storytelling capacity. As a filmmaker Noah has collaborated with people from all walks of life to create short film vignettes highlighting their respective gifts from music and art to policy and education. He has worked closely with the ‘Black Community of Portland’ contributing to marketing and promotional efforts at various educational and community events. He was also the lead content creator for Mudbone Grown, crafting imagery for their website, social media, and promotional materials as well as producing a documentary short to help create awareness amongst community members, farmers, stakeholders and potential investors. Lastly, Noah is one of six film fellows at Open Signal Labs, an incubator program for aspiring filmmakers of color.

Email:noah@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:773.312.0302

Office Administrator

Jaz Strode-Elfant

[bio coming soon]

Restorative Justice Trainer

Stephen Fowler

Stephen Fowler is a performing artist, activist, justice advocate, and community educator from Portland Oregon. Convicted as a teenager, sentenced to 7.5 years in the Oregon Youth Authority, Stephen used his time to educate and expand his understanding of self-worth, potential, and purpose using art forms. Stephen is now committed to educating community members, teachers, law enforcement, parents, and students about the practice of restorative justice for community rehabilitation and also showing adolescents the power of their own voice and story. Stephen is a co-founder of Verbal Escape, an employee of Resolutions Northwest, Black Educational Achievement Movement, and is affiliated with Morpheus Youth Projects.

Director of Development & Communication

Jae R. Tai

I spent the first part of my professional career navigating work in digital media and tv/film production in the competitive regions of New York and Los Angeles. My work experience ranges from on-camera talent to production behind-the-scenes. My positions include; principal roles in a Spike Lee Joint, and It’s Your Nature.org; Associate Producer for Cisco and Disney Planet Challenge.  These days my focus is exposing my children to an environment with a balanced racial narrative. Since returning to Portland, I have worked with Self Enhancement Inc. and taken a more active role in race relations by working with Resolutions NW as a race dialogue facilitator. Tiny Tech Academy supports my desire for creativity and social change. Learn more: tinytechacademy.com

TRAINING COORDINATOR

Teri Pierson

Teri (she/her) has been training on topics related to racial and social justice for almost 30 years, and she has been a professional facilitator for about 15 years. Her work as a consultant, trainer, and facilitator at Resolutions Northwest and in private practice supports individuals and organizations to develop the will and capacity to bring their outcomes in line with their values, particularly around racial equity. As a white bisexual woman who grew up here in Portland, Teri is always up against her own learning edge in working for racial justice. She draws inspiration from her fabulous colleagues and from her practice of aikido, a Japanese martial art.

Email:teri@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:503.595.4890 xt 105

CO-DIRECTOR OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Natalia Mathews

Natalia was born and raised in Northeast Portland and has always had a heart for inner-city youth in this community. Her past work experience includes: mentoring at-risk youth, school support staff member, restorative justice specialist, and her current position is Co-director of restorative justice. Natalia received a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development in 2014, a Master’s in Management and Organizational Leadership in 2016  , and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education from Concordia University. She loves to spend time with her family. When she’s not working or doing homework, you can catch her having a picnic, or enjoying quiet time. Natalia has committed herself to equity work, and minimizing disproportionate data.  She believes in order to achieve this goal, restorative practices are the key.

Email:Natalia@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:503.595.4890

CO-DIRECTOR OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Maria Scanelli

Maria Scanelli has been with Resolutions Northwest since 2011 when she was hired as Restorative Justice Coordinator to help identified Multnomah County Schools implement restorative justice practices in their school communities. She has facilitated groups, workshops and taught classes in conflict resolution and restorative justice to elementary, middle, high school and college students as well as youth and adults in correctional institutions. The most cherished part of her job is working with youth to help them identify their strengths and passions in life and guide them into action in service to their community and manifesting the change they want to see in the world. Shortly after Maria earned her MS in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University in 2008, she began volunteering with Insight Development Group, a Restorative Justice focused group at Oregon State Correctional Institute that she helped found. Since 2012, she has focused her volunteer time with Hope Partnership at Maclaren Youth Correctional Facility and is also a volunteer facilitator for the Department of Corrections Facilitated Dialogue Program. Riding rivers, catching waves, climbing rocks and mountains are Maria’s favorite ways to play and as an avid outdoorswoman she makes the most of her weekends escaping to the wilderness for solitude and adventure.

“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson- that everything we do matters- is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places- and there are so many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” – Howard Zinn

Email:maria@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:503.806.7596

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE TRAINER/COACH

Gabriele Ross

Gabriele Ross brings with her two decades of working as counselor and advocate with marginalized populations such as youth struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, students who return from being incarcerated, students who are homeless, sexual minority youth and undocumented students in public schools in Seattle and in Vancouver, WA. Gabriele has a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. She is active in social justice organizations and worked as an advocate with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and as a community organizer. She came to the US initially as a volunteer for Action Reconciliation/Services for Peace, a German organization founded by survivors of the Nazi regime. She likes to be in her garden or on a dragon boat, or out running and biking. She is an avid soccer fan and volunteered for the Women’s World Cup twice as a translator.

Email:gabriele@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:503.595.4890 xt 107

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Christina Albo

Christina serves as the Executive Director of Resolutions Northwest. She has worked at RNW for the past 10 years in a number of different roles including Director of Mediation Services, Director of Restorative Justice, and most recently Deputy Director. Prior to RNW, she was the Youth and Family Mediation Coordinator for Clackamas County Family Court Services. Christina has been working in the field of conflict resolution and restorative justice for the past 15+ years with an unwavering commitment to cultural and racial justice.

Email:christina@resolutionsnorthwest.org

Phone:503.595.4890 xt 101

Mediation Coordinator

Sunsong Konstantatos Firedancer

Sunsong (They/Them) is a transplant to Portland: Born in Ohio and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. They moved to Portland in December of 1995 immediately from their experience attending Oberlin College. They started life in Portland as performer for Imago Theater; and worked in social services with developmentally disabled adults.  As a queer polyamorous mixed race intersexed person, they bring both lived experience as well as experience from a background working with Target communities to their work, especially in their recent time as an advocate and case manager for houseless youth. They have assisted and co-led trainings on racial and social justice. Before being hired on full time worked as a contractor doing mediations at Resolutions Northwest. They were a past equity informed mediation cohort member and have a dedication to building bridges across communities.