Symposium Biographies

2017 Symposium on Improving Mental and Social Health with Restorative Practices

Hosting Presenters

Victor Capellan, Superintendent of Central Falls Schools

Victor was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the US at age 12.  In college he became a passionate advocate for education reform, dedicated to helping students from all backgrounds.  He’s worked on K-12 school reform in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as in higher education.  As Superintendent of Schools in Central Falls, he’s implementing a district improvement effort called The Equity Blueprint for Success.  Its overarching vision focuses on four core elements – Student-Centered Learning and Teaching, Enrichment Opportunities, Social and Emotional Development and Cultural Responsiveness – aiming at making these values effective throughout the school district and community.  Victor strongly supports the restorative work taking place in Central Falls, and is helping promote the expansion of restorative practices across the state.

Victor has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and a Master’s in Education from the University of Rhode Island.   He serves on the Boards of the RI Nature Conservancy and the Narragansett Boy Scouts Council, and has been Board Chairman for Rhode Island Kids Count.

Judge Judith Colenback Savage, RI Superior Court (ret.)

 Judge Savage served for over 20 years on the RI Superior Court, and is a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Roger Williams University School of Law, teaching criminal procedure and a seminar on racial justice.  She’s on the Board of the Youth Restoration Project and is Co-Chairperson for Reading Across Rhode Island 2017 sponsored by the RI Council for the Humanities/Center for the Book, bringing Bryan Stevenson’s poignant book Just Mercy and conversations about injustice in our criminal justice system to our schools and communities.

Following a 2015 Symposium she helped organize on mass incarceration and probation, highlighting the financial and human costs of our current punitive approach with its racial, ethnic and class disparities, she was appointed Co-Chair of the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Working Group on reforming our probation system; she also addressed a State Mental Health Summit promoting the diversion of eligible offenders out of the prison pipeline and into treatment for mental illness and addiction.

Judge Savage was a partner in the law firm of Edwards & Angell, and served as Executive Counsel to Governor Bruce Sundlun.  A graduate of Wellesley College, she was attracted to the law through an internship with the American Council on Education, helping advance women into positions of leadership in higher education.  She’s mentored students throughout her career, and believes in the power of education to help us reimagine justice and reach a higher ground.

Margaret R. Paccione-Dyszlewski, Director of Clinical Innovation at Bradley Hospital

Marge is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.  She’s a licensed psychologist, teacher and rehabilitation specialist with over 30 years’ experience in behavioral healthcare, now focusing on professional development, clinical risk management and quality improvement.

She has a PhD in psychology from Fordham University, a Master’s from Manhattan College and a degree in business education from the City University of New York.  She’s served as Director of Residential Services at Bradley Hospital, Regional Administrator for Mental Health Services for the Delaware correctional system, Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Southern Chester County Medical Center in Pennsylvania, and Chief of Clinical Services at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in New York.  Besides managing multi-site, multi-service programs in the not-for-profit sector she’s directed her own private practice/consulting corporation and worked in the private, for-profit behavioral sector as well.  She’s published in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and education.

Julia Steiny, Managing Director of the Youth Restoration Project

In 2008, Julia founded the Youth Restoration Project (YRP) in the belief that Restorative Practices can greatly improve the mental and social health of any community.  YRP partners with several groups to teach and nourish educators and other restorative practitioners working with Rhode Island’s children and youth.  Their first and best-established project began in the Central Falls schools in 2009.  In 2014, the National Institute of Justice awarded a $3.68 million grant to the Central Falls School District along with YRP and collaborating research groups, to create and evaluate a Restorative Justice Conferencing system in Central Falls and three other Rhode Island schools.

YRP offers training and consulting to help organizations become high-functioning Restorative communities.  Prior to Julia’s involvement in the Restoration movement, she served a four-year term on the Providence School Board.  She then wrote a weekly education column for the Providence Journal for 16 years, continued on-line at until August 2016.  She’s worked as a part-time communications consultant for the Providence Plan and their DataSpark group for almost 20 years, and done copywriting for many educational publications.  She’s currently Vice President of the RI Mental Health Association, and is active in various civic organizations.