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Fellows Alumni


Vice President’s Award of Merit for Applied Research
Laura G. Griffin

Each year, the Vice President of ICM presents the Award of Merit for Applied Research to the ICM Fellows Program graduate who has completed the most outstanding court improvement project. The 2019 recipient is Laura G. Griffin, Clerk of Court with the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Chesterfield, Virginia. NCSC’s Lydia Hamblin, a Court Research Associate with the Research Division, provided guidance to Mrs. Griffin as her Project Supervisor.

Mrs. Griffin’s paper, “Ensuring Classification and Compensation Parity in Virginia’s District Courts,” explored the job duties, position descriptions and qualifications for court jobs across general and limited jurisdiction courts as well as relative compensation levels. The study compared data from Virginia with the neighboring state of Maryland and the federal judiciary. While the study identified disparity in compensation among court professionals, the analysis supported a finding that court jobs are comprised of similar tasks, thus permitting market analysis between all levels of Virginia courts, regardless of jurisdiction. The project provided a unique proof of concept for courts that wish to delve further into the challenging issues of classification and compensation parity for court employees.

Mrs. Griffin has been employed with Virginia’s Court System since 2005 and has held the position of Clerk of Court with the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court since 2015. She holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Congratulations Laura!

Class Spokesperson
Dawne D. Lindsey

Mary McQueen, President of the National Center for State Courts; Paul DeLosh, President, National Association for Court Management; John Meeks, Vice President of the National Center for State Courts’ Institute for Court Management; Amy McDowell, Associate Dean, Institute for Court Management Fellows Program; Family, Friends, Judges, Court Administrators and my hardworking exhausted Classmates!

On behalf of the 2019 Class of ICM Fellows, I would like to welcome you and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to show your support for the graduates. Today you are witnessing a celebration of a long but fulfilling journey. My classmates and I are experiencing many emotions today. I believe I can speak for everyone and say that relief is certainly one of them!  With the relief, we are also amazed that we started this journey together 16 months ago and here we are today in the Supreme Court of the United States of America. With our joy we also have heavy hearts today.  Sadly, on April 17th, our mentor, teacher and friend Dr. Daniel Straub, Dean of the Institute of Court Management Fellows Program passed away. In addition to his many professional achievements outside of the Fellows Program, Dean Straub was a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management. He was honored with the inaugural ICM Fellows Star Award for excellence in court education, the Warren E. Burger Award for outstanding achievement in the field of court administration and the National Association for Court Management Award of Merit.

For 35 years Dean Straub educated, advised and became friends with countless students from all over the world that he taught through the NCSC educational programs. Most of my classmates and I never had the chance to meet the Dean in person, however, through the webinars he conducted and the countless hours he spent on the phone with us individually we felt like we had known him for years.  It did not matter what court we worked in or what state we lived in, he knew someone there or something special about our county.   Our class was lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him and witness his passion for judicial education. NCSC President Mary McQueen shared a quote by Dr.Seuss that said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” We can smile today because our Fellows education happened under Dean Straub, and I’m positive he is smiling down on us and Amy today, and is very proud of each of us.

I am honored and humbled to have been selected by my classmates to provide some remarks today. My classmates are from Minnesota, Nebraska, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland, and I can tell you they are some of the sharpest, most talented and dedicated judiciary employees in the nation. I have met many people in my professional capacity, but the 12 people you see here today are exceptional.

As I look back on my years working in the MD courts, I am in awe of how far educational training and technology has come for judiciary employees. My training when I first started with the courts consisted of my boss giving me a bottle of white out, a typewriter and telling me, just do what I do, because we have always done it that way. My typewriter wasn’t even automatic!! It was the kind that you pull the crank handle on the right to move your paper up and down!! Now here I am a graduate of the most prestigious judiciary educational program in the world that I took online! The eleven classmates that started this program in January 2018 have the distinct honor of being the first Fellows class where 100% of the class took the post certified court manager program online.

