Leadership

Board Biographies


President
David Slayton

David W. Slayton was appointed as the Administrative Director of the Texas Office of Court Administration (State Court Administrator) on May 7, 2012. He previously served as Director of Court Administration for the Lubbock County District Courts and County Courts at Law from 2004-2012 and has been employed by the judicial branch in various roles for almost 15 years. Previously, he served as Court Services Supervisor for the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, in Dallas, Texas, and as a trial court coordinator for the 99th District Court in Lubbock County.

Mr. Slayton earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Texas Tech University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy University. He is a 2007 Graduate Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, where he was chosen to deliver the commencement address on behalf of his class in the United States Supreme Court. He received the 2008 Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts and the 2010 Robert O. Dawson Indigent Defense Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Slayton has published an article entitled "An Analysis of the Effective Use of Jurors in Lubbock County" and was instrumental in the publication of the 2007 version of the National Association for Court Management’s Model Code of Conduct. He currently serves as an officer on the National Association for Court Management’s Board of Directors and was formerly the Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association for Drug Court Professionals. In addition to the aforementioned organizations, Mr. Slayton is a member of the Conference of State Court Administrators and the Texas Association for Court Administration.

 


President Elect
Michele Oken

Michele Oken is an Administrator in the Central Civil Division, Los Angeles Superior Court, responsible for managing multiple units including the Records Department which maintains records for approximately 100 courtrooms.  From 2006-2011, she was assigned as the Administrator for Interpreter Services, responsible for overseeing the assignment and supervision of 400 court interpreters in more than 100 languages in 50 court locations.   While holding this position, Ms. Oken served on local and statewide committees which focused on employee relations as well as limited English proficiency.  Prior to that, she held the position of Managing Court Reporter, assisting in the management of approximately 650 court reporters. Ms. Oken spent 22 years as an official court reporter for both Municipal and Superior Courts in Los Angeles and was a board member and officer of local and state court reporting associations.  She has been a member of the National Court Reporters Association since 1978.

Ms. Oken was elected to the NACM Board as General Jurisdiction Director from 2008-2011 and has played an active role on many permanent and standing committees.  From 2009-2011, she served as Membership Services Committee Chair and was instrumental in overseeing the creation of the Mentor Program, Hardship Program, and NACM Recruitment and Marketing Videos.  For five years, she was chair of the hosts and reporters subcommittee of the Conference Development Committee.  Ms. Oken served as Secretary-Treasurer, 2011-2012, and Vice President, 2012-2013.  As Vice President, she was responsible for chairing the Finance Committee, State Associations Subcommittee and acted as co-chair of the Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT).

In 2005, Ms. Oken founded The Hope Connection (an auxiliary chapter of the City of Hope Medical Center) to raise money for cancer research, with a specific emphasis on pediatrics.

 


Vice President
Stephanie Hess


Stephanie Hess is the Manager of the Case Management Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio, where she provides caseflow management support to courts of all jurisdiction types throughout the state of Ohio, which includes 719 judges in 382 courts. Ms. Hess also oversees the reporting and analysis of caseload statistical data and conducts caseflow management reviews and training for judges and court staff. Prior to joining the Supreme Court in 2006, Ms. Hess worked for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Trial Division as a bailiff for seven years and as the Director of Human Resources and Training for more than   three years. 

Ms. Hess has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Professional Writing from Capital University and a Juris Doctorate from the Capital University Law School, both in Columbus, Ohio. 

Ms. Hess is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio as well as the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. She is currently a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the National Association for Court Management, the Ohio Association for Court Administration, the Ohio Association of Municipal / County Court Clerks and the Ohio Jury Management Association. Ms. Hess also serves as a faculty member for the National Center for State Court’s Institute for Court Management (ICM), and teaches Caseflow Management and CourTools for ICM’s Court Management Program in Ohio. Additionally, Ms. Hess serves as faculty for various Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College courses including orientation for new judges as well as courses for administrative judges and court administrators.

Elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Court Management as the Small Court Director in 2009, Ms. Hess has served on the membership, conference development, and planning committees and as the chairperson of the 2010 Justice Achievement Award subcommittee.


Secretary/Treasurer
Scott C. Griffith

Scott C. Griffith is Deputy Judicial Administrator for Research and Development at the Louisiana Supreme Court. In this position, he provides lead staff support to the Supreme Court and other courts in connection with Louisiana’s Judicial Budget and Performance Accountability Act. The Act deals with judicial branch strategic planning, performance auditing and performance reporting. Mr. Griffith also provides lead staff support to the Supreme Court’s Judicial Council and its standing and ad hoc committees. 

