Meet the Team
Lesley Parkinson, Executive Director
Lesley established Restorative Thinking in 2012 and leads our projects with Local Authorities, Children’s and Adult Services and individual Schools and Children’s Centres to introduce, implement and develop restorative and relational practice.
Lesley has co-written Restorative Thinking’s menu of training programmes and is co-author of our Curriculum Programmes for schools and parenting programmes and resources.
A former secondary teacher and member of the SLT until 2007, Lesley now supports individual schools and Services/Workforces to develop and embed restorative and relational practice into workforce strategies and day to day practice.
As Executive Director at Restorative Thinking, Lesley promotes a restorative education for all (including pupils, children, parents and carers and professionals), promoting key life skills in restorative practice via our training and programmes.
In June 2013, Lesley received a Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award for her work developing restorative Curriculum Programmes for primary and secondary schools: https://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, Lead Trainer and Consultant
Chris was a teacher for thirty years and Head Teacher at Endeavour High School for five years. In December 2010 he took up a full time post at the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice. During his leadership there, The Hull Centre became known nationally as ‘progressive’ 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. He has worked with Children’s and Adult services on strategic, Local Authority-wide, implementation.
Chris is a keynote speaker at conferences across the UK and internationally in the USA, Canada and Hungary.
In 2013 Chris became an Assessor and Consultant for the Restorative Justice Council’s Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM) and Training Provider Quality Mark (TPQM). This sees him working with agencies and schools across the UK, to help develop restorative practice across organisations.
Chris is co-author of Restorative Thinking’s Secondary Curriculum Programme.
As a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited, Chris supports Restorative Thinking’s strategic direction. He 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.
Gail Porter, Director, Consultant and Coach
Gail has a successful track record of leadership in the public and voluntary sector, at a national, regional and local level. She is also an experienced and accredited coach and facilitator.
As a ‘career civil servant’ Gail worked for over 20 years across a range of Government Departments including the Home Office and Depts. Of Employment and Social Security. She held pivotal posts including that of Home Office Deputy/Regional Director in Government Office North West. She moved into Local Government senior leadership in 2010 as a Programme Director working in both two-tier and unitary authorities before establishing her own business in 2020.
She has operational service delivery experience (500+ staff) as well as strategic strategy, policy and partnership expertise covering issues such as worklessness, crime and disorder, mental health and emotional wellbeing, Troubled Families, Children’s Services including safeguarding, SEND and commissioning, and latterly COVID19 emergency planning. Her skills lie in the development of strategy and operational planning; development of strategic partnerships and productive working relationships; and communication and engagement with individuals, partners and stakeholders to deliver key results.
Gail is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited and also works as an executive and leadership coach. She has direct experience of the positive impact of restorative practice and her interests include supporting individuals and organisations to work through periods of change; the development of communication skills, style and confidence; and working with individuals and groups to develop personal and professional resilience.
Michelle Morgan, Trainer and Programme Facilitator
Michelle is an experienced teacher who has worked with adults, international students, asylum seekers, and young people aged 11-18. More recently, Michelle has focused on improving outcomes through behaviour, relationships and restorative conferencing and practice as a trainer in restorative practice. Of particular interest to Michelle is the teenage brain and how its development impacts on relationships, cognition, memory and learning.
Michelle led on the implementation of restorative practice at the Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool, training staff in the theories and principles of restorative practice and coaching staff to improve relationships with young people.
With a background in business studies and trained in coaching since 2009, Michelle delivers Restorative Thinking’s full range of training programmes in multi-settings, and delivers our prevention and intervention programmes in community and criminal justice settings.
Christine Savage-McMahon, Trainer and Programme Facilitator
Christine began her career teaching psychology and drama and developed a passion for restorative practice whilst working with young offenders. Christine was the co-ordinator and manager of restorative practice with Calderdale Council for over 15 years and worked to inspire many of those who live and work there.
In addition to working with Calderdale employees and developing workforce practice, Christine has delivered restorative practice training and coaching in schools, Criminal Justice Services, with families and in Care Homes. All of Calderdale Council’s Care Homes have recently received ‘outstanding’ from OfSTED. One Calderdale residential Care Home won an award for changing the lives of children and their families through restorative practice.
Christine is also a professional storyteller and has travelled to different countries telling stories and running workshops and has given talks on the links between oral storytelling and restorative practice. Christine is a qualified dramatherapist and continues to incorporate these practices into her work.
With Restorative Thinking, Christine delivers training and coaching and delivers Restorative Thinking’s prevention and intervention programmes in both community and criminal justice settings.