Even with our years of court experience and skills, becoming a Fellow was not a simple process. To get here today, we went through 2 different certifications that took years to complete, before we could even apply to the last and 3rd phase, which was the Fellows Program.

We first had to complete the Certified Court Manager Program which expanded our knowledge of project management, budgets, workforce management and the purposes and responsibilities of the courts.

After that program, we continued to enhance our skills by graduating as Certified Court Executives in a program that taught us the importance of educational development, leadership, modern court governance, strategic thinking, and public relations.

From there, we took the leap and applied for the ICM Fellows Program.  We started in January 2018 with the Distance Learning Phase, where we participated in monthly webinars and discussed such things as our founding fathers, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution and research processes.  We had many webinars with the Dean and our fellow classmates to discuss our homework and essays. Those 7 months prepared us for the hardest part in my opinion of our education, the Court Project Phase, which involved us conducting countless hours of research on a topic of our choice and then writing a paper on it.  This past week we presented the project to an ICM panel and our classmates.

Becoming an ICM Fellow is an accomplishment that I’m sure many felt we would never reach, yet somehow, we found the time to manage families, busy and stressful careers, and participate in our communities. Even with the additional classroom work, my classmates found time to do amazing things in their jobs and lives to make a positive impact in the lives of the citizens that use their courts. Here is an extremely brief outline of my classmates’ accomplishments and projects at work:

LaTasha Nichols designed, developed and implemented the first regional Veterans Treatment Court in the State of Maryland.

Alice Middendorf has worked for the Minnesota courts for 20 years and is currently working with staff through their latest technology reengineering efforts with centralized filing of pleadings; she had the privilege of having Dean Straub be her project supervisor.

Ed McNachtan has been working on piloting not only one unique technology project but several at one time that are both unique and forward thinking because it is based on parties and role.

Kim Larson provides trainings to judges and court staff throughout Minnesota and is working on an interpreter scheduling specialist unit. Ashly Hardee has provided legal counsel to four judges in Florida for the last 24 years. Her research has caught the interest of Florida State University for further study.

Chris Hansard is a Judicial Services Director and has only been with the Georgia courts for 8 ½ years, but he has already worked his way through years of education to become a Fellow.

In addition to Laura Griffin being awarded the Vice President’s Award of Merit for Applied Research for her project on Classification and Compensation Parity in Virginia’s District Courts, I’m pretty sure she is just as happy that she can now say her alumni University of Virginia is an NCAA Basketball champion.

Wayne Gilkison, Court Administrator from Ohio, has made it is his top priority during his 25-year career to invest in and support his staff and will continue to improve the lives of his staff with his research in performance-based pay research.

Christine Christopherson provides educational training to probation and court staff and judges as the Director of Judicial Branch Education in Nebraska.

Maria Woolly-Larrea is Director of Courts in Florida and works with over 140 judges. She is working on the large undertaking of unifying family courts.

James Veals has been a District Court Commissioner in Maryland for 19 ½ years, who in addition to working holidays and nights, serves on several Maryland Circuit Court committees to enhance education for District Court employees.

David Roby from Ohio is a Manager who is overseeing the Implementation of Pre-Trial Services and Domestic Violence Education.

As you can see not only did our class benefit from the Fellows Program, but the Fellows Program has been enriched by this 49th class.

Thank you, Amy. You and Dan provided us with an exceptional education. This program has enabled us to collaborate and share ideas with some of the brightest judicial employees in the nation. We renewed our knowledge of the vision our founding fathers had for our justice system, where all citizens are entitled to due process. The Fellows Program has given us the skills, confidence and knowledge to make a positive impact in not only our courts but our communities. It also has allowed each of us to take something we feel strongly about in the courts and turn that into a research project that we can use to enhance our courts, and as a result, provide better access to justice to the citizens we serve.

Thank to our families, judges, co-workers and court administers for your support and continued confidence in our goals.