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Judicial Administrator for Research and Development, Mr. Griffith served as the Director of the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Drug Court Program Office, where he oversaw disbursement of state and federal funds to 48 programs. Before that, he served as Judicial Administrator of the Jefferson Parish (LA) Juvenile Court. Previously, he developed and managed justice related research projects at the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans and the New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research. A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Griffith has a law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Orleans. He is past president of the Louisiana Court Administrators Association and serves on its Executive Board. 

Mr. Griffith has been a member of the National Association for Court Management (NACM) since 1998 and serves on NACM’s Planning, Ethics, and Publications Committees. He also chairs the NACM National Agenda Subcommittee.

 


Immediate Past President
Pamela Harris

Pamela Harris was appointed as the first female Maryland State Court Administrator as of August 5, 2013.  In 1989, she was appointed as the first woman to hold the Court Administrator position for the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland and has held that position until her recent appointment by Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.  Ms. Harris is committed to infusing evaluation-based practices into every aspect of court administration so that quality initiatives achieve intended results while meeting the needs of court personnel and clientele.  Ms. Harris has completed the Court Executive Development Program of the National Center for State Courts’ Institute for Court Management and is certified as a Fellow. She has taught national programs on ethics, leadership, differentiated case management, and is certified as ICM faculty for caseflow management. She also has worked extensively in the field of differentiated case management and court administration both nationally and internationally.

In July 2013, Ms. Harris assumed the position of Immediate Past President of the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and will serve in that capacity for one year.  She previously served in all officer positions as well as Chair of the NACM Conference Development Committee, Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, Chair of the Membership Committee, Chair of the State Associations subcommittee and served on the Publications Committee and the Joint International subcommittee which helped establish the International Association of Court Administration (IACA). She also served on the Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) which originally developed the NACM Core Competencies and Curriculum Guidelines. 

She serves on the board of the International Association for Court Administration (IACA) as Vice President - International Associations.  Ms. Harris is also serving a 4 year term on the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts serving on their Programs Committee and International Committee.

In April of 2012, she was appointed to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure and recently became a Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellow through the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law and the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office.  She currently serves as Member of the Maryland Conference of Circuit Court Judges; Member of the Maryland Technology Oversight Board; and member of the Maryland Integrated Statewide Case Management Committee.

She has been active internationally with various rule of law initiatives in Argentina, Russia, Sri Lanka, India and the Ukraine.  She served on the Board of the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium (RAROLC) and worked for more than a decade promoting the rule of law and improving the capacity of local Russian legal institutions to implement reform. She also serves on the Board of the Maryland International Coordinating Council, Inc., (MICCI) and the Maryland Sister States Program Legal Affairs Committee within the office of the Secretary of State.


Large Court Director (2012-15)
Yolanda L. Lewis

Yolanda Lewis is the District Court Administrator of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit and the Court Administrator for the Superior Court of Fulton County, the largest and busiest court system in the State of Georgia.  Ms. Lewis has served in her capacity at Superior Court of Fulton County since October 2010.  Prior to joining the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, she served as Court Administrator for Clayton County, the Assistant Director of Judicial Liaison with the Administrative Office of the Courts, the state agency which serves as the secretariat to the Georgia Supreme Court and all other courts in the state.  During her 13-year career with the judiciary, she has provided broad-scale administrative support, strategic direction, training, budget and  resource management, alternative sentencing, program develop, legislative direction and executive level project management  for more than 1,100 judges across the State of Georgia.  Ms. Lewis has been credited with creating the Regional Justice Technology Expo for the Southeast Region of United States, and at least two award-winning court programs, one of which has been noted as a “National Best Practice” by the Justice Management Institute.

Ms. Lewis earned a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Master in Public Administration and Inter Governmental Affairs from the University of South Alabama. She serves on the board of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators, the Supreme Court Commission on Interpreters, the Georgia Accountability Courts Standing Committee, and as host of “Fulton Justice,” a program dedicated to providing citizens with a closer look at the Atlanta Justice System.  She is a graduate of the Michigan State University Certification program from the Georgia Council of Court Administrators, Leadership Clayton, and is currently enrolled in the American Institute for Diversity Management.



Small Court Director (2012-2015)
Nina Thomas

Nina Thomas is a Court Executive with the Superior Court of New Jersey where she is charged with the administration of the Civil Division in the Burlington Vicinage.  She has been employed with the judiciary since 1983 and has served in her current capacity more than 12 years, first in the Mercer Vicinage and now in Burlington.  The division is responsible for all civil, special civil, landlord tenant, General Equity, probate, and foreclosure cases in Burlington County.

