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 National Association for Court Management (NACM), the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association for Court Administration, and the Ohio Jury Management Association. Ms. Hess also serves as a faculty member for the National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management, is president of the National Association for Court Management, and serves as a National Center for State Courts’ board member.
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 Director of Human Resources for the court. She received her bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
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 served 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 Conference Development Committee.
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 Vice President of NACM in 2015. She previously served as the Membership Committee chair 2013-2014, Secretary-Treasurer 2014-2015 and currently serves on the Membership, Conference Development, Finance, and various other committees.
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, Ms. Lewis has provided broad-scale administrative support, strategic direction, training, budget and resource management, alternative sentencing, program development, 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 bachelor of arts in criminal justice and a master's 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.
Immediate Past President
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 completed his ICM Fellowship in spring 2015.
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.
Jeff Chapple is the Court Administrator of the City of O’Fallon Missouri Municipal Court, a position in which he has served since 2004.
Mr. Chapple earned his master of business administration from Lindenwood University and his Bachelor's of Science from the University of Missouri.
Mr. Chapple currently serves on the Missouri Association for Court Administration (MACA) as the immediate past president. He has served on the MACA board since 2009. In 2015 Mr. Chapple earned the Award of Merit from MACA for the innovative changes implemented as president and testifying before the state legislation regarding court reforms for the municipal courts. He has served on NACM’s membership committee as well as the conference development committee for the past two years. He serves on many local committees and has been a long time supporter of Special Olympics through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, for which he has been a top fundraiser since 2003.
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. 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.
Mr. 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, Mr. 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 bachelor's and master’s degrees in education from Tennessee State University.
Dawn A. Palermo is the Judicial Administrator for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court in Harvey, Louisiana. She has held this position since 2004. In this capacity, she oversees all court programs, employees and finances, negotiates and monitors all contracts and drafts all funding proposals.
Ms. Palermo is also currently a member of the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and serves on the Finance, Governance, Membership, and Strategic Planning Committees. She has also recently authored the CORE curriculum for budget and financial management for Michigan State University’s Judicial Administrator Certificate Program.
Prior to her appointment as the Judicial Administrator, Ms. Palermo served as the Deputy Judicial Administrator for Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court from 1999-2004, the Drug Court Administrator for the Adult Drug Court at the 24th Judicial District Court from 1997-1999, a Management Analyst with the Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority from 1995-1997, and as a Liaison to the Louisiana Legislature for Jefferson Parish. Ms. Palermo directed the Jefferson Parish Drug Court Planning Committee and started both the Jefferson Parish Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts. She was instrumental in securing and maintaining funding for these courts. She served as President of the Louisiana Court Administrators Association from 2012 to 2013.
Ms. Palermo received a bachelor’s of science in business and public administration from Louisiana State University and a master’s of public administration from the University of New Orleans. She is also certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), and is a certified Emergenetics Trainer.
Dexter C. Thomas was 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 worked in Maricopa County for 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 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.