Our Fellows journey does not stop here. Each of us needs to go back to our courts and communities and encourage, mentor and support others in the judiciary to seek challenges like we have and we must continue to strive to never stop learning and continue to seek new goals. I look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things my classmates continue to accomplish.

Today I can proudly say there are 13 more names that the National Center forState Courts will add to its list of Fellows!!!

Congratulations to the 2019 Class of ICM Fellows!

Joan K. Cochet ICM Memorial Scholarship
Laura G. Griffin

The Joan K. Cochet Memorial Scholarship for the Institute for Court Management is named in memory of the late Joan K. Cochet.  As the NCSC Library Resource Manager, Joan was a true professional in every regard and was known for her gracious and generous spirit.  Her service represented the highest ideals of the Center and continually enhanced the reputation of the Center around the country.  Joan’s love of learning was evidenced in her mentorship of numerous law school interns and court professionals pursuing the ICM Fellows certification. Laura G. Griffin is the recipient of the memorial scholarship for the Class of 2019.


Paul DeLosh Star AwardFellows Star Award Winner

The Star Award is conferred on an ICM Fellow who demonstrates excellence in the advancement of court administration through leadership and education. The Institute for Court Management accepts nominations for the Star Award from ICM Fellows. The Award recipient is usually announced at a Fellows reception held at the annual conference of the National Association for Court Management.

Paul DeLosh, Director of the Department of Judicial Services with the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, is the recipient of the Institute for Court Management (ICM) Fellows Star Award.

Paul has been a subject matter expert and presenter for ICM courses for many years and he has been an enthusiastic supporter of education for Virginia state court managers and staff. In 2020 he collaborated with ICM to pioneer the first virtual live ICM certification course, Public Relations. As the primary faculty for the Public Relations course, Paul had recently updated the course content and he subsequently re-created the course for delivery by webinar, emphasizing interaction between presenter and participants and among the participants themselves. Paul taught the course three times in less than two months and proved that ICM’s courses could be effective and engaging in a virtual format. Since then, 38 ICM course deliveries have been made virtually.

In addition to his contributions as presenter and course developer, Paul has encouraged several other members of the OES staff to become certified ICM presenters. He was also instrumental in developing the VA state court staff rewards program that acknowledges the accomplishment of earning the ICM Certified Court Manager designation and the ICM Fellows Program. Paul serves as a member of the ICM Board of Advisors.

Paul is the Director of the Department of Judicial Services (DJS) of the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) of the Supreme Court of Virginia. He came to OES in 1991, serving initially in the Department of Information Technology as well as the Department of Technical Assistance.

Congratulations to Paul DeLosh!

Previous Star Award Winners

2018 Marcus Reinkensmeyer
2017 Sally Holewa
2016 Linda Romero Soles
2015 Mark Van Bever
2014 Jude Del Preore

2013 Kevin J. Bowling
2012 Howard H. Berchtold, Jr.
2011 Patricia Duggan
2010 Don Jacobson
2009 Bob Zastany
2008 Chris Crawford
2007 Collins E. Ijoma
2006 Pamela Ryder-Lahey
2005 D. J. Hanson
2004 Sue Dosal and Gordy Griller
2003 Donald Cullen
2002 Janet G. Cornell
2001 Carl Baar and Geoff Gallas
2000 Mary M. Brittain
1999 Daniel H. Straub

Click here for Fellows Directory.

Each ICM Fellow prepares a comprehensive report on a court project that he or she undertakes as a contribution to the improvement of court administration. Projects are often selected to address specific challenges experienced by a court or state judiciary, but have broader implications for innovation, operation and management of the courts. Court projects prepared by recent Fellows graduates are linked below by class year; earlier court projects can be accessed by searching NCSC’s online library catalog or eCollection.

If you are unable to access or download any research paper in its entirety in portable document format, please contact:

Library Services
National Center for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185-4147
Phone: 757-259-1823

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