The School to Peace Pipeline Presenters

Breaking Down School-Wide Systems of Inequity, One Step at a Time

Raenel Edmonds brings more than 15 years of teaching experiences from inner-city public schools, literacy and academic coaching experiences from Durham Public Schools, and management experiences from the casino and hotel industry. Throughout her career in education, she has facilitated trainings and professional development, chaired literacy teams, mentored new teachers and students, hosted student teachers, and participated on various committees and boards. Raenel completed literacy training at Lesley University and earned a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix.  Raenel is passionate about education and is committed to students meeting their academic potentials in a safe and fun learning environment.

Building Community and Belonging through Morning Meeting

Aaron Sebens was excited to put down roots in Durham after teaching in Japan, Boston, and Honduras.  Aaron graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and education from the College of William and Mary and holds a master’s degree in special education from Simmons College. Aaron grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and plays a variety of music from old-time, to jazz, to ska. He also makes and eats a lot of food, and loves to explore the river and woods with his wife and two children. Aaron believes strongly that all learners are entitled to creative and engaging education and enjoys exploring the world with students in a supportive, challenging, and caring community.


Celebrating Success:  A Panel of Educators and Community Partners

Facilitated by Charlie Butchart, Associate Middle School Director at Central Park School for Children. This session will include Supporting Refugee Children in Durham by Kate Newman and Leslie May of Triangle Day School, Students Pursuing Equity and Kindness by Shell Torres and Karen Carroll of Ravenscroft, NewGen Peacebuilders: Developing Civic Engagement and Leadership Skills through Student Peace Projects by Phill Gittins and Elizabeth Peacock of East Mecklenburg High and Lake Norman Charter High Schools, The Afghan Sister School Project by Marybeth Dugan and Amy Smoker of Carolina Friends School, On the Other Hand: Two Art Activities for Self-Reflection by Ida Trisolini, and Bull City Schools United by Cheyenne Solorio, Jacqui Batts, Matt Hickson, and Asher Keen. 

Deconstructing Bias with an Intersectional Lens

Courtney Parker West is a former NC public school teacher and teacher coach working as Director of Alumni Impact – Racial Equity & Values-based Leadership for Teach For America’s Eastern NC region. Parker West graduated as a first-generation college student from the University of Iowa where she triple-majored in English, Religion Studies, Creative Writing, and minored in African American Studies. As a classroom teacher, she was team-leader and started an LGBT anti-bullying club, a social justice film club, and coached softball. In her work at TFA, Parker West supported over 100 classrooms through her teacher leadership coaching. She now designs the scope and sequence for Racial Identity & Intersectionality and DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusiveness) work for TFA teachers, staff, and alumni. Parker West sits on numerous community boards in Wake and Durham counties. She resides in Raleigh with her partner, who is also a public school educator.

Healthy Relationships: Respecting Boundaries and Consent

Rachel Anderson has been teaching at Carolina Friend School in Durham, North Carolina, for the last seventeen years.  As a peace educator, she has taught classes in Conflict Resolution and Identity for Middle School students. Presently, Rachel’s teaching focus in on health education.  She wrote and is teaching the comprehensive sex education curricula for both the middle and upper school.  The connection between conflict resolution skills and the creation of healthy relationships is significant and important.  Rachel is also responsible for training students, staff, and parents in the prevention of child sexual abuse.  She is a certified trainer through Prevent Child Abuse Vermont.  As of last year, she is a founding member of the board of directors for the nonprofit MyHelathEd. Rachel has also presented conference workshops on both the national and state level.  Presently, she is working on a book for teachers entitled, Life Talks:  Lessons on Sexuality Through Conversation, Activities, and Storytelling.

Learning to Listen: Engaging in Deep Discourse with Students and Community Partners

Christen Higgins Clougherty, Ph.D. has over eighteen years of experience as an educator and administrator in community organizations, K-12 public, charter and independent schools, and colleges/universities. Christen attributes her commitment to using service-learning and civic engagement to promote global citizenship to her experiences as a student at the Carolina Friends School. Her honors include recognition as a National Emerging Scholar for K-12 Service-Learning Research (2008 and 2009) by the National Service-Learning Partnership at the Academy for Educational Development. Christen received her Ph.D. in Quaker Studies from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. She completed her doctoral research on the synthesis of experiential education, service-learning, creative-process theory, and global citizenship education. Christen is also a founding board member of Tybee Island Maritime Academy and the Susie King Taylor Community School, a peaceful charter school – both based in Savannah, GA.

Mindfulness and Freedom from Disturbance: The Way Out is In

Bea Laney obtained her social works degrees from North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work is grounded in the importance of being a change agent and has focused on enhancing the well-being of children, youth and their families through program development and implementation and system change initiatives. Bea currently helps to lead Durham Public School’s mental health initiatives which include Co-Located Mental Health, Trauma Informed Schools, and the Learning Collaborative in Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) and mindfulness practices, specifically Inner Explorer. Her work is guided by her personal values: belief in others, faith, compassion, gratitude, contribution, responsibility, and commitment.