Ms. Thomas received her Bachelors Degree in Organizational Development from Eastern University in Saint David’s Pennsylvania.  She has completed the Certified Court Manager Program with the National Center for State Courts’ Institute for Court Management.   As co-chair of the statewide Civil Education Committee and the Administrative Council’s Education and Training Committee’s Professional Development Working Group, Ms. Thomas collaborates with all court divisions to develop strong strategies and educational programs for the development of staff and court leaders throughout the state.  Since 2010, Ms. Thomas has served on the Advisory Board for the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management.

Ms. Thomas was elected to the Board of Directors in 2012 in the position of Small Court Director.

 


Judge Director (2011-2014)
Hon. Grant Brantley


G. Grant Brantley was elected Judge of the Superior Court in 1980. He is a Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master and the Judicial Host in Judicially Hosted Settlement Conferences. He was admitted to the Trial and Appellate Courts of Georgia and to the U. S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia; 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court. He was selected for the nomination process for the U. S. District Court during the first Bush Administration which expired when President Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton. Judge Brantley was transferred to the state retired list as a Brigadier General upon his retirement from the Georgia Air National Guard; U. S. Air Force Judge Advocate. He is now or was a former member of the Cobb County Bar Association; State Bar of Georgia; American Bar Association; Georgia Trial Lawyers Association; American Trial Lawyers Association; Lawyers Club of Atlanta; Atlanta Bar Association; and the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR). 

Judge Brantley was the President of the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation, and authored “Mediation: A Process,” Verdict Magazine, Summer 1998. He completed the General Jurisdiction Course, National Judicial College, and had an AV rating as a practicing attorney, Martindale Hubbell Law Directory. He served as a member of the board of directors of the Marietta Country Club and as member of the Administrative Board of the Marietta First United Methodist Church. He has served on the Board of Directors of CMAR Credit Union, and was chairman, Board of Directors of the Georgia Guard Credit Union. Judge Brantley was the first recipient of the Crystal Gavel Award given for sensitivity in the handling of sexual abuse cases involving children. 

Mediation/Arbitration training includes Harvard Negotiation Project by Professor Roger Fisher; Alternate Dispute Resolution, National Judicial College; Pepperdine University: Advanced Mediation; 40 hours Commercial Mediation Course; 60 Domestic Mediation Court; estimated number of cases handled is 2,000. Judge Brantley received an Associate Degree from Emory at Oxford, and a B.B.A. (with concentration in Management) and J.D. from Emory University.
 


Clerk of Court (2013-2016)
Deborah Williamson

Prior to joining the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court as Chief Executive Officer in January 2012, Dr. Deborah Williamson served the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts for two decades in a variety of capacities. She began service to the court as an intake officer for the Department of Juvenile Services in 1988. In 1998, Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens of the Supreme Court of Kentucky appointed her general manager of the department.

During her tenure, Williamson was instrumental in securing funding for the first case management system in Juvenile Services; successfully merged Jefferson and Fayette County contract juvenile programs into the state Court Designated Worker Program umbrella; and instituted several nationally recognized civic and law-related education programs. The civic and law-related education series she implemented and administered included: Teen Court, We the People, Project Citizen, Street Law, Teens, Crime and Communities and Civitas, an international civic education and exchange program. Williamson served as general manager of Juvenile Services until 2003.   

From fall of 2003 until February 2006, Williamson served as a grant specialist for the Office of Budget and Policy where she established the new department, and researched and compiled grants and cooperative agreements for judges, clerks and court managers on a statewide basis. 

Prior to her appointment as Executive Officer of the Department of Court Services (Divisions of Clerk Services, Interpreters, Judicial Branch Education, Mediation, and Research) in February 2008, Williamson was appointed to serve as general manager of the Office for Judicial Branch Education by Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert. Under her leadership of the department, Williamson revitalized judicial education by providing cutting-edge research and education for members of the judiciary and professional training for elected circuit clerks, deputy clerks, trial commissioners, domestic relations commissioners, and other support staff of the Judicial Branch.

In addition to her work with the Kentucky Court of Justice, Williamson periodically served as adjunct professor at area universities where she taught courses in delinquency and criminology. In spring 2010 she was asked to teach a course at the University of Kentucky entitled Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System. She has also taught courses devoted to education and citizenship in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, and Northern Ireland. 

She is a long-standing member of the National Association of State Judicial Educators and served on their publications committee from 2006 to 2011.  

Williamson earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Northern Kentucky University in 1982, a master’s in anthropology from University of Cincinnati in 1985, and her doctorate in sociology (crime and deviance area) with a secondary area in education policy from the University of Kentucky in 2000.

