August 15th, 2023, NACM Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast Episode
Leaders deal with multiple circles of individuals. Two that you as a court administrator or Clerk of Court deal with are 1) those who report to you and 2) those you either report to or deal with as fellow stakeholders. Those reporting to you include your team, and the larger office or court staff.
The next circle centers on your Presiding Judge, and your bench; it includes your funding body such as your City Council, County Board, the state administrative office, or the state legislature. It extends to your fellow justice partners such as the Sheriff, the Prosecutor, the bar, and community organizations.
The leadership skills needed to deal with both circles include team building, mentoring, strategic thinking, organization, persuasive speaking, and concise effective writing. But you deal with your fellow stakeholders (principally your judges), differently than with your court staff. Your judges are leaders in their own right; usually, they have their own vision which or may not align with yours; they are well-educated and may not be particularly interested in your counsel. In addition, many judges may have developed their own concepts of managing people, they are used to handing down orders from the bench and having them obeyed, many are elected so they have their own specific constituency, and court staff often have a direct informal pipeline to individual judges. Rick Pierce described the role of the administrator dealing with this circle as being an “influencer.”
This month we’re looking at leaders as influencers of others in power. What is this environment really like? Are there different skills necessary or just different ways of applying the skills you have? What is your mindset when working with your bench?
- Rick Pierce: Judicial Programs Administrator, Pennsylvania Administrative Office of the Courts
- Melinda Brooks: Grants and Special Projects Manager, Municipal Court, Franklin County, Ohio
- Ellen Procida-Fisher: Operations Manager, Superior Court, Cape May, New Jersey,
- JoShonda Guerrier: Interim Chief Administrative Officer, Juvenile Court, Fulton County, Georgia, and
- Lori Tyack: Clerk of Court for the Municipal Court, Franklin County, Ohio
Click here to listen to the podcast.
Leave a question or comment about the episode at email@example.com.
Rick Pierce is the Judicial Programs Administrator for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Rick has served in the field of court administration for the past twenty-nine years. Prior to his appointment at the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Rick was the district court administrator for Cumberland County. Prior to his 4 ½ year tenure as court administrator, he was the assistant administrator for the 9th judicial district from 1988-1997.
As judicial programs administrator, he is responsible for implementation of programs and education in court administration at the general and limited jurisdiction court levels.
Rick served as the President for the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management for 2005-2006. Previously he has served on the MAACM advisory board from 1997-2005.
A graduate from Washington and Lee University, Pierce received his Masters in Public Administration from Shippensburg University in 1995. He has been an active member of the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management, (PACM) since its inception in 1989. He has served as a board member from 1994-2001, culminating in his presidency in 2000-2001.
Melinda Brooks graduated from The Ohio State University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. During the final two years of her undergraduate studies, she volunteered as an intern with the Franklin County Municipal Court Department of Pretrial and Probation Services. Upon completing her degree, she was hired as a Probation Officer supervising a general caseload. Melinda also has experience with investigation, sex offender, domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health specialized docket caseloads. In 2005, Ms. Brooks was awarded the George Farmer Line Officer of the Year award by the Chief Probation Officer’s Association for her exemplary work in the field of community corrections.
Melinda earned her Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Judicial Administration from Michigan State University in 2014. She is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, which she completed in 2015. After serving as a Probation Officer Supervisor for 7 years, he was promoted to the position of Deputy Chief Probation Officer in 2015. In 2019 she transitioned to the FCMC Court Administration team as the Court’s Grants and Special Projects Manager.
Melinda has been a member of the Ohio Association for Court Administration since 2008, and is a current member of the OACA Education Committee. She has been a member of the National Association of Court Management since 2015 and is a member of the Communications and Conference Development Committees. She currently serves as the Editor for the NACM Court Manager.
Ellen Procida is the Operations Manager in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Cape May County. She has worked in various roles throughout her 26 years with the courts including ombudsman, training coordinator, team leader, and probation officer. Ellen has a Master Degree of Arts in Human Resources and Training Development from Seton Hall University and a Bachelor Degree of Arts in Criminal Justice from Stockton University. She has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management since 2006 and served as its president in 2021-2022.
JoShonda Guerrier, MSW, MBA, currently serves as the Interim Chief Administrative Officer for Fulton County Juvenile Court in Atlanta, Georgia. JoShonda is a Florida native that has spent the last 29 years serving vulnerable populations in various capacities, to include leadership positions in child welfare and children’s behavioral health. She is a national consultant with the Capacity Building Center for States and a certified public manager. While new to Court Administration, JoShonda has extensive leadership experience in multiple states, and she has led major initiatives to create systemic change through the influence of others.
JoShonda earned a bachelor’s degree of social work from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a master’s degree of social work from Florida State University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. In 2022, JoShonda was enshrined in FAMUs College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Gallery of Distinction.
Lori M. Tyack was born in Central Ohio and has lived in Franklin County her entire life. The daughter of an airline technician and a homemaker, Lori attended Whitehall City Schools. Clerk Tyack is a proud graduate of the Columbus State Community College paralegal program and later earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Dominican University. As part of her continuing education, Clerk Tyack attended classes offered by The Ohio Supreme Court and The National Center for State Courts. Through these efforts, she has achieved recognition as a Certified Court Manager, Certified Court Executive, and Institute for Court Management Fellow.
Clerk Tyack was elected as the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk in 2005 and reelected in 2011 and 2017. She has worked to modernize the Franklin County Municipal Court by implementing an E-Filing program and introducing electronic workflows to work towards a paperless court environment.
Clerk Tyack has met with various community groups to educate them about the Clerk’s Office. She has led several public service projects, including Safe Surrender, Driver’s License Reinstatement Workshop, and the Office has participated in Record Sealing and Expungement Clinics.
Lori volunteers her time at Peace Lutheran Church and has even participated in a mission trip to Alaska. She is the mother of three sons and currently resides in Gahanna.