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Bethel names new director for peacebuilding institute

10.31. 2017 Written By: Melanie Zuercher, Bethel College 115 Times read

The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, will welcome as its new director a person with deep experience in mediation and restorative justice.

Sheryl R. Wilson, Cary, North Carolina, will begin Nov. 6. She follows long-time director Gary Flory, who retired this summer.

Wilson has a B.S. in mediation and communication studies and a Masters of Liberal Studies in restorative justice from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

For more than a decade, Wilson has served as a restorative justice practitioner and conflict resolution specialist, working with victims and survivors of “crimes of severe violence” to address trauma healing, mediating in criminal cases with a focus on facilitating dialogue, and training victim-offender mediators in anti-racism and restorative justice practices, in settings around the country.

Her mediation work was featured on the A&E Network restorative-justice pilot Confrontation in 2006.

In addition to serving as an independent contractor in mediation and conflict resolution, Wilson currently works at Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina, in data collection and documentation, and as a substitute teacher in the Wake County (North Carolina) Public Schools, a setting in which she practices restorative justice strategies.

Wilson is president of the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice and has served on the board of the Victim Offender Mediation Association, an international professional organization.

Wilson has been special projects coordinator at the Georgia Council for Restorative Justice at Georgia State University, Atlanta, where she was responsible for community outreach, training and raising awareness of restorative justice initiatives in the state; as executive director of Southern Truth and Reconciliation (STAR) in Atlanta, with a mission to collaborate with communities to adapt the “truth and reconciliation” process in response to racism and restorative justice; and as a certified parent educator in the Teen Parenting Program in the Montgomery (Alabama) Public Schools.

She also has a long history of community involvement. Since moving to North Carolina, she has been a volunteer mediator with the Juvenile Justice Project at Campbell Law School in Raleigh, and currently is a teacher and facilitator in the Racial Reconciliation Ministry of Cole Mill Road Church of Christ in Durham.

“I am honored to be stepping into this role and I very much look forward to being of service to the Bethel community,” Wilson said. “I feel that my life’s work has prepared me for this moment.”

“I am very enthusiastic about the future of KIPCOR,” said Bethel Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Milliman. “We have benefited for years from the wise direction of Gary Flory. Building on his legacy, while exploring new avenues of work, Sheryl Wilson will bring expertise, experience, professionalism and enthusiasm to lead the work of KIPCOR’s excellent staff to the next level.

“I am thrilled that she will be joining us. She possesses the attributes and talents needed to help the joint efforts of KIPCOR and the college in promoting needed strategies for achieving peace and the resolution of conflict in Kansas and beyond.”

Founded in 1985, KIPCOR is one of the oldest peacebuilding institutes in the United States. It is dedicated to solving human conflict, both locally and globally, and promoting peace and social justice.

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