About Nonviolent Schools Rhode Island

Vision

All Rhode Island students and school personnel are educated in Kingian Nonviolence, giving them the skills to reconcile conflicts, thereby positively impacting all communities in Rhode Island.

Mission

Nonviolent Schools RI's mission is to ensure that all educators, staff, and administrators have the knowledge and skills to practice and teach Nonviolence, thereby improving the climate and culture of our schools. Subsequently, school personnel will educate all students in grades K-12 in the principles and practice of Nonviolence, based on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (known as Kingian Nonviolence).

Goals

  • To train educators, staff, and administrators in the philosophy and practice of Kingian Nonviolence
  • To support in the transformation of the climate and culture in all schools in Rhode Island by assisting in the implementation of the philosophy and practice of Kingian Nonviolence
  • To work with each school to tailor Kingian Nonviolence to their particular needs
  • To support educators in methods of integrating Kingian Nonviolence into other curricula areas
  • To assist in the creation of a network of educators in each school, who will meet to support each other and exchange ideas, thereby creating a professional Nonviolence community
  • To create a Nonviolence education course in all education departments in Rhode Island colleges and universities, so that newly-hired educators will be able to practice and teach nonviolence
  • To institutionalize Kingian Nonviolence in our schools through legislation

Read our most recent newsletter here!

honorary board chair

Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. a civil rights hero, was a co-founder and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Nashville Sit-ins, a courageous Freedom Rider, and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was appointed by Dr. King as national coordinator of the Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. LaFayette is the co-author of the Kingian Nonviolence Curriculum, which is used by NSRI as the foundation for its training curriculum, and the author of In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma. Dr. LaFayette has conducted programs on Kingian Nonviolence, both nationally and internationally, in countries such as South Africa, Colombia, Nigeria and throughout the Middle East. He is the former director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. LaFayette is an ordained minister, professor, educator, lecturer, and is recognized nationally and around the world as an authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change. He currently serves as Distinguished Senior Scholar in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nonviolent Schools RI is honored to have Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. as an advisor and supporter of its mission to institutionalize Kingian Nonviolence in schools.

Meet the NSRI Team

Robin Wildman - Executive Director

Robin is a Level 3 Kingian Nonviolence Trainer. After meeting Bernard LaFayette, Jr. in 2001, she has dedicated her professional and personal life to practicing and teaching Kingian Nonviolence. Her 27 years as a public school teacher has given her the platform to train educators, administrators, and students in Kingian Nonviolence. Because of the training, school staff and students have reported experiencing profound transformation in the way they address conflict. Robin has conducted Nonviolence workshops, given lectures, and  is the author of a Kingian Nonviolence curriculum, used internationally by educators and trainers of young people. 

Gail Faris - Board President

Gail is a Level 3 Kingian Nonviolence Trainer. She is retired after working for 22 years at the University of Rhode Island, ending her career in 2011 as the Assistant Director of the Women's Center. Prior to her work at URI, Gail was a community organizer, a teacher, a mediator and director of an agency advocating for the rights of the developmentally disabled. She has been involved in civil rights, affordable housing, and economic and social justice issues throughout her adult life.

Sharon Key - Board Secretary

Sharon Key is a Level 2 Kingian Nonviolence Trainer and has trained youth and adults in schools, churches, prisons, and community groups, as well as in Palestine three times since 2005. She is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, and has served as a prison chaplain in Sing Sing Prison in New York and the Adult Correctional Institution in Rhode Island.

Barbara Gavin - Board Treasurer

Barbara, a Level 2 Kingian Nonviolence trainer, has extensive experience in nonprofit operations, including over 20 years in affordable housing and resource development, with a focus on underrepresented populations. As Director of Housing and Community Development, Barbara has developed and managed many affordable housing properties throughout New Jersey and Rhode Island meant for homeless individuals and families. Barbara teaches the Principles of Kingian Nonviolence, to bring about social and emotional change, to disenfranchised individuals. Barbara brings an enthusiasm for social justice to NSRI and strives to build the Beloved Community in all areas of her life. 

Amy Leonard - Board Member

Amy's connection to Nonviolence began in childhood when she was taught to answer, "Yes" to an operator's request to accept a collect call from a Southerner needing bail money. Her father volunteered to gather funds to provide bail to civil rights demonstrators and organizers. Amy is an award winning published author and a homeopathic practitioner.  As a Level 3 Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, she has created Peace Camps in many states, and consulted with schools to create a culture of Nonviolence in their academic communities. Amy spent six years at the Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School as the Behavior Intervention Specialist. 

Autumn Francesca - Program Director

Autumn has volunteered with several organizations to serve youngsters including Arts Corps, Seattle and RISE in RI.  She is a member of CMCRI and volunteers at RI courthouses as a mediator.  A Level 2 Kingian Nonviolence trainer, Autumn founded "Intention Peace" and shares this vision at festivals and schools to empower individuals with the practice of setting intentions and connecting with peace.

NSRI Trainers and Mentors

Trainers

Robin Wildman

Gail Faris

Sharon Key

Barbara Gavin

Lea Lockwood

Wendy Bowen

Mecca Smith

Jonathan Lewis

Mentors

Autumn Francesca

Sharon Key

Amy Leonard

Pam Santos

Pat Jaehnig

Wendy Bowen


NSRI In the News

5th Grade Student says, "It feels good to be peaceful."

The children in Wildman’s class are just 10 or 11 years old, but know how to solve conflict and work with each other better than many twice or three times their age.  Providence Journal

Students hear message of nonviolence from Doc

Local students get a lesson on nonviolence from a man who knows a little something about the topic (Dr. Bernard LaFayette).  Channel 10 News

Local educator to discuss nonviolent conflict reconciliation

Wildman said what sets the method apart from others is the reconciliation piece, which addresses a problem and the reasons why the problem exists between individuals or groups. The Independent. 

Peace Paradigm Radio Podcast

Metta Center for Nonviolence has a discussion with Robin Wildman about her experiences bringing Kingian Nonviolence into the public school system.  Listen here

Robin Wildman honored with Living Peace Award

Based on the curriculum adaptations prepared by Robin, of South Kingstown’s Broad Rock School, and sanctioned by Dr. Bernard LaFayette, co-author of the Kingian Nonviolence Training Manual, teachers will be exposed to Kingian philosophy and to concrete ways to use this philosophy in the classroom. URI

Broad Rock Middle School highlights benefits of nonviolence education

Through Kingian nonviolence, students communicate to teachers and have learned to better arrive at conflict resolution, the administrators said. They have also seen a decline in in-school suspensions. The Independent