From the President (Summer 2016)

By Margaret Allen

Margaret Allen
NASJE President Margaret Allen

Colleagues, greetings from America’s interstate highways! After a summer of working remotely from Ohio in between conferences, I am about to officially (finally) move to Williamsburg, Virginia to begin my new role as Director of National Programs at the Institute for Court Management at NCSC. In this edition of “From the President”, I’ll share an overview of the many activities undertaken by our association this spring.

Board Activities

Your NASJE Board has met each month to ensure that the membership is receiving excellent benefits and that the association’s strategic and fiscal interests are well in hand. Below are a few highlights:

Karen Thorson Award. The Board is delighted to announce that Jim Drennan of North Carolina is the recipient of the 2016 Karen Thorson Award. Through his service at the University of North Carolina School of Government and his extensive participation in NASJE, Jim has made an indelible impression on the court community. Jim will join us in Burlington at the Annual Conference to receive this honor, and you can look forward to learning more about him and his service in a profile to be posted to the NASJE website later this month.

Committee Corner: NASJE committees are active year-round, and it is never too late to join. Click here to see a list of committees with contact information for committee chairs, and click here to see a calendar of committee meetings.

Save the Dates! NASJE has offered some sort of professional development opportunity nearly every month in 2016. Check the calendar for upcoming events. Emails will be sent to members from with links and phone numbers to join each event. Keep reading for a preview of upcoming sessions and a summary of past events:

Upcoming events:

  • Webcast, August 31 at 3 pm ET: New Course Development Resource: The NACM Core: NACM Board member Paul DeLosh (VA) will present on NACM’s new curriculum designs, including a review of the development process and practical uses for these resources. NASJE Midwest Regional Director Tony Simones (MO) recently used the NACM Core curriculum designs as part of a presentation to Missouri municipal court staff to begin addressing the problems that gave rise to Ferguson. Dr. Simones’ presentation will serve as a preview for a full-length plenary session to be presented at NASJE’s Annual Conference (see below for more details).
  • September 25-28: NASJE Annual Conference, Burlington, Vermont. “Changing Perspectives in Judicial Branch Education: Re-Engage, Rethink, Renew”. Early bird registration ends August 15! Click here for details.

Past events (many are available on the Members Only page of!):

  • February 2016 webcast: Procedural Fairness for Court Staff, taught by NASJE Northeastern Regional Director Joan Bishop, NASJE Immediate Past President Kelly Tait, and Emily Gold LaGratta of the Center for Court Innovation
  • June 2016 webcast: E-Learning: Just in Time, On Demand and On the Go!, taught by Gavin Lane (CA) and NASJE Past President Joseph Sawyer (NV).
  • Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) “Callinars”: In both April and July, the ECC hosted a callinar – that is, a small group discussion held via conference call to discuss a topic of interest.

NASJE Partners. Since my last update, I have represented NASJE at both the NACM Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh and the CCJ/COSCA Annual Meeting in Jackson Hole, WY.

The NACM Annual Conference theme was “Making Connections: Integrative Leadership and Court Performance”. In hereaddition to the numerous relevant breakout topics, the conference featured an unflinching look at some difficult issues, including a plenary on Collaborative Leadership: Ferguson and Beyond, featuring Misshereouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge, a current and retired judge (both from Missouri), and a community partner. Click the following links to view all available conference materials and also videos of selected sessions.

At the CCJ/COSCA Annual Meeting (theme: Domestic Relations: Courts as the Mechanism for Change), education topics included the following:

  • Self-Represented Litigants in Family Court – Courts Balancing Strategies and Services for Accessing Justice,
  • Final report on the Civil Justice Initiative project,
  • Integrated Domestic Violence Court, and
  • Third Party Evaluators in Child Custody Proceedings.

Notably, in each session, education was highlighted as a key component of moving toward positive change. This, of course, reflects the important role of judicial educators in the court community.

Last but certainly not least, Matthew Mead, the Governor of Wyoming, spoke eloquently at the opening ceremony of the conference, revealing that he is a passionate supporter of the independence of the judicial branch. Wyoming Chief Justice James Burke shared in his introduction that the governor personally attends the swearing-in ceremony of each Wyoming judge – just one way that he supports the interdependence of the three branches of government.

On that note, on behalf of the NASJE Board of Directors, I thank you for your efforts to advance the administration of justice through excellence in judicial branch education.

Contact me or any member of the Board with questions, ideas or comments about how your NASJE membership can be a greater professional benefit for you. We look forward to connecting with you at an upcoming NASJE webinar, a committee meeting, on the Judicial Educators Facebook page, our LinkedIn group, the list serve, or by email or telephone.

All the best to you, stay cool, and I hope to see you in Vermont next month at the conference!

Margaret R. Allen, President, NASJE