About the Director

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Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D. has degrees in special education and law. She taught emotionally disturbed students, worked in the area of computer law and then shifted to educational technology planning. As students started using the Internet, Nancy found there was a need for professional insight into digital safety that combined expertise in youth risk, technology use, and legal issues.

Nancy’s professional site is Embrace Civility in the Digital Age.

Nancy was the author of the first book ever published that addressed issues of cyberbullying, Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Cruelty, Threats, and Distress (2007, Research Press). Along this path, Nancy realized that it is impossible to address issues of bullying using a 20th Century “rules and punishment” approach.

Nancy has dedicated the last several years conducting an in-depth analysis of research documenting the concerns associated with current bullying prevention approach, which has shown no indications of effectiveness as well as research associated with building youth resilience, influencing positive behavior, and increasing positive peer intervention.

Nancy promotes a 21st Century approach by focusing on ensuring a positive climate, engaging young people as full participants in building positive relations, increasing youth capacity to independently prevent and resolve hurtful situations, and strategies for adults to better resolve negative incidents in a positive and restorative manner.

Nancy is also the author of Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Your Child Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly (2007, Jossey Bass), Cyber Savvy Students: Embracing Digital Safety and Civility (2011, Corwin Press) and Positive Relations @ School (& Elsewhere): Legal Ramifications & Positive Strategies to Address Bullying & Harassment (2015, Embrace Civility in the Digital Age).

She just published a book for parents on Amazon Kindle: Support and Empower Your Bullied Child.

Her articles on bullying have appeared in District Administration, the American Association of School Administrator’s magazine, School Administrator, and the National Association of School Psychologist’s magazine, Communique.

Nancy has discovered that school leaders are not all that interested in new strategies to reduce bullying and respond effectively to hurtful situations. So professionally, she has shifted her focus to working with attorneys who are suing schools for discriminatory harassment.

Setting up and coordinating The Caring Place Donkey Sanctuary, especially with a focus on assisting young people who have greater challenges, is Nancy’s plan for “retirement.”