Dr. Tom Cavanaugh

 Works / trains in K-12 schools /

Circle Experience

I have both done research and facilitated training (face to face and online) in using circles as a foundation for introducing restorative justice principles and practices in schools  as the basis for creating a culture of care.

In my work I facilitate the use of circles in a variety of circumstances in schools. You can learn more about this at my website, www.restorativejustice.com.

Areas of Interest and Service

I offer both face-to-face and online training for educators and those interested in education. The title of the training is: Restorative Justice in Schools: Using Restorative Practices to Support a Culture of Care.

I also offer a 3-year research and professional development process for changing the culture of a school, based on the principles and practices of restorative justice.


I reside in Fort Collins, Colorado, right next to the Rocky Mountains, where I spend time hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. I have degrees from four post-high school institutions, including graduate degrees in Organizational Leadership from Regis University in Denver and Educational Leadership from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. I began my interest in restorative justice while volunteering at the Denver Catholic Worker House in 1996. My personal and professional work has centered on restorative justice since that time. Following graduation with my PhD, I spent a year in New Zealand on a Fulbright Fellowship and four more years working for a research project called Te Kotahitanga at the University of Waikato. Since 2003 I have worked on developing and putting into practice a theory of a culture of care based on the principles of restorative justice in schools. You can learn more about my work and review some of my published articles on my website at www.restorativejustice.com.

My research interests focus on the areas of restorative justice and restorative practices in schools; exploring how we can create peaceful and caring relationships; exploring what young people want to learn about (a) peace, (b) legitimating the reality of their lives, which are filled with violence and war, and (c) discovering and encouraging their passion for living together in peace; how schools can use restorative practices to respond to student wrongdoing and conflict in conjunction with a culturally appropriate pedagogy of relations in classrooms, under the umbrella of a culture of care, to create safe schools. In particular, I am concerned about the school-to-prison pipeline for our ethnically diverse students and the political and educational policies that support this pipeline.

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