Peaceful Schools in Action: Implementation and Best Practices K-8

Jan Riggsbee, EdD, Associate Professor of the Practice in Education at Duke University. Jan is the former director of the Duke University Program in Education and currently directs Duke’s Elementary Teacher Preparation Program and Duke TeachHouse, a first of its kind living and learning community for early career teachers focused on teacher leadership and innovation in K-12 schools.


LaManda Chestnut-Pryor thrives as a transformational educator, leader, and children’s advocate serving the North Carolina and New York communities for the past 17 years. Her current role as the Principal at Carter Community Charter School in her hometown of Durham, NC has expanded her expertise as a passionate and innovative leader. Combining her Masters of Education Administration and Supervision with her practical community, family and parental experiences have been instrumental in her cutting-edge developmental approach to bringing harmony among disparate educational and real-life objectives. She is relentless in her pursuit of establishing a safe, caring and nurturing learning environment that promotes acceptance of the individual and puts the kid’s needs first. By focusing on continuous improvements to the processes of conflict resolutions and developing the child’s self-esteem, LaManda feels that as far as our children’s learning potential is concerned; the best is yet to come.

Aileen Clougherty has been teaching for 35 years with a variety of ages in different settings.  She has a Master’s degree, certified in elementary education, art,  and special education.  Early years were spent working with middle and high school students with behavioral needs in a public school and then in a psychiatric setting.  She has a passion for teaching the whole child and promoting the peaceful education model in schools.  She spent over 12 years working at Carolina Friends School where this focus on peace in education grew.  She is presently involved in the Peaceful Schools of NC and is committed to encouraging peaceful models to be implemented in schools.  Now retired, she enjoys creating art, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends, especially her grandchild!


Christel Grenier Butchart, MA. is the Committee Chair of Peaceful Schools NC. She coordinates and leads the professional development and student experiences for our current Peaceful Schools. This is her 12th year at Carolina Friends School, teaching social studies and conflict resolution to sixth-grade students. She has also served on the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee at CFS for over 10 years. Committed to sharing peace education, Christel has led workshops at the local and national level on restorative justice, conflict resolution, and Rehearsal for Life A Rotary Peace Fellow, Christel received her Master’s degree in International Studies with a focus on Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, Australia.


Restorative Practices in the Classroom

Allyson Jones is an educator with 15 years experience.  For the past seven years, she has served as instructional coach and resource teacher in Baltimore County Schools, providing professional development to teachers including model lessons, co-teaching, and traditional presentations. She began her career teaching 2nd and 3rd grade.  She holds and an undergraduate degree in elementary education and a master’s degree is in school leadership/administration. After receiving extensive training with the International Institute of Restorative Practices, she has been supporting teachers in Baltimore in their use of Restorative Practices in the classroom. She is passionate about the impact that this philosophy and approach can have on school systems- starting today.

Social/Emotional Learning is a Great Idea, But What Do I Do?

Lisa Carboni has been an educator for over 30 years at both the elementary school and university levels. She taught elementary school for many years before earning her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in elementary mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. After working in the Program in Education at Duke University as a professor and director of licensure and accreditation, she felt the pull of once again working with children every day. In 2007, Lisa became the Head of the Lower School at Carolina Friends School and continues to enjoy being surrounded by and working with young children and teachers, who happen to be some of her favorite people.


Voices of our Youth: A K-12 Student Panel/ Equipping the Conflict Resolution Toolbox

Ida Trisolini has a long history with Quaker Education and with conflict resolution. She helped design the conflict resolution curriculum at CFS and has presented on creating a peaceful classroom and school culture at regional and national conferences.  Ida has twenty-six years teaching experience and has been teaching in Quaker schools for 20 years. Ida is a recent graduate of the Institute for Engaging Leadership, a two-year Quaker Education program. Ida is a published poet and an artist and believes that integrating art into her language arts curriculum contributes to the successful creation of a peaceful classroom.


Yoga Mindset and Practices in the Classroom

Olynda Smith is a seasoned yoga teacher, an early childhood teacher, a writer and a mama. With nearly 15 years of yoga teaching experience, Olynda has also been studying the fine art of being with children. She has taught nearly every age group and in many different settings. She spent 7 years teaching in the Montessori environment and is a certified Montessori Early Childhood teacher (ages 2.5 – 6).  She developed and ran her own home-based, bilingual, Montessori program in Brooklyn.  Currently, she teaches yoga to Upper and Middle school students at the Carolina Friends School. She also runs a program through the Latino Educational Advancement Program that helps teachers integrate yoga into their pre-school programs. Many of her articles of yoga and teaching or parenting have appeared in Montessori Life Magazine.  Her public adult classes and workshops can be found on her website