 


Urban Director (2013-2014)
Renee Kimball

Renee L. Kimball, Esquire is the Director of Self-Help and Intake Services for the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Family Division.  The Fifth Judicial District is among the largest 25 court systems in the nation with more than 1,200 employees, 43 trial judges and 46 judicial officers comprising the Minor Judiciary. 

Ms. Kimball attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.  In 2008, she received her J.D., also from the University of Pittsburgh.  Beginning in 2011, Ms. Kimball began the educational track to achieve the designation of a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.  She attained the Certified Court Manager certification in January of 2012.  She went on to attain the Certified Court Executive Certification in June of 2012 upon completion of the residency program.  She graduated as a Fellow in May of 2013 after completing and presenting her project entitled, A Framework for Strategic Facilities Planning in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which was awarded the Vice President’s Award of Merit for Applied Research. 

Ms. Kimball began her professional career as a law clerk in the Family and Civil Divisions of the Fifth Judicial District.  From 2009 through the end of 2010, she was the administrative law clerk to the Honorable David N. Wecht, Administrative Judge of the Family Division.  Alongside Judge Wecht, Ms. Kimball began her career as a court manager when she chaired the multi-disciplinary committee to unify the family court under the best practice principles of one judge/one family, designed and held comprehensive training for all Family Division staff and judges and oversaw the successful implementation of this system since January of 2010 to present.  Upon identifying the need to better serve self-represented litigants in Allegheny County, Ms. Kimball was asked to oversee these services and processes in addition to her other duties.  This allowed Ms. Kimball the opportunity to envision, plan and implement re-engineering practices to consolidate intake and filing functions as well as create a coordinated approach to managing the rise in the self-represented litigant population, an unprecedented event in her county at the time.  This process has permitted Ms. Kimball to utilize all of the knowledge, skills and abilities of a modern court leader to enhance the effective and efficient administration of justice. 

Ms. Kimball’s leadership skills were recognized when together with more than 25 leadership judges, court administrators, and managers, Ms. Kimball was selected to participate in the court-wide development of a strategic plan.  This process involved the drafting and revising of the vision, mission, and core value statements for the court, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as the assessment of existing operations and trends.  This assessment allowed Ms. Kimball to be integral to the process of developing and adopting short and long term goals and objectives for the court.  Ms. Kimball’s commitment and ability was evident during this process causing her to then be selected to chair the implementation team devoted to case processing and timeliness.

Ms. Kimball’s professional affiliations include the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) where she co-chairs the Juvenile Law Subcommittee of the Family Law Section, the Pennsylvania Association for Court Management (PACM) where she is an active member of the Caseflow Management Committee, and the National Association for Court Management (NACM) where, most notably, she serves on the Board of Directors as the Urban Court Director and co-chairs the Core Competencies for Courts Subcommittee of the Planning Committee, among other duties.

 


Rural Director (2013-2016)
Shakeba Johnson

Shakeba Johnson is the Court Administrator for the Seventh Chancery Court District of Mississippi. The Seventh District encompasses six counties: Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Quitman, Tallahatchie, and Tunica. Chancery Courts have jurisdiction over disputes in matters involving equity; domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws. Land records are filed in Chancery Court. Chancery Court is a general jurisdiction court.

Ms. Johnson has held this position since 2012. Prior to becoming the Court Administrator, she served as the Deputy Court Administrator for the Seventh District for one year. She is responsible for maintaining judge(s) trial docket(s), implementing caseflow management, and supervising and coordinating support staff. She serves as the contact person for statistics maintained by Administrative Office of Courts, coordinates courtroom availability, reviews and maintains local court rules, and serve as liaison to Court, bar, and law enforcement agencies and general public.

Ms. Johnson is also the Law Clerk for Chancellor W. M. Sanders.  She examines records of cases to present legal interpretations and opinions, prepares memoranda summarizing the facts of each case, reviews pretrial motions and summary judgments, organizes preliminary orders, findings of fact and conclusions of law; edits work product according to judges' direction, and drafts opinions, orders and writs.

Ms. Johnson was admitted to the Mississippi Sate Bar in 2010.  She is admitted to practice in all Mississippi state courts, Federal District Courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. She is also a Certified Court Administrator for the State of Mississippi.

Ms. Johnson received her Juris Doctor Degree from Appalachian School of Law in 2010 where she received the Angela D. Dales Spirit of ASL Award 3L and the National Association of Women Lawyers-Outstanding Student Award. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from Alcorn State University where she was inducted into Pi Gamma Mu International Honors Society in Social Science and Alpha Kappa Mu International Honors Society.

