Board Biographies

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.


President Elect
Scott Griffith

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.


Vice President
Vicky Carlson

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

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
Michele Oken

Michele Oken is currently an Administrator in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Central Civil Division. From 2006-2011, she was assigned as 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. From 2011-2015, Ms. Oken served as NACM’s Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President, President-Elect and President.

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.


Tracy J. BeMent
Director (2014-2017)

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
Director (2014-2017)

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
Director (2015-2018)

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.

Renee Danser
Director (2013-2016)

Renee L. Danser, Esquire, is District Court Administrator for the 43rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania where she oversees all court operations, including fiscal and human resources management, alongside President Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington.

Ms. Danser attained a bachelor of arts and her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from the Institute for Court Management Fellows Program in May of 2013, where her project was awarded the Vice President’s Award of Merit for Applied Research.

Ms. Danser began her career in court management when she chaired the multi-disciplinary committee to unify the family court in Pittsburgh under the best practice principles of “One Judge/One Family.” Thereafter she began oversight of self-represented litigant services.

Ms. Danser serves on the Board of the National Association for Court Management and as the Membership Services Committee Chair and as the liaison to the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN). Additionally, she is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Court Management (PACM), she chairs the Government Relations Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association, and is appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee.

Paul Delosh
Director (2013-2016)

Paul DeLosh serves as Director of Judicial Services for the Supreme Court of Virginia. This department 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 is serving a second term on the National Association for Court Management (NACM) Board where he recently led the effort for NACM’s 2015 Guide, The Core® in Practice and the 2014 Guide, Adult Guardianship. A Guide to Plan, Develop and Sustain a Comprehensive Court Guardianship and Conservatorship Program.  He is currently chairing NACM’s Governance Committee and sits as the chair of the Core subcommittee and the organization’s Strategic Planning initiative.

Mr. DeLosh attended Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration; a master of science; and is a 2015 Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.  He is also certified faculty for the Institute for Court Management and manages Virginia’s Licensee agreement with the National Center for State Courts ICM program.

Howard Gentry
Director (2014-2017)

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.


Kathy Griffin
Director (2015-2018)

Kathryn Griffin is the Court Administrator for the Circuit and Probate Courts in St. Joseph County, Michigan.  She has been Circuit Court Administrator since 2005 and added the role of Probate Court Administrator in 2013. Prior to becoming Administrator she was employed as the Circuit Court Judicial Assistant beginning in 1997. She is responsible for maintaining judges trial docket, caseflow management, reporting requirements to the State Administrative Office as well as all human resources for the courts.

Ms. Griffin is the current president of the Michigan Association of Circuit Court Administrators and has held that position since January 1, 2011. Prior to becoming president of the association, she was vice president from 2009-2011.

Ms. Griffin attended Kellogg Community College and Glen Oaks Community College. She is a graduate of the National Center For State Courts Court Manager Program. She graduated from the Michigan State Judicial Administration Program in 2013. She currently serves on the NACM State Association Committee, Conference Development Committee, and Membership Committee.

Shakeba Johnson
Director (2013-2016)

Shakeba Johnson is 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 doctorate 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.

Dawn Palermo
Director (2015-2018)

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 Thomas
Director (2014-2017)

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 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.