Meet the Team
Lesley Parkinson, Executive Director
Lesley established Restorative Thinking Limited in 2012 and works with Local Authorities and individual Schools and Children’s Centres to introduce, implement and develop restorative practice.
Lesley worked as a secondary teacher and manager until 2007. Since 2007 Lesley has managed regional and national education programmes for Primary and Secondary Schools.
As Executive Director at Restorative Thinking, Lesley promotes restorative education and culture change in schools, alongside a belief in equipping service users (including pupils, children, parents) with key life skills in restorative practice.
In June 2013, Lesley received a Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award: http://shackletonfoundation.org/what-we-fund/shackleton-leaders/
Lesley has worked as a volunteer mentor for young people seeking employment and education, and as a volunteer with Victim Support. Between 2012-14 Lesley was a primary school Parent Governor and Link Governor.
Chris Straker, Director, Trainer and Consultant
Chris was a teacher for thirty years, including three years as the English adviser for Hull City Council. He was Head Teacher at Endeavour High School for five years, balancing his time between school and the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice (which he co-founded with Estelle Macdonald, Head Teacher of Collingwood primary school). Chris left Endeavour High School in December 2010, to take up a full time post as one of the leads of the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice. During his time there, The Hull Centre was a world leader in restorative practice and its application across agencies working with families and young people.
Chris has drawn on this experience to develop training in restorative practice within schools and Children’s Services. He has also worked with these agencies on strategic, city-wide, implementation.
Chris has been a speaker at national conferences across the UK, and internationally in the USA, Canada and Hungary.
In the May of 2013 Chris became an Assessor and Consultant for the Restorative Justice Council’s RSQM award. This sees him working with agencies and schools across the UK, to help them develop their restorative practice as organisations.
Chris is chief author of ‘Restorative Thinking: A Restorative Approaches Interactive Toolkit Written by Teachers, for Teachers (KS3 & KS4)’ and trains secondary schools in effective delivery of this programme. As a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited, Chris is the Lead Trainer and supports all of Restorative Thinking Limited’s work strands.
Jackie Potter, Director, Consultant and Coach
Jackie is an experienced leader with a strong track record of delivering change and achieving results in challenging circumstances. She has worked in a variety of organisations at a national, regional and local level where she has successfully introduced fresh thinking and improved ways of working.
As Chief Executive of Corridor Manchester Jackie led a partnership of University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester Foundation Trust and Manchester City Council to develop and implement a vision for knowledge based growth for the City by harnessing private sector investment and the assets of the institutions.
As Deputy Chief Executive of Blackpool Council she provided strategic leadership of the regeneration function, responsible for a Directorate of 500 staff, a revenue budget of £3.5m and a capital budget of £150m.
Jackie was a Member of the Government Office North West Management Board with responsibility for planning and transport policy across the North West including challenging housing issues.
Jackie has worked with senior boards and developed effective partnerships between sectors. She is experienced in developing strategies, action planning and improving performance and efficiency. A highly skilful facilitator with a wide range of delivery experience of economic development and physical regeneration as well as major organisational change and improvement programmes. Jackie is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited and also works as a Consultant and Coach, using her leadership experience to support the company and colleagues with personal and business growth.
Dr. Helen Flanagan, Trainer and Consultant
Helen began teaching in 1986 in Kirkby, Merseyside, and continued to teach in secondary education until 2004. During that time Helen was Head of Department and Pastoral Senior Leader. It was during this time that she began training in restorative approaches. In 2004 Helen left mainstream teaching to take up a position with Sefton Local Authority as Behaviour Improvement Programme Manager which involved working with and advising schools: primary, secondary and special on developing inclusive and positive approaches to education, particularly behaviour. Having completed her MA in Inclusive Education Helen has developed a knowledge and understanding of Primary and Early Years education, Family Support and Special Educational Needs.
In 2007 Helen began working in West Lancashire and also across the whole of the county to support schools in developing restorative approaches to teaching and learning. Working within Skelmersdale for SHARES Helen has gone on to complete her PhD in Education, looking at the impact of restorative approaches on school culture and learning.
Through working with SHARES Helen has developed programmes that focus on building a consistent approach between home and school. She has written and delivers a very successful Peer Mediation programme and Parenting programme, both underpinned by restorative approaches.
Helen works with Restorative Thinking, writing and developing programmes, delivering training in schools, Children’s Centres and prisons, and training trainers in these settings.