Ms. Johnson is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association-YLD, American Bar Association-YLD, Mississippi Court Administrators Association (MCAA): Nominating Committee 2013-2014, and the National Association for Court Management: Rural Director 2013-2016.

 


General Jurisdiction Director (2011-2014)
Vicky L. Carlson


Vicky Carlson is the Court Administrator in Carver County, Minnesota, First Judicial District, a position she has held since 2007. She is responsible for all operations of the court including criminal, jury, family, civil, juvenile, traffic, and probate. Prior to her service in Carver County, she served for 22 years in Dakota County District Court in various roles, including Court Administrative Manager, where she managed the collections and accounting divisions as well as special projects and technology implementations. 

  Ms. Carlson is president of the Minnesota Association for Court Management (MACM). MACM is an organization committed to the enrichment of its members through professional growth and development opportunities, promoting advancements and innovation in court administration, and partnering with other professionals working to improve the justice system in Minnesota.

Ms. Carlson attended Metro State University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. She is a Fellow of the National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management (2011). Ms. Carlson was elected to the National Association for Court Management (NACM) Board in 2011 as the General Jurisdiction Director. She currently serves as the Membership Committee chair and is a member of the Conference Development, Board Development, and various other committees.

 

Limited Jurisdiction Director (2013-2016)
Paul Delosh


Paul DeLosh serves as the Director of Judicial Services for the Supreme Court of Virginia. He serves as the liaison between the Judiciary’s administrative office of the courts and the Virginia state courts providing services through education, publications, technical assistance and the research, development and support of various programs. The Department serves the judicial system of Virginia through its Court Services, Magistrate Services, Dispute Resolution Services, Drug Treatment Court, and Foreign Language Services divisions. 

Mr. DeLosh served on NACM’s Board from 2009-2012. He previously served as chair of the NACM Membership Services and Ethics committees as well as chair of the Grants subcommittee and Mentor program. He currently serves as chair of the Website/Social media and Grants subcommittees as well as a member of the Communication and Finance committees. He also serves as NACM’s liaison with Justice at Stake. 

Mr. DeLosh attended Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Business Administration. He also earned a Certified Court Manager (CCM) and Certified Court Executive (CCE) certification from the NCSC Institute for Court Management and is certified faculty for both programs.
 


At Large (1) Director (2013-2014)
William Simmons

William (Will) Simmons is the District Court Administrator for the Sixth Judicial Administrative District, Georgia. The district is comprised of 14 counties and 19 superior court judges in West Central Georgia. Prior to his appointment to the Sixth District, he served as the Superior and State Court Administrator for the Clayton Judicial Circuit and as Law Library Director for the Cobb County Superior Court.

Mr. Simmons is a member and past president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.  In 2007, he was selected to 40 Under 40, Georgia's Best and Brightest by the Georgia Trend's Business and Politics Magazine. He is the Associate Dean for the Evening Program at Bauder College, where he has served as an adjunct faculty member since 2007.

Mr. Simmons serves on several boards, committees, and planning groups in both the judiciary and private sector. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to those organizations.

Mr. Simmons has been a member of NACM since 2003.

 



At Large (2) Director (2012-2015)
Karl E. Thoennes III

Karl Thoennes is currently Court Administrator for South Dakota’s Second Judicial Circuit headquartered in Sioux Falls, serving in that position since 2004. His prior work included positions as court administrator in St. Cloud and Todd County in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District and supervisory and staff positions with the Alaska Court System in Anchorage and Palmer.  His past work also includes writings on ethics in the national publication Court Manager. Mr. Thoennes has served as speaker or panelist on a range of topics in court management at various state, regional, national, and international programs, including the National Association for Court Management, university and law school classes and other professional conferences and associations.  His international work includes presentations for the Pacific Judicial Council Conference in Guam and the World Ethics Forum at Oxford University, England sponsored by the World Bank and the International Institute for Public Ethics.  He is currently primary editor for the ethics website: www.courtethics.org

Mr. Thoennes holds a Fellowship with the Institute for Court Management, a Master of Science in public administration from the University of Alaska, and has completed two graduate seminars in comparative public policy and government in Sapporo, Japan as both a student and guest speaker.

Mr. Thoennes has been a member of NACM since 1993, and has served on the Ethics, Website, and Publications Committees.   He is a member of the American Society for Public Administration and the International Association for Court Management.  Mr. Thoennes was elected to the NACM Board of Directors in 2012 and is currently vice chair of the Ethics committee.