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 that 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, Vice President 2012-2013, and President Elect 2013-2014. 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). This past year, Ms. Oken chaired the Conference Development Committee and was responsible for overseeing the planning of both the Midyear and Annual Conferences held in Savannah, Georgia, and Scottsdale, Arizona.
In 2005, Ms. Oken founded an auxiliary fundraising chapter of the City of Hope Medical Center, The Hope Connection, which primarily raises money for pediatric cancer research.
Stephanie Hess, Esq.
Stephanie Elliott Hess is Director of the Office of Court Services with the Supreme Court of Ohio. In that capacity, she oversees consulting services provided to the judges and court staff of the state. Areas addressed include caseflow and court performance management, domestic violence, language services, specialized dockets (problem solving courts), dispute resolution, and the improvement of court services for children and families.
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 American Judicature Society, the National Association for Court Management, the Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Association for Court Administration, the Ohio Association of Municipal / County Court Clerks and the Ohio Jury Management Association. She also serves as a faculty member for the National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management, and is the President Elect of the National Association for Court Management.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ms. Hess worked for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas – General Trial Division for eleven years as a bailiff and then as the Director of Human Resources for the court. She received her Bachelor’s Degree and Juris Doctorate, both from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
Scott C. Griffith, Esq.
Scott C. Griffith is Director of Research and Court Services for the Texas Office of Court Administration.
Prior to coming to Texas, Mr. Griffith was Deputy Judicial Administrator for Research and Development at the Louisiana Supreme Court. In that role he provided lead staff support to the Supreme Court and other courts in connection with Louisiana's Judicial Budget and Performance Accountability Act. Prior to that, he 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 Ethics and Publications Committees. He also chairs the NACM Finance and Planning Committees, and the National Agenda Subcommittee.
Vicky Carlson is the Court Administrator in Scott County, Minnesota, First Judicial District, a position she has held since 2015. She is responsible for all operations of the court including criminal, jury, family, civil, juvenile, traffic, and probate. Prior to her service in Scott County, she served for seven years as the Court Administrator in Carver County, Minnesota. She has served in numerous roles in her career throughout the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
Ms. Carlson is past 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 was elected to the Secretary/Treasurer position in 2014. She previously served as the Membership Committee chair 2013-2014 and currently serves on the Membership, Conference Development, Finance, and various other committees.
Immediate Past President
David W. Slayton
David W. Slayton was appointed as the Administrative Director of the Texas Office of Court Administration (State Court Administrator) in May 2012. He previously served as Director of Court Administration for the Lubbock County District Courts and County Courts at Law from 2004 to 2012 and has been employed by the judicial branch in various roles for more than 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. 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. He currently serves as Immediate Past President on the National Association for Court Management’s Board 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.
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 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 (2014-2017)
Hon. Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke is a District Judge in Hennepin County, Minnesota. He is one of the most recognized leaders within the American judiciary. Judge Burke was elected for four terms as Chief Judge and three terms as Assistant Chief Judge. During this time he instituted social science studies – and reforms improving – procedural fairness. From 1991 – 1996 he served as the Chair of the Conference of Chief Judges. He chaired the State Board of Public Defense, and was a leader in the effort to improve and expand the state’s public defender system.
Judge Burke has been named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the history of Minnesota by Law & Politics magazine. In 1996 he was named a Toll Fellow. The Toll Fellowship identifies emerging state leaders from all three branches of government. In 1997 he received the Director’s Community Leadership Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 2002 the National Center for State Courts awarded him the Distinguished Service Award. In 2003 he was selected as the William H. Rehnquist Award recipient by the National Center for State Courts. The Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness and professional ethics. He was awarded Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine in 2004. In 2005 the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates named him Trial Judge of the Year. The American Bar Association named him Judicial Educator of the year in 2010.
Judge Burke teaches at the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas law schools. For many years he served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute’s Reflective Leadership Program. He has been a speaker in 38 states as well as Abu Dhabi, Canada, Egypt, Mexico, China, India and Ireland regarding improvement in judicial administration and court leadership.
Judge Burke has authored numerous articles, and is the co-author of two American Judges Association White Papers, “Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction” and “Minding the Court: Enhancing the Decision-Making Process.” He presently serves on the Board of the Institute for the Reform of the American Legal System. He is a past Board member of the National Center for State Courts and the American Judicature Society.
Howard Gentry serves the Metropolitan Government of Nashville as the Criminal Court Clerk of Davidson County in the Twentieth Judicial District. In this capacity, his office is responsible for performing the clerical duties (hard copy and electronic forms) for the operation of the General Sessions and State Trial Criminal Courts.
Clerk of Court (2014-2017)
A Nashville native, Mr. Gentry was elected three times to countywide public office. He was a Metro Council member-at-large before being elected Metro Nashville-Davidson County’s first African American vice mayor. He was reelected in 2003.
Howard Gentry recently served as CEO of the Nashville Chamber Public Benefit Foundation, an organization that is focused on finding solutions to socio-economic challenges such as poverty, homelessness, adult literacy and workforce development.
He formerly served as CEO of Backfield in Motion, a nonprofit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their maximum potential. For 15 years prior, Gentry held various senior positions at Tennessee State University including director of athletics, executive director of the TSU Foundation, assistant vice president for university relations and development, and associate vice president for technology and administrative services. His professional life has also included work in banking, insurance and over 30 years in sports radio broadcasting. He received his B.S. and master’s degrees in education from Tennessee State University.
Urban Director (2013-2014)
Renee L. Kimball, Esquire is Deputy Court Administrtor for the 43rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
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 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 (2014-2017)
Tracy J. BeMent
Tracy "T.J." BeMent is the District Court Administrator for the 10th Judicial Administrative District of Georgia. The 10th JAD covers the general jurisdiction superior courts in six circuits in 21 counties. He was previously the Court Administrator for the Athens-Clarke County Courts in Athens, Georgia, where he worked with all six levels of trial courts in the county. He acts as the primary liaison to the state and county governments and serves as a resource for the judges and judicial staff on many issues. Mr. BeMent administers nearly $2 million in state and federal grants and is a federal grant peer reviewer. He has been working in the courts for more than 15 years. Prior to coming to Georgia, he was the Assistant Court Administrator for the Las Vegas Justice Court and previously the Clerk of Court and Chief Administrative Officer of the District of Columbia's Office of Administrative Hearings. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and will complete his ICM Fellowship in spring 2015.
Limited Jurisdiction Director (2013-2016)
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 (2014-2017)
Dexter C. Thomas
Dexter C. Thomas is the Fiscal Services Manager for the Maricopa County Justice Courts, the largest limited jurisdiction court in the State of Arizona. He previously served in the Office of Management and Budget for Maricopa County where he managed in excess of one billion dollars in combined revenue and expenditures for Superior Court, Justice Courts, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, Clerk of Superior Court, and twelve other county departments. Mr. Thomas has worked in Maricopa County for the past 15 years and began his public service career as a supervisor in the criminal division of Maricopa County Superior Court.
Mr. Thomas earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western International University. He is a 2015 Fellow Candidate of the Institute for Court Management, and in June of 2014 he completed the Certified Court Executive (CCE) program. He currently serves on the National Association for Court Management Board and is an active member of the Arizona Court Association. In addition to the aforementioned accomplishments, Mr. Thomas serves on several boards, committees, and planning groups in the county, judiciary, and private sector. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to those organizations as well as in his community.
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.